Job Hunting in 2018: Optimism is Key and Other Tips from the Front Lines
Now is the Time for All Good (Wo)men to Look for a Job!
The economy continues to rebound and unemployment rates are slowly dropping, and the future for job seekers seems to be bright. Job development and employment edged up by 103,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent, according to the Labor Department. The momentum is great for job seekers and should come as welcome news to many. Especially since the majority of Americans are dissatisfied with their current position according to a new survey from résumé and portfolio creation platform VisualCV.
While more than three out of five of Americans indicated that they are unsatisfied with their jobs, they are extremely optimistic about the prospects of a career change. Does this scenario sound familiar? James Clift, CEO of VisualCV, believes that optimism may very well be the most important asset a candidate can possess when looking to secure a job. He and I recently discussed how Americans really feel about the job market and, more important, ways candidates can get a jump start on the competition.
According to the survey, 69 percent of Americans indicated that they are unsatisfied with their job. What would you recommend to these unsatisfied people?
The first thing I’d recommend is for them to realize that they’re not alone! It’s a common problem, and a complex one. I recommend people dig deep into the causes of their dissatisfaction before immediately looking for a new job.
What are you unsatisfied with? It could be the work you’re doing, the work environment, the hours, your boss, your workload, your paycheck – anything. Typically, people who are satisfied with their jobs have achieved three important milestones: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Use this framework to evaluate what exactly is missing in your position. Once you isolate the problem, you can then begin working on the solution.
Take away: Identify the problem(s) that are impacting your job satisfaction.
That is helpful, but once someone identifies what is lacking, what can they do about it?
Once you know the biggest cause of your dissatisfaction (or what you think is the biggest problem), then start outlining the steps to solve it. Realize that anything is achievable whether it’s a 40 percent pay raise, more flexible working hours, understanding your value, or even a complete career redirection. It’s never too late to get what you want from your job provided you can identify what it is you are missing in the one you have and what you hope to achieve from the next one.
Once you’ve identified the problem and set your goals, begin taking small steps towards accomplishing your plan every day. These don’t have to be intimidating changes; they can be as simple as making a point to meet with someone new in your industry every week or sending your resume to a company that interests you.
Learning something new that piques your interest can also give you a kickstart when searching for a new career. The best option for this is to enroll in a class or an online course. Some great options are Lynda, Skillshare, and Treehouse.
For more complex causes of dissatisfaction, and especially for those you don’t feel equipped to work through on your own, consider seeking support from a reputable career development professional in your area.
Take away: Set yourself up for success by addressing the issues that may be holding you back. And when stuck, consider consulting with a career professional.
People are optimistic and 96 percent are open to a new job according to your study. How can this improve their chances of finding something new this year?
Embrace that optimism but again be sure to prioritize your career goals. Having a plan is key to finding your ideal job so take the time to determine what exactly it is that you want to accomplish this year. I recommend taking a full inventory of your current skills, and a list of potential jobs you are interested in. Find the places where those intersect as a starting point for your career search.
Once you have the end goal in mind, start small. An easy first step is to update your résumé and polish up all online profiles. Remember to keep your dream job in mind when doing so, and remember that both your résumé and online brand are living breathing documents that can (and should) be updated frequently.
Then set aside some time every day to explore new opportunities. This exploration can be in various forms – online job boards, social networks, or in-person events.
Take steps to ensure your mind and network are fresh as this is essential when trying to make a change. Attend local events in your area, and keep the conversation going online. Use networks such as LinkedIn to build a robust network of valuable contacts that can help you in your upcoming job search.
Remember that the smallest connections can lead to the biggest changes, and try to maximize those small connections. The biggest thing keeping you from making a change is you. Simply taking action is always the best approach.
Take away: Prioritize your career goals. Update your résumé and polish online profiles. Set aside time to explore new opportunities.
It’s interesting to learn that 65 percent of those surveyed are feeling excited about their career prospects this year. Are there areas of growth that you’ve seen or are anticipating this year?
I will default to the Bureau of Labor on this one. The rise in clean energy has resulted in new jobs like wind turbine service technicians, solar panel installers, and others, many of which don’t require a college degree.
Anything in Information Technology is also a good bet; software is continuing to gain traction, and people who understand software will be well sought-after in the upcoming years. This doesn’t mean you need to become a software engineer, but it could mean applying skills developed in a more traditional industry to a technology company. For example, instead of working in a traditional wealth management firm, you could work for a robo-advisor such as WealthFront.
Take away: Consider how your skills transfer from traditional industries to up-and-coming ones.