There’s no doubt about it. Navigating through the job market isn’t as easy as it used to be. With the ever-changing economy and pandemic, the workforce may never be the same.
Our current circumstances can either empower you or discourage you, or a little bit of both. It’s normal to feel intimidated by the job market and not sure what to expect. But you can stay one step ahead by educating yourself and understanding the job market the best you can.
Here are some pointers and observations to keep in mind as you look for work.
1. The Unemployment Rate Isn’t Always Accurate
You may be hopeful right now about finding work. Even though the economy is suffering, the job market is going strong! Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but there’s a lagging indicator in the job industry.
The unemployment rate takes a while to catch up to what is happening in real time with the economy. Hiring managers look for a healthy economy and hire when they feel things are going well. So while the unemployment rate is low at the moment, eventually, it will go up.
Since things aren’t 100% accurate, continue to apply for work. It’s best not to rely on unemployment rates to gauge when it is easier or harder to find a job. Things are always changing and aren’t always accurate.
2. Knowing the Current Salary for Your Position Requires Research
It’s essential to know what employers are paying people in your line of work. Right now, you may have a ballpark idea of what people in your field are getting paid. But if you haven’t researched in a while, it’s something you must do. And it would help if you did it before applying for a new job and setting up interviews.
Another way to dig deeper is by checking out compensation reports. If you’re a doctor, for example, find reports that outline medical specialties and current salaries. A report that reveals how much doctors are getting compensated will let you know what you should get paid. When you’re asked the question “What is your desired salary” at an interview, you’ll know what to say!
3. The Career Ladder Is Gone
It used to be that when you got hired, as long as you performed well, that you’d get promoted. While that’s most often the case, the career world is no longer linear. In other words, there is no such thing as a “career ladder.”
Today, when you start a new position, you may not go up the ladder as planned. At times you may be stuck and have to move downward instead of up. Or you end up somewhere in the middle for a while.
It’s frustrating when it takes a while to get from point A to point B. But you have an opportunity to grow in every stage. Don’t get so caught up in focusing on where you’re at now that you miss out on ways to improve your skillset.
Over time, you will gain experience which will help you achieve your goals. But realize that your path to career success won’t always be linear.
4. Having a Network Matters
If you haven’t focused on building a network, there’s no time like the present. Having a network you can turn to for referrals and advice is imperative as you look for work.
You may have just graduated from school. Stay in touch with professors and companies you interned with. They may know of current job opportunities now and in the future.
Don’t forget to use social media. If you have connections there, that’s another way to find job opportunities. Also, work on “meeting” new people online. You never know what doors may open for you and lead you to your dream job.
5. Maintaining a Versatile Skillset Counts
Even though you have a strong skillset from getting a degree, it shouldn’t stop there. It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in. Things are always changing. New technology improves things, and new research reveals better ways to do one’s job.
Stay on top of the curve by continuing to add to your knowledge. Take online classes, read about your industry, and learn all that you can. When you do get a job, you’ll be well versed and ready to take on any challenge that comes your way.
Making progress in your career used to be easy, but now, it requires more understanding. Don’t be hard on yourself if you haven’t yet grasped the job market. We’re all struggling to understand it.
The good news is we can work together to help one another succeed and thrive, no matter what the job market may bring.