With confidence increasing both on the part of employers and job seekers, now may be the ideal time to land your next job.
Nobody is saying the job market is on fire, but for many people with sought after skills, there’s more opportunity to move on to greener pastures. Consider this: According to Glassdoor’s Q2 Employment Confidence Survey, 52% of employees reported optimism in the job market, the first time it surpassed 50% since the survey begin in Q1 of 2009. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in June underscoring the increased optimism for both employees and from employers.
“The war for talent among employers has been increasing; therefore, it’s becoming an employee-driven market,” says Adam Ochstein, founder and CEO of StratEx, a Chicago-based firm that provides human resources services and software. “Employees have more options now as opposed to the labor market during the recession, or even the following several years.”
Employees in the driver’s seat
Being in the driver’s seat if you are currently employed is going to put you in an enviable position. After all, an improving job market means you’ll have an easier time switching jobs if you are unhappy in your current role or want to try something new. Rewind a few years and many people felt stuck because of the dour job market. People were too scared to leave out of fear of facing protracted unemployment.
On top of that, you’ll come across as more confident because you aren’t desperate for your next source of income. That confidence, however, shouldn’t be confused with arrogance. While you may have an easier go at it, finding a job still requires work and a lot of it. “Regardless of the increased optimism, basic job search strategies remain the same,” says Ruhl, a managing partner at OI Partners–Innovative Career Consulting in Denver. “I would never approach a job search as if it were a gimme.”
Even with job market improvement finding a job takes work
In an improving job market, experts say you still have to do some work to ensure you and your resume stand out from the competition, even if there is less of it. If you are lacking skills that are necessary to move up then you may want to take a course before sending out your resume. If you are intent on moving into a new industry or role then you have to be willing to take less pay or give up a title to make the transition. “We are in a very healthy jobs market and there are many opportunities out there,” says Ochstein. “They may not be the ‘perfect’ opportunity at first glance, but if the job seeker sacrifices one requirement, it could be a great fit.”
On top of being willing to give up something now for a pay off in the future people who want to switch jobs also have to employ the standard tactics that everyone looking for a new job needs to embrace. That means developing a plan of action by identifying the types of positions you are seeking, says Ruhl. It also means holding yourself accountable by setting benchmarks for activity whether that means sending out x resumes a week, taking specific courses to increase your skills or attending a predetermined number of networking events or opportunities each month. You also want to make sure your resume is up-to-date, includes all the keywords applicable to your field and doesn’t have any gaps or holes that would hurt your chances of getting an interview, she says. “Nothing changes just because the market has improved. It simply takes less time,” says Ruhl. “There is no substitute for knowing what you do better than your competition and being able to articulate that clearly and succinctly on a resume, in networking and during the interview process.”
It also means taking advantage of the improving job market by being aggressive and flexible. Finding a job you like is going to rank high on your list if you are switching jobs, but you also have to be willing to accept change if it means you’ll be moving into a career or industry you always wanted to be in. “In a healthy labor market it’s okay to take risks,” says Ochstein.