Workplace Trends

Workforce Trends

Seven Tips to Raise Your Job Search Game in a Competitive Market

By Lee Hecht Harrison on February 18, 2015

According to the latest employment report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.95 million jobs were created last year. More welcome news is that job growth is expected to remain strong in 2015, finally putting the Great Recession and its sluggish recovery behind us. The anticipated increase in jobs this year could, however, trigger an influx of new job seekers who are voluntarily leaving their positions for new challenges. In fact, in a recent LHH online poll conducted at the end of 2014, 60 percent of job seekers rated their perception of the job market as “excellent” or “good.” This is a marked increase in optimism as only 24 percent shared the same ratings a year ago. The anticipated increase in job growth and surge in worker confidence could mean a larger pool of talent competing for jobs.

To combat an influx of new job seekers, current candidates must raise their game—getting even more strategic and proactive in search activities. Here are seven tips for conducting a successful job search in a competitive job market:

  1. Have an action plan. Write down the types of positions you’re seeking and list at least 50 targeted companies.
  2. Reinvigorate your network. Identify who you’ve contacted recently. Develop a list of follow-up activities along with a deadline for completion for each. Circle back to networking contacts you haven’t talked with in a while and give them an update on your activities. To spur conversation, provide all contacts with an updated list of your targeted companies.
  3. Be searchable. Review your social media profiles to make sure you’re differentiating yourself from the competition and that you’ve included keywords and skills to facilitate recruiters’ searches. Your profiles (and brand) should be consistent across all platforms.
  4. Set benchmarks. LHH research indicates that certain benchmarks will result in faster landings:
    Conduct 30 search-related conversations a week, hold two conversations with hiring managers a week and follow up with hiring managers every three weeks.
  5. Update your alerts. Make sure you’ve set job alerts on the major (and niche) job boards so you’re not wasting time scrolling through hundreds of jobs every day.
  6. Fresh eyes. Ask a valued colleague or friend to objectively critique your communication tools (resume, cover letter, etc.) focusing on the value you’ll bring to an organization.
  7. Practice your interviewing skills. Videotape yourself responding to standard interview questions. Assess your verbal communication skills and body language. Keep practicing until you can nail your responses.

Prepare for increased competition in the job market. Develop a plan, set benchmarks and raise the intensity of your activity. A job search without direction is like taking a trip without GPS—you might reach your destination eventually, but it’ll take a lot longer.

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