The interesting thing about job hunting during a recession is that it really highlights just how important it is to keep up and upgrade one's skills. Until recently, the MBA earned in 2003 opened doors for me. But now I look at what jobs are available to someone who works in marketing like me and I realize that the skills required are beyond what I can do today. I have strong data analysis skills, which one employer required but they also wanted someone who could understand ink and paper selection for collateral development; I don't have those skills, clearly (always left that piece to the printer, actually). I have every confidence that I could learn how to select the right ink for the right paper fairly easily but if there's someone out there who already has that skill, why hire me when you can get that person instead?*
I look at this positively. Until now, I didn't really consider what else I might want to do or what other courses/certifications I could get. Now I'm looking at some of the requirements and thinking, "Well that seems interesting," or "That doesn't fit what I want to do long-term." I run the gamut from thinking I could take a course or two at Sweat Sock Community College to learn certain software applications that could enhance my resume and make me potentially more valuable to an employer, or making an investment in another degree. This could be the chance to go in an entirely new direction -- a new field maybe or perhaps a new industry? -- and that is exciting.
In this example, I had about 95 percent of what they were looking for, but the initial assessment fell short over the ink/paper question. Now, it could have been a case of them not liking my skills enough to let the ink/paper go, or it could be that that one thing is so important to them that they need to have a person who understands on day one what's required. I do wonder about how much a vacancy would cost per day versus the time required to learn this skill, but these days, it's an employers' market and they are making what they consider the best decision for their company.