If you’re looking at the economy in the U.S. lately, you’re likely to be pretty happy. All the signs point to a jobs revival. Incomes are going up. New positions are popping up faster than skilled workers can fill them. Recent data shows that the economy added 148,000 jobs at the end of 2017, according to Labor Department figures. Part of being a savvy participant in the modern economy is hopping on any situation that you can find. So, when things are going well, what does this mean for you?
The Job Market Explained
Let’s roll back a bit and explain what these statistics mean. The job market, a concept demonstrating the competition and interplay between different labor forces, is more of an idea than something you can physically participate in. If things are going well, businesses may increase their operations in hopes of meeting the demands of their customers. Doing this requires more people to help meet those needs, so more jobs open up. If the field is competitive, certain companies may put out higher salaries or perks in hopes of getting the most qualified applicants.
Some professions are seeing this growth more than others. Manufacturing added almost 200,000 jobs last year, a turnaround from 2016 when it lost jobs. Construction added 210,000 jobs in 2017. Bars and restaurants hired about 250,000 waiters, cooks, and hostesses. Health care is the overall leader, though adding 300,000 jobs in 2017. This was the same case the previous year as well. Which of these fields will stay popular is a very interesting question. Some, like health care, will likely remain evergreen. The population on the whole in this country is aging. This means more healthcare pressure to take care of everyone. Others, like manufacturing, are subject to outside forces. Bartenders and waiters have a glut of potential talent to choose from, so those jobs may not be as secure.
Some are a bit anxious about this current upwards trend, feeling that what comes up must come down. This isn’t something you can easily predict. However, what is safe to say is that if you are choosing now to try and hop industries or try and buck for a better position within your industry, now is the time. More opportunities and more demand equal a better chance of you getting hired.
As a job seeker, you need to make use of every resource at your disposal to make sure that you not only get your foot in the door but also learn about potential opportunities that may not be as easy to find as what’s on a jobs board website. This can include alumni organizations, especially if your school is well known for a specific field you are looking to break into. Another good thing to get in the habit of is immersing yourself in your industry besides your duties at work. This means signing up for industry associations and reading up on industry journals. Sometimes, job postings are a part of what you can find. However, there is much more to see than that. These can present great networking opportunities within the field. In many cases, some of the best jobs around aren’t advertised to the public but kept for internal hires and referrals. Networking can get you on some of those lists.
If you plan on going the conventional route, make sure you have the right tools, including a great resume. A resume’s role has evolved a lot over the last few decades. What was originally a clinical way to present your experience has now become much more of an active way to show you are a fit for a job. Many companies are demanding specific resumes tailored to their HR departments. Even if they don’t ask for one, customizing at least a little is good practice. The better you can communicate that you are a fit, the more likely it is for your resume to make it through. Remember, in-demand positions get thousands of resumes. Do you really want to have one that looks generic?
Of course, not everyone is a great writer. Also, depending on the volume, you may be putting out too many resumes to customize each one. Using resume examples is a great way to get over this hump. By using these as a base and applying your information appropriately, you can have a professional looking resume in minutes.