The Million-Dollar Question for 2009…”When will the hiring start-up again? Also, a little advice on how to best proceed in these turbulent times…
Well it is certainly no secret that 2008 ended as a horrible year in so many ways. We watched as jobs flew away faster than Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps broke Olympic swim records. Business in general dried up faster than any drought could ever do, and general optimism was as lost as Michael Jackson's career.
Speaking of careers, those of us that have our careers in and around EDA and make our living in EDA watched as layoffs happened in amazing numbers: jobs virtually disappeared, and new hiring basically stopped on a dime. I watched as offer after offer made was rescinded, and company after company decided to take the “wait and see” approach on hiring. Hardest for me was the talking to so many of you and hearing your concerns for your future. I took on the role of part time psychologist, part time cheerleader, and part time realist saying continually, “I am so sorry to tell you that as of now I do not have anything to offer you”. So now the New Year is FINALLY here, and we are all wondering what the weeks/months ahead will have in store for those looking for new career opportunities.
First be clear, I have heard and read many of the same articles as most of you, both EDA (and related fields) specifically, and economics based generally. In addition I have talked with many (those in the know) EDA veterans and CEO's who have their own specific thoughts on how all this will play out. Here is what I generally surmise from what I have read and been told, and realize when reading this, that no one has any “real” idea or crystal balls to accurately predict the future. (Now there is a good piece of hardware one of you might want to consider developing…a Global Prognosticator and Futures Predictor…GPFP).
Virtually all generally agree: the immediate future will be tough going. Some hiring will occur in the immediacy, but for very focused and specific hiring's. My firm has 6 open reqs currently compared to an average of 23. And even those in my opinion are not absolute.
As for the coming months, it is anyone's best guess. As I said, while limited hiring is happening now, AND THERE IS LIMITIED HIRING GOING ON, many think more job reqs will start to open middle--end Q1. Some say inventories will start to deplete as production decreases causing an eventual need for more product, which should ultimately mean a need for more workers. No one really knows when/if that will happen, but when it does, needs will arise by default. More generally, it is predicted that things could start to open a little more Q2-Q3. The real issue here is not so much as when things will really open, it is more what can you do in the interim... Here is some advice.
Let us remember that while things are bad, the economy has slowed not stopped. Those of us that have been here before, and believe me I have, (even though this is worse than anything we have seen previous), business is still going on. And herein lies the fundamental need for optimism. The wheels are still turning, technology is still developing and emerging, and needs still exist. And as things start to improve so will these basic tenants. REMEMBER, THIS IS AN R&D BASED BUSINESS, AND DEVELOPMENT IS HAPPENING AS WE SPEAK. COMPANIES HAVE ONGOING NEEDS… THEY ARE JUST BEING (much more) CAUTIOUS in their hiring. In times like this, think practically. Make sure your resume is sharp and really sells your skills. Do not fall into the engineering mindset of “my reputation speaks for itself”…it will not! Make sure you elaborate on your most up-to-date real skills. If your resume does not totally and accurately tell your history, your strengths, do not expect a response to your submission. Do not be a person of many skill-sets and expert at none. Elaborate on your most recent and strongest skill-sets. When hiring opens up it will be for those that fit very exacting requirements. If your resume reads front to back, all over the place, it is doubtful (not out of the question) that you will be one of the first to get a chance to interview.
It is also unlikely that management positions will be the first reqs offered. Odds are that the most exacting technical positions will be the first and top priority as things start to open up. Think like a manager and ask yourself if your resume has what it needs to be considered, and take the emotion and ego out of your thought process.
This is a good time to take courses to upgrade your skills. If for example C has been something that you wish you had, get out there and make it something you do have. Again this is the time to upgrade your skills.
Become familiar with your recruiter and do not throw your resume everywhere. If you have a good recruiter, work with them, help them. Keep looking yourself and talk to him/her about jobs and opportunities you have heard about. I specifically ask my candidates to call me when they hear of something so we can discuss the merits and possibilities. If it is a company I have a relationship with, I will take it from there and do all I can, if I do not I ask and coach them how to send directly.
Bottom line, things are not pretty out there, but as I said the world is still spinning and we are all doing all we can to survive until this is over. Just know that you are not alone; we indeed are all in this together. The best predictions are nothing more than that, and no one knows for sure what will be. I for one (and my company) will keep working everyday doing all I/we can to find new jobs and to help the many folks that depend on our hard work and dedication to find opportunities wherever they exist. And rest assured, so will all the EDA startups out there! Keep your head up as it is much better than hanging it low, and call me anytime if you need to talk.