Eliot and the (thawing?) job market

Public Insight Editor Andrew Haeg posts on the new jobless numbers and how one man is navigating his unemployment

The news on the state’s unemployment front today was not bad, but not great. The unemployment rate dipped 0.3 percent to 8.1 percent. Nothing to pop a cork for. After all, more than 240,000 Minnesotans are on unemployment (seasonally adjusted). But it may be a sign that the labor market is thawing.

That tracks with Eliot Axelrod’s experience. He has accumulated some remarkable firsthand knowledge of the job market over the past year, and is seeing some positive signs. He was laid off at the end of last year from his software sales job, and has since been through a total of 200 job interviews.

His informed observation is that companies are looking for candidates who are “amazingly good, amazingly well-qualified and amazingly well-connected.” In other words, if you’re not a perfect fit, look elsewhere. That’s the word, too, from his five or six friends (all on the mature side of 45) who are skilled, experienced and out of work.

Axelrod is hoping that a change in his job search strategy will yield some results soon. A year ago he boasted about his extensive experience selling software to big and small companies. Now he’s made a subtle shift, and is telling prospective employers that he can get them in front of clients big and small; he can revive dormant accounts, and more. “Before I was describing what I have done,” he says, “and now I’m explaining what I can do.”

His disposition is strikingly sunny given the slog he’s been through. But then again, as he says, “Worry, self doubt or sadness never made anyone any money, or got anyone a job.”

One last thing (if you’ve got a minute): Eliot would like to hear from people who got jobs that weren’t the exact right fit. How’d you do it? Click here and tell us.

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