The latest predictions about the job market are confusing. Despite worries about an impending recession and layoffs at well-known companies, the number of new hires and people quitting their jobs in June stayed very high, according to the latest JOLTS report.
Still, it’s not a bad time to look for your dream job. “Hiring has slowed a bit, but the good news is that it’s still a job seeker’s market, and there are still a lot of opportunities out there,” says LinkedIn career expert Blair Heitmann to CNBC Make It. He adds that hiring has been especially strong in the health care, media, construction, and financial services industries lately.
Even if the economy gets worse, most recessions last less than 18 months, so career coach Emily Liou says, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and you’ll be able to find a job. It might just take a little longer.”
No matter what the economy is like, you can land your dream job faster if you have confidence in your job search and know exactly what hiring managers are looking for. Here are three tips from experts to help you make the most of your job search:
Be first and fast.
With millions of open jobs on the market—and the Great Recession showing no signs of slowing down—hiring managers are increasingly under pressure to fill roles “as quickly as possible,” Evan Sohn, the CEO of Recruiter.com, says.
“You never want to be the last person to apply for a job because by then, chances are high that they’re already close to giving another candidate an offer,” he adds.
What is the best way to get ahead of the competition? Be the first in line to apply for a job opening. LinkedIn research has shown that you’re four times more likely to hear back about a position if you use it within the first 10 minutes of posting the job online.
Heitmann says that in addition to setting up job alerts on LinkedIn to let you know when new jobs are posted, you should check a company’s website and social media accounts often to see if there are any openings.
Could you show off your skills?
Skills-based hiring has been on the rise for years. Between 2017 and 2019, employers reduced the degree requirements for 46% of middle-skill positions and 31% of high-skill jobs, according to research from Harvard Business Review and The Burning Glass Institute, and even more companies are embracing this approach as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Sohn notes.
Instead, companies are adding more detailed soft-skills requirements to their job postings and testing hard skills through certifications, evaluations, and other methods. To stand out in the job search, you’ll want to identify the top five most relevant skills based on job descriptions and conversations with people in similar roles, then evaluate if you’re comfortable with those skills.
“Hiring managers, especially right now, want to accelerate the process and hire someone that will make their job easier,” Heitmann says. “It’s one of the first things they look for on your resume and application.”
Once you know what the most important skills are for your dream job and can do them well, Heitmann says to put them in bold on your resume and LinkedIn profile summary so hiring managers can see them right away.
Look for this keyword on job boards.
A reliable bellwether of who’s hiring and who’s not can often come down to one word: “recruiter.” Instead of looking for job titles you’re interested in on LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, and other search platforms, type in “recruiter” or “human resource manager,” Liou says.
“Nine times out of 10, a company hiring or going through a growth spurt is looking for recruiters or extra support on their human resources team,” she explains. “Recruiters are never hired to lay people off —they’re there to do the opposite, which is to find talent.”
Once you have a solid list of which organizations are hiring, she adds, you can cross-reference the job postings on a company’s website to see if there are any open roles that excite you.
If you don’t see your dream job yet, be patient because, as Sohn points out, there’s a strong chance it will be posted soon. “More than 4 million people quit their jobs in June,” he adds. “And I highly doubt that these new open roles have made it to the job boards yet.”