Thinking of looking for a job in 2015?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. For the first time in a long time, you just might have the upper hand.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced that 2014 was the best year for hiring since 1999 and that the unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 5.6% (employers added 252,000 jobs in December). Better still, 36% of employers plan to increase their full-time staff in 2015, according to a CareerBuilder survey.
Wages are on the upswing, too. Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist for The Economic Outlook Group, told USA TODAY that he forecasts average annual wage growth rising to perhaps 3% by midyear (compared to 2.4% last year).
Of course, just because firms, nonprofits and government agencies are hiring doesn’t mean the job search has gotten any easier or that you have any more time to look for work. So to help you take advantage of the improving job market in your limited spare time, here are six ways to improve your search with just a few hours of work:
3. Set-up Google alerts for a target list of three to five employers where you’d like to work. This way, you’ll be on top of breaking news, job postings and business opportunities long before your competition without having to devote hours to research. And if you get called in for an interview, the knowledge you’ve gained about a prospective employer’s challenges and strategic plans will help you come across as a highly effective candidate.
4. Add two or three job-search apps onto your smartphone. These days, the sooner you respond to a job posting, the better your chances of getting hired. Mobile job-search apps can cut your response time drastically. So download a few from job-posting aggregator sites such as Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com. Then, when you’ve got time to kill, you can easily use your phone for something more productive than reading the latest Facebook gossip.
The Next Avenue blog post I wrote, “8 Great Apps to Help You Land a Job” can help you find the right apps for your search.
5. Create a list of at least three people you think could help your job-search efforts in 2015. We all know that networking is the best way to find new jobs, but real networking is about long-term relationship building, not quick transactional exchanges. It is far more powerful to have a few strong supporters in your network (who’ll go to bat for you when there’s an opening where they work), than many lukewarm connections.
As you’re coming up with a shortlist of people who could accelerate your job search, think about ones at employers where you might like to work, leaders in your target industries or former colleagues you haven’t kept in touch with. Just remember: Networking works best when you approach it with the attitude of helping others before you expect help.
Once you’ve identified your target list, send those people useful articles, offer to connect them to your other contacts and share their content on social media. These gestures will help you build meaningful business relationships, which should lead to referrals for job opportunities.
See all 6 tweaks and the complete article