Tom: You are joining us this morning with some advice for job seekers.
Mellody: I am! We are seeing fresh signs that the job market continues to get better. Americans have enough confidence in the employment outlook they are willing to leave their current jobs and move to new positions, which is great news! This morning, I have a few tips to help those in our audience who are considering starting a new chapter to get hired.
Tom: Fantastic! But first, tell us what are you seeing that is signaling an improving job market.
Mellody: The biggest signs come from the Labor Department’s job openings and labor turnover survey, which is released later than the traditional monthly jobs report, and takes a more detailed look at the labor market. The March survey showed that the number of hires increased by 56,000 to about 5.1 million, with the retail, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality sectors leading the way in hiring. Additionally, the number of job openings is up nearly 18 percent from a year ago, and the ratio of unemployed workers for every job opening is at 1.7:1, dropping below the pre-recession level of 1.8:1, and down sharply from the high of 6.7:1 in 2009. Finally, nearly 2.8 million Americans quit their jobs in march, up from 2.7 million in February. While this may seem like a bad sign, a higher number of quits is a sign of a dynamic labor market in which workers feel confident enough to leave one job for another.
Tom: OK. So if our listeners are among those who want to change jobs, where do they start?
Mellody: The first thing you need to do when thinking about changing jobs is to define your goals for the new position. Going through this exercise will ensure that changing jobs will benefit you. Consider whether your goals are primarily financial in nature (a higher salary, a better retirement plan, or healthcare benefits), personal in nature (a better work life balance or a shorter commute), or professional (perhaps you want a job with more leadership or promotion opportunities or better professional development programs). Once you have decided why you are changing jobs and what you would like to accomplish by doing so, then you can begin your search to find the companies with job openings that fit these parameters.
Tom: We have determined our goals. What comes next?
Mellody: The next step is to find the companies out there with openings that meet your criteria. The career search landscape has changed significantly in the past few years, as employers from Chase to Chipotle have moved most, if not all, of their recruiting efforts online. This shift has benefitted job seekers, making it much easier to find job opportunities. However, it also means that in order to conduct a successful search, you will need to embrace the digital tools at your disposal, from a basic Google search to individual company websites to social networking and jobs sites.