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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