Hope. That’s what job seekers are filled with for 2010, after a yearlong economic crisis that ended with 85,000 job losses in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While the unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent, the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the U.S. could still see job growth as early as the spring. But, as 20 percent of employers are making plans to increase their number of full-time employees in 2010, according to a survey by CareerBuilder, job seekers can expect to see heavy competition for jobs. Of the unemployed workers, an average of 6.3 percent are chasing after jobs – more than 3 times the percentage of unemployed workers who were actively seeking jobs at the beginning of the recession, making it vital for job seekers to set themselves apart.
“It is difficult enough to compete for a job with a group of your own peers, but with the tremendous job loss the country has suffered, you may be competing with individuals who have even stronger backgrounds and more qualifications,” said Janet Nagle, former employer relations manager for the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance and author of How to Use the Internet to Get Your Next Job. “Top employees from every industry are now part of the unemployed millions who are making job search part of their daily routines.”
The world of online opportunities gives candidates the chance to self-promote, allowing the unemployed to take control of their own job searches and to present themselves as an employer’s most prominent recruit. With the latest trends of online technology, mixed with traditional application tips, job candidates can use these seven steps for getting hired:
1. Start by updating your résumé: Keep it current with each job you have, adding the skills you developed and your industry-specific job duties. Save any clips – electronically – or credentials you have from your work experience. Then, organize your tools in one place on your computer so when the right job comes along, you can apply with just a few clicks of your mouse.
2. Make a list of important job qualities and stick to your criteria: These can include things like your desired salary, proximity to your home, and the job description itself. Refer to this list when you are searching the job boards to see how jobs are measuring up. If you apply for a job that does not have your must-have criteria, chances are your employer will catch on.
3. Use reputable job sites: There are tons of them out there, and it’s easy to get lost in the virtual world of applying for jobs. As the largest job search, employment, and careers site, CareerBuilder offers candidates the ability to search by industry, save their searches, and have job alerts e-mailed directly to them. Likewise, Indeed.com establishes their reputation by posting how many jobs they have uploaded in the past seven days. Finding a site that works for you can take some time, but stick with ones that can prove their results.
4. Put your clips and résumé online: To do this, you may have to create your own blog or Web site, which can be done in a few simple steps. WordPress.com allows bloggers to upload samples of their work, creating their own online portfolios. Having your portfolio in one place – and online – is an easy way to get employers to notice you, and your work.
5. Engage in social media: If you don’t already have a Facebook profile, Twitter account, or LinkedIn profile, make one. With today’s rage of social media, job candidates can establish themselves as industry experts online. Use your online profiles and networking sites to give out industry-related tips and information, as well as to stay current on what your potential employers are talking about.
6. Know the red flags for a scam: Sometimes, job listings sound too good to be true, which usually signals that the job is not really the dream job it sounds like or even a job at all. To spot a scam, look for things like misspelled words and inconsistent e-mail addresses or contact information. Do a little research about the company, too. Verify that there is a physical location and that the company actually exists.
7. Always be professional: From your online profile names to the way you compose an e-mail, remember that an Internet job search does not excuse unprofessionalism and does not mean the application process is any less formal. Put yourself in the right mindset, whether it is with professional dress when you interview with an employer via Skype or with the things you say about yourself on your Web site. If you take the job search seriously, your employers will in turn take you seriously.