The market is recovering from 2008 recession and the rate of unemployment is 5.5 percent, the lowest since 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this context, recruiters are moving fast: according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) there were 872,000 job openings only in the Northeast Region, in December 2014. And this figure is actually bigger, if you think that 80% of jobs are never advertised.
And now what about Job Seekers? A survey conducted by Jobvite in 2014, conducted in the US, launched that 71% of the current US workforce is looking for new jobs. This includes 51% of the active (currently employed), recent graduates and unemployed. In total, is more than 60 million people looking for jobs (graph of active workforce).
These numbers are huge. For every position that is posted, there are an average of 118 applicants ( Forbes.com). So the fact is that there is a lot of offer out there, but at the same time a lot of competition. Recruiters use technology to make their task easier. Companies are using recruitment software to screening resumes, searching for keywords and filter them, eliminating more than 50%.
Competition is fierce. Job Seekers need not only to have an appropriate and well written resume and cover letter, but also: build a professional network, connect in social media, attend fairs, get certifications, have an elevator speech, prepare for interviews and so on. The difference between the one who land the job and other good candidates, will be subtle.
With all this, the level of anxiety and fear in job seekers, could easily arise. Speaking with many job hunters, I found that it takes more than 200 applications and at least 4 months for landing a job. Some of them, had to take 2 or 3 freelance jobs, to maintain themselves while searching for the big one. So we, the job hunters, need to take a breath and keep calm, spite all the fears and ghosts this hunting could arise. I think that the best way to overcome fears, is to identifying them in the first place and then make a plan to overcome them.
Based on my talking with job seekers, I list some of the common fears:
- I don’t have experience, and every job posting required experience. Job market has this paradox. Many of the Job posts require previous experience. Nevertheless there are a lot of opportunities to recent graduates. The worst thing to do is remain inactive and hopeless. If you want to gain experience, you can apply for internships, freelance jobs or offer your professional service within your network. Don’t be reluctant to accept projects that maybe you didn’t review in your school. Be confident in your skills.
- I don’t feel with the energy and motivation necessary to apply. It is very important to be motivated and confident to face the interviews and recruitment processes. In order to do that you need to understand what are your drivers and what are your bumpers. Set realistic goals and trace a plan to achieve them. Try to practice activities that relax you, so you can maintain your morale high. Be positive, if they called you for an interview but you didn’t pass to the next stage is something.
- I don’t know what to apply for, I like too many things or I don’t like anyone. Before your initiate your Job Hunt, be sure that your are targeting the jobs that you really want to get. Take time to find what are your passions, your talents, and what you can offer to the market. The combination of these three aspects will bring you the scope of jobs to target.
- My experience is too diverse and I have too many temporary jobs. Nobody will hire me with these records. The positive aspect of having many jobs is the diverse experience that it brings, but on the other side could reflect inconsistency or lack of commitment. Be sure to put this in a positive way, in terms of what you learned from it, and what are you doing now to change that aspect.
- I hate my actual job, and I fear that the next will be the same or worst. Maybe you hate your job, but this could not be a reason to give in an interview. The recruiter could see the applicant like troublesome or with difficulties to adjustment. Instead, try to put it on a positive way, ex. “you are looking for more challenges” or “you are want to acquire new skills in order to complement your career path”. Be prepared to give arguments that sustain your reasons. There is no guarantee that your next job will be as pleasant as you want, but researching with your colleagues through Linkedin or reading reviews in Glassdoor could help.
- They fired me in my last job, and I don’t know how to explain that without playing me against. If they ask you in an interview, don’t lie about it. Just be prepared that explain very well (but not too extensive) the situation. Try to focus in the reasons that why you didn’t fit in the position and what you learned from it. Explain how you will avoid this situations in these future.
- I am running out of savings and I don’t have a job. I fear that this anxiety will play against me. If you are in a tight budget and are you struggling for survive (rent, food, expenses, etc.), just have an alternative plan. That means have a temporary job or a job in anything that could bring you the tranquility and peace you need while you are in the job hunting.
- Everyone who has landed jobs is connected, and I don’t have any network here. Well, so you have to begin building one. Assist fairs, network events, and everything that could help you strength your professional network.
- I am shy, and always I failed in the interviews because of that. I don’t show the best of me. If you are shy, preparation is the key. Play mock interviews, with friends or colleagues. Be prepared for hard questions. And practice your answers, until you fell comfortable with them.
Feel overwhelmed? I think everyone does in some point when searching for jobs. The secret is to use the support of your friends, family, colleagues, and professionals. Remember that millions are in the same situation as you, so you are not alone.