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Don't Chase Down the Job Market

By Stuart Schultz

There's a concept in real estate called "chasing down the market." It refers to a seller of real estate who values his property way above the market, and only decreases his asking price when the market decreases (but in proportion to the decrease in the market). What ends up occurring is that the property is always overvalued and never sells because the seller is always one step behind the reality of the market (and hence the property is always overpriced).

For example, let's say an apartment is worth $100k but the owner tries to sell it for $120k. It most likely won't sell. Now imagine that the general market decreases by 10%, making the actual value of the apartment $90k. Instead of asking for $90k, the seller will "chase down the market" by decreasing his price 10%. However, his new price of 108k is still significantly 'out of whack'. If there is another 10% drop in the market, his new asking price of 97k is still no closer to the apartment's actual new 81k market value. Instead of chasing the market for months, had the seller originally sold his apartment for $100k, he'd have walked away with a lot more money than after just two devaluations. But how does this apply to the job market?

The same thing is occurring in the job market today. People aren't facing the reality of what's actually happening in the workplace. First they're looking for the perfect job at the most desirable firm (which, by all means, they should be doing). But when they can't find that or a similar job, they keep looking for a job of a similar caliber. Eventually, they realize that today's market might not be the environment for them to be pursuing that cream-of-the-crop job, and look one tier lower. Unfortunately, a lot of other people figured that out way ahead of time and snapped up second tier jobs. Just like our property owner, this happens time and time again, and our job hunter finds himself one step behind of even internship opportunities. So what's the take-away?

Today, don't chase the job market. Instead, face the facts. Companies are downsizing. Experiences professionals are a plenty. And growth is stunted. You can keep looking for the best thing since sliced bread... Or better yet, you can be realistic about where you are in your career and what you can really get. Just graduated? Certainly look for full-time jobs, but also look for internships. Worst case scenario: you snag an internship, work in it for two weeks, and a full-time job comes your way. You'll have to quit your internship, but the company you're interning for will understand and you'll have a full-time job! Or maybe you don't get a full-time job right away, but at least you have an internship and can tell a story.

The job-hunting process is rough now, so don't make it rougher. Instead, get one step ahead of everyone else by realizing what's really going on, and secure an opportunity that's right for your career at this point in time. You will have cemented the stepping stone for your next move while other people will be just trying to find their footing.

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