Jeff Altman The Big Game Hunter discusses what you need to do to prepare for that inevitable change in skills employers demand.

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I saw to statistic in the book I was reading that I thought was really interesting. The 1st 1, in 2008 to 2009, when so many millions of Americans were laid off, 2.8 million in 2008, and another few million in 2009, the unemployment rate for individuals earning over $100,000 per year was approximately 1%. What does that tell you?

It tells me that there are experience and skills that firm's value for that compensation level that you need to develop.

The 2nd statistic. When you look back in time, the American population worked primarily in agriculture 100 years ago. 80% of Americans worked in agriculture 100 years ago. Now it is less than 2% who work in agriculture. They feed, not only the United States but a good part of the world as well. It tells me that skills need to be adaptable. You can be working in agriculture and listening to this podcast. That's great. Agriculture today is very different than what it was 100 years ago.

For you working in certain white-collar or even blue-collar skill areas, you need to constantly be looking at what is going to be needed going forward. 1 of the new skills that you need to build on or to build into your portfolio in order to be marketable? When I start recruiting in the early 1970s, there were 2 hot skills-- COBOL and BAL. OS/COBOL. OS/BAL. DOS/COBOL. DOS/BAL. 4 basic areas that you could recruit for. If you are trying to fill IT positions.

These days, who cares? No one is looking for the skills. There were times when C# and Java developers were incredibly valued; now they become commoditized, becoming the COBOL of the current era. I would expect that the need for people with those particular skills is going to decline.

Regardless of whether I'm right or wrong about that, you need to think in terms of what's going to cause you to be marketable going forward. You need to constantly be adapting to the new realities.

"I don't want to do that.
That's the reality of things. Markets are dynamic. Firms needs are dynamic. You want to place your self in the position, like those people in 2008 and 2009. Who knew that they got laid off, they could find work easily.

It is going to be another recession. That's the reality of things. You you want to put yourself in the position where your skills are going to be valued in the market.

What's it going to take? What would you need to know? Are you in the peak area now or are you in a tangent area that may not necessarily be marketable? Are you using some obscure technology that may cause you to be marketable? Do you have an obscure skill that a few firms use that make you highly desirable? I don't know, but you need to think this through. You need to take time in order to sort out what you're going to need to know so that if you are laid off, you are not going to be caught short and that you have time to prepare, constantly be looking ahead because you are responsible for your career, not your employer. You're responsible. If you have to write a check, write the check to do it.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1300 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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