People looking for work should try networking and making a list of who they want to work for, according to career coach Stacey Perkins.
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Economist Daniel Zhao said “the labor market is likely to be cooler in 2024.”Career coach Stacey Perkins emphasized the importance of networking if you’re thinking about a new job.A video could be a way to stand out from other applicants, ManpowerGroup’s Rebecca Croucher said.
If you’re looking for work this year, consider how you network, do your research about where hiring is happening, and even try submitting a video to stand out among the other job seekers.
That advice is based on conversations with an economist, a career coach, and a senior vice president at a workforce solutions company.
“The labor market is likely to be cooler in 2024, which means it probably will be harder to find a job this year than last year,” Daniel Zhao, lead economist for jobs search platform Glassdoor, told Business Insider.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics hasn’t released employment or hiring statistics just yet for 2024. However, data for 2023 shows job openings cooled down and average monthly job growth was smaller than it was in 2022.
Payroll employment rose by 2.7 million last year, for an average monthly gain of 225,000, a news release from BLS stated. However, that lags behind 2022’s increase of 4.8 million.
But job numbers don’t tell the whole story. Zhao said there are other factors that could “buoy sentiment about the job market in the new year.”
“As inflation comes down and people start to look past the possibility of a recession, then that should help improve overall sentiment among workers and employers alike,” Zhao said, adding that may give job seekers the confidence that they can land better jobs.
Rebecca Croucher, senior vice president, head of North America marketing and sales enablement at ManpowerGroup, said finding work “is going to continue to be hard unless you have the right skills.”
“If people invest their time and really understand what are some shortage areas when it comes to hiring and people with skills, I think it’ll be easier to get a job,” Croucher said.
Zhao, Croucher, and career coach Stacey Perkins outlined four tips for job seekers in today’s labor market.
Make a job plan
Perkins, a career coach at organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry, suggested job seekers figure out a robust strategy for job searching, which doesn’t mean simply submitting your résumé to many places.
This can involve making a list of employers you actually want to work for. Perkins suggested looking at who you have a mutual connection with or identifying who you already know at the places noted on the list. That way, even if there isn’t an opening just yet, you have already taken a step in making yourself known to the employer.
“You want to be the one that they’re thinking about because you’ve started building some of those relationships,” Perkins said.
For people who may have a career gap, Perkins said “people do want to see that you’ve done something.” Because of this, Perkins suggested volunteering or doing a class.
Perkins added that applicants should follow up with a note after submitting their résumés but avoid writing a repeat cover letter. Instead, focus on a few highlights, she said.
“Don’t just put your application in and just sit and wait,” Perkins said. “You want to find a recruiter, the potential hiring manager, or somebody who might be a decision-maker and just send them a quick note.”
For people just graduating and looking for work, Croucher suggested looking for an internship first because it could be easier to get.
“It’s not always possible to predict which industry will do well or do poorly in a given year,” Zhao said, adding that “it’s more important than ever to do your research” of industries and companies that are doing well before job searching.
Zhao said online resources where people can compare employers could be one way to determine if a company would be a good fit, but another way is through networking.
Networking can include talking to different people who may work where you’re hoping to get a job — from alumni to friends and family, Perkins noted.
“I think when you find somebody where you already have something in common, again like alumni, or you’re part of a book club or a running club or something like that, then it’s easier just to strike up the conversation,” Perkins said.
For job seekers sending cold messages, Perkins advises against just writing that you’re interested in a job at the company and asking if they can help. Instead, highlight something from their profile — if they reached out on LinkedIn, for instance.
Try sending a video
People can try creating a video about themselves as one way to potentially be distinct from others applying for the same role. Croucher said it’s similar to a cover letter — just in a different format.
“To me, it’s somebody willing to take a risk and do something different to stand out,” Croucher said. “And that’s a skill in and of itself.”
Croucher said the video is really about a job candidate showcasing being comfortable talking about themselves and also can be a first impression.
“This is really what would make you stand out and really talking about why you’re interested in the job and showing some passion for that specific job,” Croucher said. “Because when I hire people, I want to hire people that are passionate about what they do because then they take more pride and work ethic is usually higher.”
Try adding information to your LinkedIn profile
“Another big thing in this market is to keep your LinkedIn profile updated,” Perkins said, noting things like certifications are good to add.
“If you’re new to working right out of college or you’re trying to change careers, I do think it’s important to have the certifications and training,” Croucher said.
But job seekers should be picky about what they want to include. Croucher said that putting too much detail could “cut themselves out of the running” for a role.