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The Best Job-Hunting Tips of 2016 from the Experts

By CareerCast.com

Job hunting in 2016? Good news: Early indicators suggest after robust job growth in 2015, the outlook for this year may well be even stronger.

Tony Lee, managing editor of the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) says, “Recruiting difficulty rose in January 2016,” according to SHRM’s Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE). That means fewer seekers applying for the jobs hirers need to fill.

The February 2016 LINE reports that recruiting difficulty rose to 3.9 index points, and Lee says he anticipates that trend to continue throughout the year.

That jibes with national employment data. Unemployment as of January 2016 hit an 8-year low of 4.9%, translating to a job seeker’s market.

Even with a low unemployment rate, applicants will always face some kind of job market competition, particularly for the most desirable positions. To help you get a leg up, CareerCast.com spoke with job-market experts in different capacities for the most up-to-date job hunting advice and guidance for 2016.

From an employer perspective, Blue Fountain Media hiring manager Tom Duffy provides his insight.

Demonstrable skills necessary for a position are requisite to any job interview, Duffy says of hiring practices for the New York-based multimedia marketing organization, which has worked with such clientele as the National Football League, Harper-Collins Publishing and AT&T. Ensuring you have the ability to do a job, and having examples to reinforce your experience are musts, no matter your industry.

Displaying your skills can even help you get an offer, as Duffy explains doing good work for a competitor can net feelers when a position comes available.

Many of the best job-hunting tips hirers espouse are universal, and career coach Rachel Ritlop works with clients to perfect those skills.

Ritlop offers a unique perspective in that after college, she pursued a Master’s degree and then landed what she believed was “a dream job.”

Reality and fantasy proved much different, and after what she described as a “quarter-life crisis,” Ritlop discovered and affinity and aptitude for guiding others in their career goals.

Just because a job-hunting practice is universal, Ritlop says it’s important to put your own personal touch on all that you do.

“Employers want to know how you’re unique,” she says.

The following are five cornerstones of a successful job search, regardless of your industry and directly from the experts.

 

Leave Your Comfort Zone

A willingness to take risks and do what feels uncomfortable is essential in the job market.

One of the first things Ritlop asks job seekers to do is to write a list of employment fears. She stresses doing so with pen and paper, because the physical action tends to create a psychological connection absent with simply jotting it into your smartphone’s notes app or on the computer.

“Look at those fears and ask, ‘what history or evidence do I have that reinforces this fear? When have I overcome this fear at one time or another?’” Fears are different than weaknesses, that most ubiquitous of job-interview topics. Fears in this sense refer more to self-doubt or hesitance to take charge because of possible criticism.

She says that in working with millennials particularly, Ritlop sees the hesitation that comes with fear. “There’s a fear of what their parents will think, especially if they’re thinking of starting their own business,” she says. “Parents don’t know their own power.”

Millennials are also dealing with the still-lingering impact of a recession that coincided with the entry of many into the workforce. U.S. Census statistics estimate roughly 40 percent of the nation’s unemployed are from the millennial generation. The Pew Research Center reports modest, albeit steady growth in employment for workers ages 18-to-34. Wages have risen commensurately, reaching an 8-year average high of $592 per week in 2015.

Share of Young Adults With Jobs Has Begun to Recover; For Young Adult Workers, Weekly Earnings Have Increased Modestly Since 2012

The improving outlook forecasted by SHRM’s LINE report means 2016 is an ideal time to move out of the comfort zone and get aggressive in your job hunt – and becoming more aggressive requires leaving conventional channels.


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