If you have any doubt it’s a job seeker’s market out there, the latest data from the number crunchers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics will put that to rest for you. In November, 3.4 million people in the U.S. quit their jobs. That’s a lot of people packing up their cubicles. Job openings for the same month? More than twice that number: 6.9 million. That means for every person looking for a new job, there are two job openings. Those ratios vary by industry, of course, but on average, it’s safe to say that it’s a very good time to be a job seeker. Economists say it all adds up to people having the confidence to jump ship if they’re not happy in their current position, even if they don’t have another ship to board.
If you’re looking for a job right now, how do you make the most of this market? Here’s some advice from the pros at GetFive.
Flip your perspective. Think about your job search from the perspective of the recruiter or HR manager who is looking to fill the position. In a job seeker’s market, companies are competing for the best people for their open positions.
Go for the money. When companies are trying to lure top talent to fill their open positions in a job seeker’s market, they pull out all the stops and offer the best compensation package they can. Especially for millennials — it’s one of the top reasons to leave one job for another. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, people see an average of a 4 percent wage hike when they take a new job. Arm yourself with research into the local salary data for your industry and position, and when you get the question about what you’re looking for in terms of salary, ask for an amount that’s fair.
Think about the perks that matter to you. If you’re a strong job candidate and you’re satisfied with the compensation package that’s being offered to you, go a step beyond the dollars and think about what else would elevate your quality of life. Work-at-home options? More PTO? A Mac instead of a PC for your workplace computer? You’re in a position to negotiate, especially if you’re not asking for the moon. When you’re changing jobs, this is the time to think about your work/life balance and tip the scales in your favor.
Trade up. Sometimes, people have no choice but to make a lateral or even downward move when changing jobs. Depending on your industry, now is not that time. If you’ve got some solid experience behind you, reach higher. Go for the next rung. You’ll be advancing your career, gaining new skills, growing as a person and making more money. If a higher position isn’t available and you like the company, ask about career pathing options. Is there opportunity for growth? Does the company invest in the training and development of its people? Does it promote from within?
A job seeker’s market is a boon to people who are looking for a job, and to those who are unsatisfied at their current jobs. Make the most of it and you can increase the quality of your life in the workplace and outside of it.