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Navigating the Current Job Market

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With today’s competitive environment, many of us wonder how we can stand out when it comes to applying for jobs. Some high profile layoffs have gotten a lot of press lately, such as the recent mass layoffs at Twitter and, which only adds to the sense that the job market is chaotic and unstable. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the process and feel defeated before you’ve begun, but we have some tips and tricks to help you edge out the competition.

Tip 1: Know the field you’re entering. 

Sure, the unemployment percentage is up, but is it up in all fields? Or all areas? Currently, as of November, the unemployment rate has been at 3.7% for the last few months (per the Department of Labor).  After a significant low in 2020, the rate has gradually increased over the last few years.  

However, it is worth noting that certain professions have not been affected, such as in hospitality, health care, and government. When shopping around for a new job, some research may be in order to better know the job market in your area and how to market yourself for those types of positions.

Tip 2: Fine tune and fire up your resume. 

Did you know that most job applicants are rejected before they are even actually seen by a human? Most companies now use an ATS, or applicant tracking system, to filter out resumes. So, how do we avoid getting sent to the resume “black hole?”

For starters, we need to choose the correct format and file type to avoid getting weeded out by the bots. A resume design should avoid being fussy-no complicated images, graphs, charts, fonts, bullet points, etc. By sticking with a bold, organized, simple design, we increase our resume’s chance of being seen.

Secondly, we need to know the power of the well-chosen word. In the writer’s world, we call this ‘diction.’ Finding and using the perfect wording is a bit of a number’s game: what words are used throughout the job description that represent your soft and hard skills? Are any words used several times? If so, these important words must be placed within your resume so that you stand out as the candidate for the job. Don’t be shy about repeating one of these keywords a few times in various parts of your resume, either!

Tip 3: Use your social media presence.

How’s your LinkedIn profile? Having and maintaining a dynamic LinkedIn profile puts you already a step ahead of the thousands of people who have not invested in an online presence or have a hastily put together, afterthought sort of profile.

Just as with your resume, make sure key skills are highlighted on your LinkedIn as well as tapping into your connections to have some solid recommendations on your profile as well.

Hint: More on this in our next blog!

Tip 4: Stay calm, positive, and confident.

As obvious as it sounds, staying focused and positive really do matter. The perfect job IS out there for you, and a confident and calm demeanor goes a long way in interviews. Don’t forget to practice self care throughout the process, and don’t dwell on setbacks. Allow yourself to feel your disappointment, but then keep moving forward towards the better opportunities that wait for you.

How can we help?

Although being competitive in an ever changing job market can be a challenging task, by focusing on these tips and highlighting what you have to offer, you can ensure that you’ve put your best foot forward. Em and a Pen is always ready to offer help and feedback throughout the process–whether it’s making sure your resume pops or navigating the current job market, our team can provide the support you need.