Do you think we’re too focused on being specialized?

There are a lot more good employees than good jobs. The growth of job boards, online resume submissions, and networking sites like Linkedin have created a situation where resumes are everywhere. It’s easier than ever to sit with your laptop and fire off 100 resumes to potential employers all over the world. This causes huge problems for employers, who then create really specific job descriptions for their postings so applicants can be filtered out or discouraged from applying.

The rise of contracting services and temporary employment also feeds the ultra-specialization movement. Employers can bring in specialists for certain tasks, and expect them to “hit the ground running” (if you’ve looked for a job lately, I’m sure you’ve seen that phrase a few times). When that task is done, they can look for another specialist to fill some other role. There’s no time or need to train anyone to do a job. If the job can be done from the workers home office, it’s even easier. You can search the globe to find just the right set of qualifications in an employee.

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People are motivated, and inadvertently (or necessarily, if they want a paycheck) feed into this system by becoming more specialized. You need a job so you go out and get the skills and training people are looking for. If your resume and portfolio fit the needs of the recruiter, you have the job. Gone are the days of “we think he’s got the right stuff,” or “his personality and willingness to learn will make up for the lack of experience.”

The end result of this is a workforce full of one-dimensional specialists. Good luck trying to change your career path.

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