Skilled At Work

What Can You Do When Everyone’s Hiring, But You Can't Find A Job?

If this job market has left you scratching your head, you are not alone. According to the most recent labor report, there are 6 million Americans who are currently unemployed and 11.5 million jobs to fill. These figures can be pretty confusing for job seekers and economists alike. Logic dictates that with more jobs than those who need them, everyone should be able to find a job, right? Wrong. In fact, I have professionals contacting me daily who say otherwise. When I tell you these job seekers are super qualified for the positions they are applying to, I mean it. They’re a perfect fit. However, they reach out to me and join my program because, regardless of their experience, they apply to the position after position and hear nothing back.

Just this week, one job seeker told me, “Tammy, I don’t just feel frustrated; I feel completely deflated. With all I’ve accomplished, I never thought my experience would just be pushed aside.” I felt for her and all other job seekers who come to me feeling discouraged and like they are no longer valued. It’s as if all they’ve accomplished is no longer relevant. Why do these job seekers have difficulty finding employment with so many jobs available? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think.

Yes, there are more jobs than those searching for them. But there’s more to it than just that.

First, those labor statistics don’t consider the type of available jobs. Many are service industry jobs, not necessarily the corporate jobs that seasoned professionals need. So there aren’t technically “more” jobs available than there are people to fill them.

Second, the job search process has become highly automated. Applications are no longer sorted by live recruiters or hiring managers. Instead, applicant tracking systems are programmed to scan and score resumes. The higher your resume scores, the better your chance for an interview. Unfortunately, those software programs often get it wrong, selecting less qualified candidates over those who are qualified simply because the less qualified candidates may have written their resumes in a way that triggers a positive response from the ATS.

Third, many positions have gone remote. This means that companies are pulling from a national applicant pool, making competition for highly sought-after roles much more intense.

And fourth, I’m not sure companies are doing a great job promoting positions to acquire and retain top talent. For example, entry-level positions have an unrealistic list of requirements, and more senior roles are posted with so much jargon that even the most experienced candidate is intimidated.

What do I think about all of this? No doubt about it, companies are hiring. In March of 2022, nonfarm payrolls increased by 431,000. So, it is a great time to find a job, but without a proper search strategy in place, it’s challenging to secure it.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Be clear on what you want and strategic when searching.

I often speak with job seekers who aren’t sure what positions they want to apply to or how they want their careers to look going forward. This isn’t good. If you are searching without an idea or plan, it’s almost like spitting in the wind. There is no consistency or purpose within your search, and you will likely miss opportunities. Determine your top titles/desired positions and have a set time you search every day. This way, you don’t miss out on a single position posted and you can spend the rest of your day doing what you enjoy (rather than searching nonstop).

2. Customize your resume for every application—no exceptions.

Because the job search process is so automated, you have to find a way to get the ATS to score your resume higher than other resumes coming in. One way to do this is by customizing your resume by including various keywords from the job description throughout. Please know I am not telling you to copy the job description and put that in your resume. If you did, and your resume made it past the ATS and into the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager, it would be automatically pushed aside. I am saying that you should ensure you align your skills and experience with what the company is looking for by utilizing the appropriate keywords. For example, suppose Mary is in sales and is applying for a position with ABC company. If ABC company has “account management, consumer engagement, pipeline development” within their job description, Mary should use those terms to describe her work history as well.

3. Network both online and in person.

Because the job market is so incredibly competitive, many companies bypass their standard search altogether by finding the perfect candidate directly (via LinkedIn or employee referral). This is why it is essential for you to network both in-person and online. Sending a simple message to recruiters asking if they will connect, attending conferences, or publicly speaking about your job search journey with family and friends can help propel your candidacy forward.

4. Be prepared for any type of interview—whether over the phone, virtual, or in person.

Research the company extensively, be clear on your goals and accomplishments, and be ready to answer tough questions. Companies are desperate to find and retain talent; however, because of the Great Resignation, they want to make sure they spend their time and money investing in someone who isn’t going to jump ship.

Get clear on your goals, customize your resume, network, and prepare. Simple changes can put you ahead of the competition and net you some big results. Go get 'em!