Finding a Job in the Boom
By Jessica Coles
Unemployment is at historic lows, often below or hovering around what is known by economists as “full employment.” But if you still can’t find a job, those rosy reports offer little comfort.
During the depths of the recession not too long ago, the difficulty in securing suitable, lasting employment in almost any sector was painful, but understandable. But with a still-accelerating economy generating low unemployment, job-seekers might begin to ask where the problem lies.
If you question that the issue might be with your skills, talents and experience, experts note you’re probably just competing with more people than ever. As thousands of jobs open up, thousands of applicants flood the job market. But depending upon your status — new to the market, mid-career or late-career — you are also facing a variety of factors employers use to gauge your credentials.
In an era of automated résumé review technology — in which systems seek out keywords from résumés, and job boards that make it easy for job-seekers to apply in rapid succession — much gets lost, including the character and personality of applicants.
You can outsmart the bots, however, by ensuring your resume is stripped of formatting such as charts and tables that look great but don’t make sense in an automated review. Use job titles and position numbers in your headline to directly connect you to specific jobs and optimize by repeating keywords you see in job descriptions and deleting others to maximize your visibility.
So how else can you improve your odds and increase your visibility? Career experts offer the following tips:
Customize: Take the time to tinker with your resume and tweak it with keywords you notice in job descriptions and the skills and talents you have that the employer seeks. Also, don’t neglect the cover letter, which can have greater impact in an auto- mated process.
Review: Your résumé should not just be a summary of your past titles, dates of employment, education and skills. Employers want brief, clear examples of how your particular talents met the challenges of an organization’s goals. Make sure your résumé tells that story.
Network: Increase your visibility by showing up frequently online and in person on sites such as LinkedIn and other social media platforms as well as live networking events where you can expand your connections.
Be Yourself: Apply for and be honest and enthusiastic at those positions where you know you’re qualified.
Make sure your presentations — on your résumé, during phone conversations and in person — reflect those expressions. That will both resonate with potential employers and increase the odds you’ll land in a job you truly love.
HOT JOB PROFILE
MEDICAL ASSISTANTS 2018 median pay: $33,610 per year ($16.16/hr.) Number of jobs in 2018: 686,600
Job outlook, 2018-28: 23% (much faster than average)
Employment change, 2018-28: 154,900 The role: Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, offices of physicians, and other healthcare facilities.
Education required: Most medical assistants have post secondary education, such as a certificate. Others enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training. The need: As the baby-boom population ages and demand for care grows, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics