How good is the job market?

How good is the job market?

I am asked this question at least 5 times each week. And to me the answer is simple. There are probably 2 million less jobs than there were 5 years ago. But you only need 1 so the odds are good. What has changed is the way you play the game.

It used to be that you could just post your resume on the job boards and wait for the phone to ring. That won’t work like it used to. The job boards have an overall effectiveness rate of less than 3% – that is you less than 3 chances out of 100 to get a job that way. And you are competing with over 1,000 other candidates for the same job. Consider too that before jobs are advertised, they are typically posted internally to allow employees to refer a friend. So by the time you see it, they may be interviewing people that have come to them through trusted personnel.

So how do you get to that job you want? In today’s market you must be aggessive.

Networking is still the best way to get a job with an effectiveness rate up to 64%. Hiring managers love people who are recommended to them since it lowers the risk of the person not working out on the job. Aggressive networking is the key here. For everyone you call in your inner network, you should try to get 2-3 names of additional people you can call. Go to trade shows, join associations and attend their meetings. Make sure you know your “elevator pitch” – the 30-second statement about yourself that you would make to Bill Gates if you were with him on an elevator.

Headhunters are a favorite for many people and this route has an effectiveness rate of 3-28% depending on the level of position you are seeking. The higher up in the organization you are, the better the chances that a company will be willing to pay a fee to find you. The average headhunter fee is 20% which translates to a $10,000 fee for every $50,000 of salary. So if you are a staff professional, you might wonder if a company is willing to pay $10,000 to get you, especially if they can get hundreds of resumes through a simple ad. Some resume writing professionals can e-mail your resume to a quality list of headhunters that fit your criteria for as little as $97, and this could be well worth it.

Finally, consider the direct contact method. This is where you conduct a direct mail campaign to targeted hiring managers in companies you have identified. A properly prepared campaign can find the unadvertised jobs and has an effectiveness rate as high as 50% depending on exactly how you do it. For example, sending an unsolicited resume and cover letter has a 2-8% effectiveness rate while better developed programs provide an effectiveness rate over 40%. First, you need to make sure your resume is great. These programs are probably best handled in collaboration with a professional firm that has the database and the expertise to put the right letters and resume together for you. Note that these programs do not have to cost the thousands charged by some of the firms out there. Do your shopping carefully and you can find a cost effective program that has the highest rate of success.

Even though today’s job market is tight, companies are hiring. Follow the steps outlined to develop an aggressive and focused job search, and you can be in your dream job.