3 Reasons to Doubt the Job Data

businessman looking at graphic


Last week Fox News ran an article about current job data.  Titled CEO of Gallup Calls Jobless Rate ‘Big Lie’ Created by White House, Wall Street, Media.  Jim Clifton, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Gallup, the renowned research company, is quoted telling a Fox reporter the unemployment figures are “lies.”  You can watch the video where Mr. Clifton tells his reasons for doubting the veracity of the data.  I doubt the job data.

Doubt #1

In Texas, we see mostly good news about unemployment.  Have you heard people say, “People should be able to find a job in Texas with unemployment under 5%.”  Really?  If you left your job a few months or a year or so ago with antiquated skills, you might not be counted in the data.  You may have a decent resume, but the skills needed for many engineers today are not the same as those used in recent employment.  The information in the Fox News piece clearly showed the data may be 11.2%, rather than 5.6% unemployment.  People out of work for an extended period may not be counted.  Part-time workers and the underemployed may be mixed with the full-time workers recently hired.  The data seems misleading.

Doubt #2

Fox News likes the Republicans and often disses the Democrats.  Who can you believe?  Obama says the economy is thriving, yet the Republicans proclaim start-ups are at the lowest point in 20 years. We need start-ups!  I marvel at the creative ideas presented on Shark Tank, but investors and large companies are fearful of spending their cash. What is reality?

Doubt #3

If you are a new grad with an extraordinarily good GPA and fabulous technical skills, perhaps in security software, your search may be challenging without a degree from an Ivy League School. Fortune 100 Companies use lists of target universities to hire the “best” students.  The competition is fierce.

I heard a friend say, “The best education is a Liberal Arts major.”  I asked him how his son found his stellar job a few years ago with a Liberal Arts degree.  He responded; he referred him to a friend of his in the oil patch.  I think that’s called “networking.”  I don’t know what skills his son brought to the table with his Liberal Arts degree, but the world is full of “good-ole-boy” stories, such as this.

Who’s Hiring; Who’s Not

Read the Business Journal from your city to find opportunities.  Update your skills.  In the Dallas-Ft. Worth Business Journal, we see Toyota, Nebraska Furniture with many contract positions.  HCL Technologies mentioned 300 openings upcoming, but I had to search Dice.com to find the details.  Security technology jobs are abundant but require specific knowledge.  Diesel mechanics and truck drivers are in demand.  Today American Airlines lists 200+ jobs in Dallas-Fort Worth area but the right skills are required.  More than half their openings are at the lower end of the pay scale.

Exxon and Radio Shack are laying off people in droves…But, you know that.  Keep your ear to the ground to apply for real openings, not the job ads that stay online permanently, in case the company is building a pipeline to fill later.

Target Your Efforts

Sometimes I feel like I speak out of both sides of my mouth.  I rant and rave to job seekers to ‘target the job, but keep your eyes wide open.” Some may say the economy is great.  Gas prices are down.  Others may lament with gas prices down, we are bound to have a dip in the economy. I was in Houston this weekend.  The rest of the country may be upbeat, but the Houston paper provided sad stories of layoffs in the oil business.

Unhappy with your job?  Want to enhance your career?  Are you unemployed or underemployed?  I don’t think anyone knows for sure when or if the economy will decline soon, but you’d better hurry up!  You don’t want to miss the existing opportunities!

How to Write An Online Job Ad

Fortune 500, medium and small companies post crappy online job ads.  Online ads are usually quite boring.  The standard formula for an online job ad looks like this:

A.  Company description

B.  Title of Job and Job Description

C.  Requirements

D.  How to Apply

boring job ads?

Too many boring ads during his online job search?

Simple?  Not so fast.  Is your online job description compelling?  Would you personally be excited to change jobs after reading the verbiage?   Why not mix the sequence in the formula, beginning with defining the job, skills, education and experience you want and need?  An ad needs to entice the reader!

Writing an online starts with a team meeting to talk about the requirements.  You can build a phone interview guide and interview guides for your team, if you prepare effectively.

Get Rid of Boring

Rather than:

“Manage the sourcing process for various areas including capital purchases and P&L through the sourcing process (RFP, bidding, negotiation, award, implementation), and supplier performance monitoring,”

Try this:

“You will manage the entire global capital purchases from cradle to the manufacturing floor with massive responsibility for RFPs, bidding and negotiations.”

Make it snappy!  If your corporate culture is conservative, you’ll need to work even harder.  We expect fun online ads from places like Amazon and start-ups. Your ad needs to reflect the culture of your company and the department.  You need to demonstrate what a great place it will be for the candidate to work.  Don’t treat the ad like you are ordering a machine part!


Job titles can be very different, depending on the company.  In Sales we have Account Executive, Sales Manager, Territory Manager, or Sales Professional.  You might want to use the various titles within the ad to assure online searches reach the candidate, whose current title is Executive Sales. You might say, “Whether you are a Sales Representative, Sales Executive or otherwise identified, your sales skills and business acumen in consumer products will lead you to the next level in your career.”


Some people say putting the salary in the online ad helps.  Of course stating the salary often deters a high potential candidate from applying.  Rather than concentrating on salary, state the skills you need.


Make sure you include the words the candidates you want to attract will be the ones they use in searching.  Do you know about Google’s Keyword Tool?  It can help you choose words that the search engine likes when candidates plop their search words into the search box.  The novice may need to take a class or read a few articles about Search Engine Optimization.


Be realistic.  Please don’t dump skills from three jobs into an ad for one individual, if you want to fill the position. What MUST the candidate know to do the job with little training?  Did you have all the skills needed for your job when you started?

Additional Insight

I suggest you apply online to your company.  How long did it take you to complete the application and fill in the blanks?  Make it easy.  I read one article in researching for this article that actually suggested making it difficult on the candidate.  We like faster and better, especially in the supply chain business!

Writing an excellent online ad may not be your strength.  If you have the luxury of a marketing person or creative associate, ask for help in writing a compelling online ad.


Posting and praying for results is rarely effective.  With maybe 80% of jobs being filled by referrals, writing the ad is the beginning of the race for talent.  As you interview, you may find you need to refine the requirements, but this is the starting line.  It’s a scary thought that someone you hire might not want to know the requirements!




How Working Women Cope: To Lean In or Not

Whether you aspire to leadership in your job, Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, titled Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead is a gift for all of us in many ways.  Sheryl has created a maelstrom of conversation that should help both men and women examine their careers for opportunities and flaws.  All of us need to consider whether we are actually “leaning in” or “leaning out,” or combining the best of both.  In this two part article,  I hope you think about how you are coping and what you can do to improve the daily struggles to perform adequately at home and at work.   What can business do to create better working conditions?  What can you personally do to improve your personal situation.

The Good News

Sheryl’s best seller creates dialog for the conference table and dinner table.  In December 2010, she gave a TED Talk with overwhelming interest.  According to the book, only 16 of the Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs.  With approximately 14 % of the top jobs in America going to women, I share her enthusiasm for more women in leadership roles.  She doesn’t indicate that women should be more like men, but looks at the need for women to believe in their capabilities and overcome their fears.  Of course we see differences between male and female leaders but we might have a kinder, gentler, more collaborative work world, if more women would grasp leadership roles, or “lean in” the job with full steam.

To cope with leadership roles, she emphasizes that household tasks, as well as major work projects must to be negotiated.   She states clearly that our life partners must take more responsibility, as long hours are expected.  Our electronic devices keep us connected at all hours in global jobs.

The Bad News

Work Life Balance?

Coping with Lean In?

I don’t think Sheryl’s world looks like most of ours.  Her Harvard education and networking relationships obviously helped her to the top, along with her intelligence and drive.  I certainly have no friends named Ari Emanuel (brother of Ram Emanuel, mayor of Chicago), who is listed in her acknowledgements.

Although her children undoubtedly have adequate child care, she probably worries when the nanny can’t take the kids to an after school event.  But working women in my neighborhood don’t have nannies.  Parents are sometimes living apart, if one can’t find a job locally.  And when the teenager who watches the kids after school has another obligation, how do you cope? I’m not sure Sheryl is talking to the majority of women, yet she implores women to drive themselves at work, not wait for management to discover their talent!  I’ve often said to myself, as a working woman and mom, “Which will it be?  Will I feel guilty at work or at home today?”

The stay-at-home mom may keep busy with the child care, civic and religious activities.  She may enjoy her freedom until the husband of 15 years says, “Whoops, I’m out of here!”  Her degree helps, but her skills are rusty, coupled with a possible devastated ego and unrealistic ideas of her value to the workforce.  Even with excellent connections and neighbors for encouragement, “leaning in” is a fairy tale for many women.

Suffice it to say, as Sheryl mentions in her book, “We make hard choices, along with consequences.”

Next week I’ll suggest compromises for consideration.  And we’ll look at some of the quotes from various sources.  Your comments and suggestions will be appreciated.