How to Take Advantage of Low Unemployment as a Job Seeker

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It’s an exciting time to be a job seeker. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found the unemployment rate stands at just 3.9 percent. This means employers who are looking for great talent don’t have as many options.

If you’ve been thinking about changing jobs, now is the time.

But you need to be a smart job seeker. It’s important to understand where your power lies. Then you can better position yourself and land your dream job.

Here are three things job seekers need to keep in mind when unemployment is low:

Be where recruiters are

Right now, hiring professionals and recruiters are having to cast wider nets to fill their open positions. They’re looking in a variety of new places for signs of talent. If you can stand out in these locations, they’ll pursue you as a job candidate.

So where are recruiters starting to look? A 2017 survey from Jobvite found that 50 percent of recruiters are planning to spend more time and money recruiting via social media and other networks this year.

While you probably already have strong, professional social media profiles, there are more ways to build your presence. For example, joining professional networking groups allows you to post content and comments that showcase your abilities. Focus on social groups that are relevant to your industries and experience.

Then, share your voice. When you read an article about a new trend in your industry, write a post that lays out your opinion on the piece. Don’t just rephrase what the article says; add something new. When recruiters look through the group, they’ll see how valuable your viewpoint is.

Bonus tip

Don’t forget to join social media groups related to your alma mater. Even if it’s been a while since you graduated, recruiters are always looking for skilled talent from these networks. Since these groups aren’t industry specific, you can use them to share samples of your work and success. This will give recruiters a concrete example of what you can accomplish.

Knowing your value

Once you find a job and company you’re interested in, consider what you bring to the table and what it might be worth to the organization. Just like in economics, the concept of supply and demand applies to the job search. When there are fewer qualified job seekers looking for new opportunities, recruiters are willing to offer higher salaries and better benefits.

In fact, the aforementioned Jobvite survey found that 84 percent of job seekers who tried negotiating their salary in the past year were successful. Of course, if you’ve never tried to ask for more money or benefits during your job search, this can be nerve-wracking. With a little bit of preparation, you can give yourself the confidence to negotiate.

Start by making a list of what unique skills or traits you have. Then practice discussing why these are valuable for the role. Having clear reasons about why you deserve more money or benefits will help to persuade the hiring manager. Also, decide what extras you want the most. This will keep you focused on getting bonuses that will improve your life instead of giving in to whatever the organization counters with.

Bonus tip

Pay attention to how long a job posting has been listed online. Every day a company spends trying to fill a role costs them time and resources. Use this to your advantage by reminding the hiring manager how much they’ll save by giving you a better offer.

Look outside your current industry

It’s not uncommon for an individual to start their career in one field and later realize it’s not right for them. However, it’s scary to change your career path, especially when few employers are hiring. You have to work twice as hard to prove you can do the job.

But, when employment is low, employers are willing to give job seekers from outside their industry a chance. In fact, in the Jobvite survey, 62 percent of recruiters said a job seeker’s enthusiasm swayed their decision. That was almost as high of a percentage of recruiters who said they prioritize industry knowledge (65 percent).

If you’ve ever considered changing fields, now is the time to do it. Educate yourself about what types of opportunities are available in the industry and compare them to your past experience. Identify skills and qualities that overlap so you can clearly explain to recruiters why you’ll be successful in the transition.

Bonus tip

Since enthusiasm is important to recruiters and employers, make sure you can express your passion about the new field. If it seems like you’re randomly choosing a new industry, companies will question whether you’ll be around for the long haul.

Recommended Reading: Find out what great career influencers can help you in your job search here!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.