Lessons from the challenging job market (and how to benefit from them)

A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday said that weekly unemployment benefit applications decreased 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000–a four-year low. It’s no secret job seekers have had a tough go of it for the past few years.  But as recent news continues to bring good signs for the job market, many job seekers are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

The report is a promising sign for those looking for a new job, but it also presents an opportunity to reflect on the lessons many job seekers have learned from the challenging job market.

The Internet is an invaluable resource for finding, researching, and preparing to land a job.  Knowing how to make the most of the Internet during a job search gives today’s job seekers the edge they need to rise above the competition. Posting a resume online, searching job boards that collect job listings from across the web, and reading up on career skills such as interview techniques give job seekers an edge in an uncertain job market and beyond.

Skills and education are valued at a premium.  As trades and traditional job fields continue to experience challenges even as the economy improves, educating displaced workers to help them move into new roles has been a topic of interest for both employers and job seekers. Job seekers have learned that expanding their skill set through training and education can give them the edge they need to make a new start in a growing field like IT or healthcare.

Job seekers must know their strengths and how to sell them. The job market has consistently favored those who know how to sell their “personal brand”, whether through extensive networking, savvy resumes and cover letters, or greater persistence.  Sometimes, all it takes is the right contact at a company or a well-edited resume.  Job seekers are turning more to social networks to expand their professional connections, and relying on tools like the Who button to let them know who they may already have a relationship with at companies with job openings.

Job hunting can be a full-time job in itself. Staying organized, checking for new jobs often, and keeping in touch with companies you’ve been in contact with are all time consuming efforts, but they often prove to be well worth the time. Even devoting a little more of your time to your job search and making use of time-saving tools like email job alerts can make the process quicker and easier in the long run.

The good news on the job market may come as a welcome relief to many job seekers, but it also serves as a reminder that they must remain on their toes in order to be ready for the best opportunity possible.

For more job seeker how-to tips, be sure to visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/job

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Job.com Staff Celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with Company Potluck

It’s been a busy several weeks for the Job.com crew, but last Friday we took a break from all our hard work for a potluck lunch!  Participating employees brought in a dish of their choice to share with everyone.  Then, we gathered in the conference room to feast!

Some of the yummy dishes from our St. Patrick's Day potluck

The dishes ranged from pasta and fruit salad, to a variety of chili and meatball dishes.  We were even treated to “Navajo Tacos” and a sheet cake to celebrate one of our colleagues who is expecting a baby!

The quarterly potluck is one of Job.com staffers’ favorite company traditions. Tell us about some of your favorite company traditions—past and present—in the comments below.

As hiring picks up, so should your job search

The job market may still be a long way from where it was before the recession, but recent reports have optimism growing among experts and job seekers alike. U.S. employers are adding jobs at increased levels again last month according to the latest reports from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The economy is generating an average of 245,000 over the past three months, making it easier for those looking to actually land a job than it has been over the past few years.  Many employers are seeing more demand for their goods and services with the gradually strengthening economy—all signs that point towards more job creation needed to keep productivity humming along.

With each passing month bringing more encouraging job news, isn’t it time to reinvigorate your job search and start making good on that New Year’s resolution to improve your job situation? Here are some tips to get your job search back in shape:

Update your resume.  Sure, you did that back in January when you started your search.  But if your job search is slowing down, consider having a professional or a detailed friend take a second (or third) look for that extra “sizzle.”

Try integrating social—if you haven’t checked out how your social networks online can help you land a job, now is the time.  Features like the “who” button on Job.com allow you to see contacts on Facebook that may help you land a job, and help keep your resume out of the so-called “black hole.”

Check your search terms.  If you have been using the same terms and search agents to locate jobs for you, such as “customer service in Miami,” you could be missing out on opportunities that fall just outside of your standard search like “client care” or “membership representative”.  Try updating your search for expanded results.

Sign up to receive job alert emails.  Though it may be frustrating, a good job search takes a continuous effort.  One or two enthusiastic days of sending our resumes usually won’t do the trick—you have to make a commitment to dedicate time to your job search throughout the week.

More jobs are available and putting yourself out there by both applying to jobs and posting your resume, you can get back on top of your resolution and on the path to securing your dream job in no time.

If you’ve been waiting for signs of vitality to return to the job market, now is the time!

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