By Angela Copeland
For years, the job market has been tight. I’ve spoken to many job seekers who are suffering through work each day. They aren’t sure what their alternatives are, and they’re not prepared to be unemployed for any length of time. If you can relate, there’s good news for you.
All signs indicate that the job market is looking up. Our national unemployment rate, hovering between 3.8 and 4.1 percent, has been lower this year than in any of the past ten years. The entire situation is forcing companies to fight a little harder for the best candidates.
If you’ve been unhappy in your current situation, this is the time to look at your options. For many industries, it’s a job seeker’s market. But, before you rush out and look for a new role, you should focus your energy on three specific areas of your job search.
First, polish up your resume. Once you start talking to friends about your interest in a new job, the first thing they’ll ask you for is the latest copy. Updating your resume first will ensure that you’re ready to go if you find job openings. If you get stuck, ask for help. A close friend or family member is often happy to help out. Be sure to include quantifiable results, and check closely for errors. These two steps are critical to creating an impactful resume.
Next, work on your talking points. This is often called an elevator pitch. When you begin talking to people in your professional network, you need to be able to explain your goals. Write down what you would say in response to, “Tell me about yourself.” Think through the reasons you’re looking, and what you’re looking for. Be clear and specific. Practice on a close friend. Record yourself. You should not have a conversation about your job search until you’re able to speak confidently about the type of opportunity you may be looking for.
Last, update your LinkedIn profile. Check everything from your profile photo, to your work experience, to your contact information. Take a close look at your LinkedIn URL. If it’s not customized, now’s the time to update it. And, be sure to check out the “jobs” tab where you can indicate to recruiters that you’re open to opportunities.
Once you have these three pieces prepared, it’s time to begin. If you have a tough time finding opportunities in your area, consider where you may have flexibility. For example, are you open to doing the same job in another industry? Or, are you open to doing a new job in the same industry? Or, are you willing to move to a new market, where there may be more jobs?
Whatever you decide, don’t wait. The time to act is now. If you’ve been unhappily punching the clock every day, the low unemployment rate is your signal to start your search.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.