As I've referenced in my earlier posts, I'm quite fascinated with the changes currently underway in the area of knowledge and expertise and how that works with all the hiring cutbacks and layoffs that are taking place. For those who are unemployed it is a frightening time to not know when the economy is going to be back on it's feet enough so that the unemployment rate begins to head down as opposed to it's currenty trajectory.
In addition to throwing your name in the pool for those few coveted jobs that are out there, I think it would be wise for all those incredibly smart folks to identify new ways to find work. Using the current trends in social networking and crowdsourcing, I envision the transformation from traditional employment to untraditional organizations in which folks with different skills and expertise create their own business model and market themselves to employers who cannot hire full time right now, but still need that work and support and thus, are much more comfortable hiring a consulting team. Create a virtual marketplace and business for your new team and make it as easy as possible for organizations to hire you. Find people with similar credentials (or better) to yours and get a simple web storefront up and running. That doesn't take long at all and you can get someone to build out your website for you rather inexpensively (don't be cheap though, or you'll definitely get exactly what you pay for).
The advantages to potential clients include:
1. less risk associated with hiring consultants vs. full time employees (in many cases, job postings are completely off limits right now).
2. top notch talent with all the skills & credentials necessary, if not more, to do the work in question.
3. less expensive than hiring one of the huge consulting firms.
4. ability to create a virtual team that perfectly matches all the needs of the organization. In this case, you will need to ask the client what they need, if you don't have all the pieces or skills they're looking for, go find someone who does and add them to your team.
5. in many cases, larger organizations are so complex that finding easy solutions is difficult to navigate. By hiring a small consulting team to specifically meet the needs of the business, that team is unencumbered by internal politics and can swiftly help resolve issues for their client that may be too challenging to resolve internally.
Find creative ways to make your business offering unique and be flexible enough for your client to exactly match their needs. Adjust your business and positioning as your client(s) adjust and you just may find yourself in an incredibly fruitful relationship for both you and your clients.
Here's a list of additional articles I'm collecting for reference:
When Job Seekers Invade Facebook - McKinsey Quarterly
The New Economics of Outsourcing - BusinessWeek
Innovation is Happening - Can You Recognize it? - Silicon Angle blog
Will Agencies Suffer Death by 1000 Cuts Through Crowdsourcing - John Winsor's blog