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The Solution for Achieving Personal Financial Security

Hannah P. Morgan

Have politicians forgotten about the millions of unemployed and under-employed in favor of more newsworthy issues? In a recent LinkedIn blog post by Jim Clifton, the chairman and CEO of Gallup, he mentions how economists and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman say that we need to add 300,000 jobs per month, given how depressed the economy is currently. The United States doesn't seem able to add that many jobs consistently. Therefore, high unemployment numbers are predicted to be the new normal. We don't have to take it lying down, though.

The hiring process is broken. It's ironic that in their quest to embrace automation and to make hiring equitable, companies and human resources professionals may have actually made the process inefficient and inequitable.

--The average company receives 250 resumes for a single job posting, according to research by Dr. John Sullivan.

--A 2011 study by ManpowerGroup found 52 percent of U.S. employers have had trouble filling job openings because they couldn't find qualified workers.

--Only 17 percent of hiring managers polled said job seekers possess the skills companies are actually looking for, according to Career Advisory Board's 2012 Job Preparedness Indicator.

--According to a CareerBuilder survey, hiring for temporary jobs should increase by 10 percent in the back half of 2013 - a sign employers still don't trust the unstable economy.

--An Accenture study from 2011 finds only 21 percent of employees say they have received company-provided formal training during the past five years, yet companies complain they cannot find the needle-in-a-haystack skills they desire.

--A different CareerBuilder survey finds that 75 percent of applicants never hear back from employers, leaving applications and resumes in a deep black hole.

--Employers hesitate to provide feedback to rejected candidates due to legitimate concerns about legal retaliation, or worse, because they are uncomfortable delivering bad news.

--Job descriptions are either generic templates or don't spell out the exact job requirements and necessary skills, making it difficult for job seekers to properly assess whether they meet the qualifications. Agree and take ownership. Most of the hiring dysfunction is out of your hands. What you can do is take yourself out of the system altogether or at least approach it from a different angle. The bad news is that the solution requires more effort on your part.

Working smarter means working harder. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand or easy fix for the situation we are in now. The solution to financial stability, not job stability, is building multiple income streams. You can choose to work for yourself or work for someone else. Taking a second job or starting a side business seems to be the best answers. For you to achieve the desired financial outcomes, you can only control your own actions. The sacrifice involved? Time. But remember, leisure is a luxury, not an entitlement.

The American dream. The new American dream may require a shift in thinking. Let's try re-prioritizing our time and letting go of expectations for how we think life should be in favor of survival tactics and a new empowered life where we determine our earnings. The reality is, for the first time in U.S. history, we may not have a better quality of life or more money than our parents. Getting good grades in college does not translate into a good paying job; and performing a job well in exchange for financial reward and job security is no longer a truism. The American Dream was based on the notion that the United States was the land of opportunity. More importantly, to achieve the dream, hard work and sacrifices were requisites. We lost sight of this along the way. We began expecting handouts and entitlements. We became too educated to perform the low-wage jobs. The American Dream still exists. Millions of people immigrate to this country every year to pursue their dream for a better life, while those of us who live here expect a certain quality of life.

Are you ready? Let's rise up and take control of what we can - our own individual employment and financial security. But haven't we already been doing that? Perhaps some of us have. But some have not. Workers ages 50 and older are crying age discrimination and the fresh college graduates blame their school for not handing them jobs. If you ask around, you'll probably hear many other rants and accusations about unfair hiring practices, unforeseen downsizing, indifferent HR practices and more. Complaining isn't going to get us out of this mess. Nor are the politicians. To feel empowered, we have to look at jobs, work and employment differently. There's no looking back.

Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.

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