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Georgia Jobs Summit aims to get Georgians back to work

When it comes to knowing how to create jobs in Georgia, state labor officials are stumped.

That's why, earlier today, Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond called residents, business owners, and the general public together for the Georgia Jobs Summit at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in Atlanta. The all-day event was a brainstorming session designed to find innovative ways to get Georgians back to work.

The facts are sobering: nearly 600,000 Georgians are unemployed, underemployed, or have given up looking for work, according to the state labor department. About 463,000 Georgians are unemployed.

Clearly, chronic unemployment goes far beyond the question of whether a job seeker's resume is up to par. The larger question appears to be whether most job seekers have the skills employers are looking for, and beyond that, whether employees will be equipped to perform the jobs which do come along after the economy rebounds?

Consider, for instance, the expected hot jobs of the future-healthcare, technology, and education. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, individuals hoping to obtain and maintain jobs in these fields will need more than a degree-they'll also need a variety of skill sets and be able to transition seamlessly between departments. For example, journalists will need to be familiar with social media; "techies" will need to understand the fundamentals of web marketing and possess other web-related skills.

And for those who are tempted to think social media is just a fad, don't. The internet's three largest social media sites-Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter-have more than an estimated 400 million users. Many jobs will require that employees know how to navigate these sites. Sean Nelson, an Atlanta-based social media expert and marketing strategist, says social media now is a lot like the internet industry was in the late '90's.

"We're at the same point as we were in 1998, where we went from, 'a website is something that was cool to have,' to it's now a necessity." In fact, Nelson believes that we'll begin to see more companies hire individuals to work in social media, first as generalists and eventually, in a separate channel of their marketing departments.

Bottom line: finding work now is about more than tailoring your resume to fit a job description; it even goes beyond interviewing effectively or making the best contacts through networking. It's about being creative, innovative, strategic, observing emerging trends, and finding ways to apply your unique skills and experiences to help companies solve problems.

It appears that in this economy, those who thrive will be those who can not only fit a job description, but create one, as well.

What do you think are the best ways to create jobs in Georgia? Email me, and let's talk about it.

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