Short-Term Employment: The Wave of the Future

There was a recent article in the Chicago Tribune that discussed a new phenomenon among employers.  They are looking to hire workers for short “tours of duty.”  Gone are the days of being a “lifer” at IBM.  Because of the rapidly changing information age and the unpredictability of a global economy, companies are looking to hire employees to meet their short-term needs.  In reality, how can they assess long-term needs in such a rapidly shifting global economic environment?

So what are the implications for someone job-hunting right now?  The biggest consequence of short-term employment is that people in the workforce must react just as quickly.  They must approach potential employment with short-term career goals in mind instead of long-term career path expectations.  Perhaps, it is valuable for a candidate to determine what skills and assets they can bring to a job and assess what the job can offer them in the short-term.  Is the candidate adaptable to quick changes?  Does the job provide some type of valuable training up front?  Does the job offer short-term experience working on a new product or project that adds value to a resume?

Most importantly, in light of this information, candidates need to constantly have their finger on the pulse of the job market so they are not caught off guard by the rapidly changing job climate.  Knowing that their employment may be short-term, it is crucial that in order to stay current, candidates build and maintain networks outside of their current companies.  Social media and other online professional networks give candidates opportunities to engage and interact so that they can stay in front of potential opportunities.

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