Who’s Hiring?


I was listening to a story on NPR the other day about whether the stock market recovery had led to an increase in hiring. And the bottom line answer was a quick and emphatic no. I read another article that said if job growth continues at 2012 levels it will be another ten years before the country recovers to full employment. I am not sure that I believe that full employment will ever happen again.

I read a lot of different points of view about the current prospects for graduates.  The New York Times recently wrote that unemployment among college graduates was only 3.1% and that they were faring well.  Then I read another article that said that there were over 5.5 million young people out of work and that the high rate of unemployment was a national crisis. I know youth employment is a powder keg globally.

I do not really worry about college graduates that much as I believe that most youth will figure it out. That is based on my observations of what has happened to the sea of young people around me over the years.  I do worry about young people who have already marginalized themselves at a young age.  The unemployment rate among young people with only a high school degree is 19.7%.  Many will be bound to jobs of labor where they will never be able to sit down at work.

The problem is more acute among people 50 plus. Now some of these people have marginalized themselves by not building bridges to the New Normal.  We all have to evolve or we will be left behind.  Ask Kodak.  Many of them are pretty much invisible to companies and hiring managers.  Overlooked and abandoned.  The irony is that their situation was created by companies that let them go.

Many companies have been doing very well recently.  They stockpile money.  Their shareholders get paid and profit.  But companies rarely look into the firing mirror. If they did many would be invisible.  They do want us to like them on Facebook though.

Another irony of companies is that most are just composed of simple people that aren’t part of any grand scheme. Some work and some get fired and then a great gulf separates them.  The working and the unworking.  Two different worlds. Two different places to go on Monday morning. The new great divide.

So what do you do if you feel left behind? Well the first thing that you do is that you don’t do the things that you did in the past. I recently reached out to a transition group sponsored by a church group to see if they needed any speakers. I have spoken countless time to numerous transition groups. From Catholics to Mormons and almost to Muslims. Those in transition follow many beliefs including none. The Great Recession cut its swath across all faiths. An equal opportunity unemployer.

The person who I connected with told me that the attendees at their events preferred people from the employment industry. I lit a candle for them that night. Entering the New Normal by using the rear view mirror of the past doesn’t work anymore.

I like to look to youth for some answers. Some of them have shunned the corporate path for the entrepreneurial track. The follow their vision which has only the road map of their passion. No experience. Limited business skills. Limited money but unlimited reserves of dreams. I surround myself with them.

I reflect many days that I would have been left behind with many others in the Old Normal if I didn’t create my own future a decade ago when I started Blank and Associates. A couple of bumps in the road caused things to change. The first thing I did was not chase the Old Normal and stopped looking for jobs that no longer exist.

I don’t know all the answers but I know one thing. It is not the ways of the past.

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:


Read: Don’t Let Your Business Cards Weaken Your Personal Brand

How Not To Get Left Behind in the Old Normal.

Watch: She is Not a Great Networker.


Why Young People Shouldn’t Try to Find a Job.


I had a great time recently speaking to the students at CBU Graphic Design class on How to Rise Above the Crowd.  My presentation was about how to transition learning into a career. My expertise comes from my experience as a person who has to create a job each and every day as a solopreneur in the New Normal.

Young people can certainly get a lot of advice these days on how to get a job.  Most from people who live in the Old Normal and don’t walk the physical or digital sidewalks of the New Normal.

You can listen to politicians who largely live an entitled life and whose hearts don’t beat in the New Normal.

Your college professors will give you advice as well but if they have never worked in the business world and strictly have an academic background their advice will be largely theoretical. Like a nun advising you about birth control. I love you Sister Mary Agnes.

Your parents will give you lots of advice but there is a good chance that if they have been employed for more than ten years with the same company that they found their last job in a newspaper  and not from a recruiter calling them because of their Linkedin profile.

You can get advice from your peer group but that will largely be peer wisdom.  Better for a bar.

First, young people need to understand that your focus shouldn’t be about getting a job; it should be about creating your long term personal brand strategy in the working world of today.  You see in the New Normal you will have at least 12 jobs at different companies but your brand will be yours forever.  Twenty years from now there may be no employees only contract worker bees. You need to focus on developing a long term career strategy versus just a job at just a company.

You need to be a brand within a brand.  Even if you work at Apple you need to have your own personal brand and your own unique identity and it needs to be coherent.  Consistency is key in branding.  Your brand says everything about you.  Your brand includes the way you dress to your personal branding material to your on line social media strategy.  Your social media thought leadership should amplify your brand.

Here are the mandatories for young people today and into the near future.  You must have your own personal website.  You must have your own personal business cards and carry them at all time in addition to the business card of your employer.  You must rock on Linkedin because it is the social media channel of business.  You must own the first page of Google.  All ten postings with a presence that is consistent with your personal brand.  All of the digital platforms that you use must be based on your name and not an alias.  Do not tweet about tacos.  Tweet about show how smart you are.  Most important, develop a powerful personal network that others don’t have that reflects your brand and the resources you uniquely offer.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin


Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

You can watch a video by Hank on Networking Tips for Young People.

You can also read some other blogs that may be able to help you.

Graduating Into a Recession

The New Glass Ceiling.

Why Graduates are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.

The New Glass Ceiling


We all know about the term Glass Ceiling which refers to the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.

I think that today’s glass ceiling is very low. Today’s glass ceiling is the barrier that young people face in getting their first solid career position. I would say it is probably the hardest it has been for youth to get a job for decades.

Many young job seekers find their job prospects somewhat bleak. I have read that the unemployment rate among young people aged 16 to 24 is around 17% and I am sure that number is probably understated.

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