Finding work in a near ‘full employment’ economy

Three tips will help you navigate the job search process

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As of September 2017, the U.S. economic outlook was considered healthy. Next year, the unemployment rate is predicted to drop to 4.1 per cent, which is even better than 2016’s 4.6 per cent. However, Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve Chair, reported that the lower employment rate includes part-timers who would still prefer, but are struggling to find, full-time work.

Americans who are working at least one hour per month are consider working class, even if they do not earn a living wage. Furthermore, those jobs are largely in low-wage jobs in food service and retail industries. Citizens who have been out of work for long periods of time are facing serious trouble trying to get higher paying jobs after the fact.

So, what do these statistics mean for jobseekers? According to Kelly Cunningham, an economist at the National University System Institute for Policy Research, falling unemployment rates doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t jobs available. In fact, it could spell opportunity for those looking for work.

However, lower unemployment rates mean more competition. Considering the general state of the U.S. economy now is a better time than ever to work on creating terrific resumes and cover letters to get the job you want. This is easier said than done, but the following three tips will help you navigate the process.

Design an eye-catching resume

The average corporate job opening will attract roughly 250 resumes, and only around 4 to 6 applicants will be called in for an interview. What’s more, research shows that recruiters spend only about six seconds reviewing a resume before deciding whether to offer the candidate an interview. With such a small window of time to attract a recruiter’s attention, the look and format of your resume are important. It’s the first impression you give to a potential employer, and, as they say, you can’t make a first impression twice. It’s imperative that you get it right the first time.

To create the perfect resume, it’s a good idea to study a variety of tried-and-true resume templates. These templates make it easy for you to deliver a well-crafted resume that creates a great first impression. Of course, content matters, too, so it’s important to tailor you your resume to the job that you’re applying to. To help guide you, check out these resume writing best practices.

Launch a well-organized job search

The job hunting process can be daunting, and that fact compels many jobseekers to postpone their searches for far too long. However, there are some job hunting tips that can make the process much easier, and even a little bit fun.

Create an Excel sheet to keep track of your job search. Using Google Excel is a great organizational tool, as it allows create a spreadsheet of where you are in your applications process, which you can access from any computer, on or offline. Create different columns for job posting links, company website, the date you submitted your finished application, and whether you’ve received a reply.

Being able to see your progress is also a psychological booster, offering concrete evidence of just how much you’ve effort you’ve been putting into finding a new job. When you are frustrated, looking back at your Excel sheet will remind you that it is just a matter of time before a new job comes your way.

Create custom cover letters

Your cover letter can make or break your application. As a jobseeker, it may be tempting to skip this step, but you really can’t afford to forego a great cover letter. Employers use cover letters to differentiate between similar candidates and use them to get an idea of your writing ability, attitude, and knowledge of the organization. This is your personal introduction, and your only chance to stand out among a sea of other resumes in the pile. This is where you answer the question: “Why should we hire you?”

To start, analyze the job posting to determine the most essential requirements for the role, then make a list of the qualifications you possess that will meet their needs. Identify concrete examples of past accomplishments that demonstrate your past successes. Focus less on repeating items from your resume and instead focus on elaborating on key achievements. Use data and numbers wherever possible to accomplish this.


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