The job market remains robust and the best it’s been in decades. In fact, many industries continue to have a difficult time finding and hiring qualified workers. The numbers are in, and the latest JOLTS Report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) shows that the labor market is very strong. The latest report shows a total of 7.1M job openings. Additionally, the number of hires throughout the month was consistent (5.8 M). However, the most impressive statistic was a quit rate of 2.3%, just short of last month’s record-breaking number. In other words, confidence in today’s job market is still strong. In theory, that should mean if you are looking for work, interviews will be easy to come by.
That, of course, is not always the case. Just because the job market is strong and good candidates are scarce, does not mean you can land a dream job immediately. There are many factors that come into play. Seasonality (corporate fiscal year, holidays), budgets and employee incentives to “stay on” give rise to the question, “is there a best time of the year to look for a job or advance one’s career?”
Having watched the labor markets closely for years, it appears that January and February are the most active hiring months. These are the months most companies activate updated budgets, establish new production quotas and adopt new sales forecasts. Hiring authorities at these companies have a better idea of what they need and what they can pay new employees. Interestingly, many job seekers hold off their job search in the final month or so of the year knowing they have a review and bonus that will paid in early January. Besides many companies delay hiring during the December holidays which makes job boards ripe early in the year.
Conversely, the summer months can be a bit slower with the primary reason that many employees are on vacation making it a bit difficult to coordinate interviews across the company if necessary. This does not mean hiring is limited; it’s just a slower and more elongated process.
So, given that this market is perhaps the strongest we have seen in modern history, it may be time to gear up for the early 2020 job search. Below are some thoughts to get started:
1. Update your resume. This is your calling card. It is an investment in yourself. If you have a resume template, use it to continually update you experiences and skillsets. Remember, it is a competitive marketplace for qualified candidates. The more comprehensive you are in updating skill and experience, the better your odds of landing interviews. If you do not have a resume, invest in a service professional who will craft a resume and cover letter for you. Most of the time professional career transition specialists will be more objective in drafting your resume than you will. They will ask questions of you which will allow to embellish on experiences which they may find very important to the search campaign.
2. Build and/or update your social media campaign. It is a given that many recruiters peruse LinkedIn for qualified candidates. Once you commence updating your resume, update your biography on LinkedIn. While you are at it, expand your network by linking up with others in your field of expertise or in the field you want to transition to.
3. Develop an elevator pitch. Paint a picture of your career journey thus far. Some of the best elevator speeches are the ones that bring life and color to your resume. Highlight key positions of responsibility or positions that leveraged you to where you are now and state key milestones in certain jobs leave the listener with reasons why you are a qualified candidate. Leave the jargon for the team who interviews you.
4. Start today. Year-end is rapidly approaching and the hiring season will be in full swing in a matter of weeks. There is no substitute for planned preparation or refined social media efforts. Good luck. Employers are actively seeking well qualified candidates and are willing to pay for solid skill sets.
Good luck and take advantage of this unique job market. It may be the last you will see in a long time.
Kim W. Suchy