It isn't easy finding a job when people are delaying retirement (a future blog post on that is coming) and there are other reductions in government positions. The employment figures for the last four years can be depressing. There have been 4.4M jobs lost in state government and 12 million local government workers are no longer employed (these are through 2011). 660K combined state and local jobs were lost in 2008 alone.
What is a person to do? One idea I've tossed out before was to have a skill that the existing workforce doesn't have and that organizations value. Previously I've touted GIS Mapping as an example. In emergency management you have to have maps and the more interactive they are the better. This means going digital with multiple layers of data available at your fingertips.
Another skill that "should" be in high demand is social media and all things having to do with the Internet. Governing Technology Magazine pointed out there is a growing need, see Social Media Directors are Finding a Place in Government
If I had a local program and was looking to fill a "traditional" pubic information officer (PIO) position I'd be looking for someone with tremendously good social media skills and a creative mind. I was thinking about this earlier and I think (?) at this point I'd tell the new hire to spend their time in the following proportions:
- 10% traditional public information officer duties. Fact sheets, news releases, news conferences, stories, etc.
- 20% on the Internet site and with the major emphasis there is making sure it fits today's slim downed mobile user who is on a smart phone or a tablet
- 60% on social media of all types. Getting content out there and then creating the dialog and roping other staff members into the process.
- 10% planning for how we will use social media for disaster response and recovery and then having the tools available.