Finding a Job in an Employers’ Market

by Marc Poirier, General Manager

What should you do if you are a good worker but are having trouble finding a job? At the end of 2015 in Central Illinois, many good employees have been laid off. With CAT and its suppliers on a down cycle and Mitsubishi closing down, manufacturing jobs are scarcer than they have been in a while. In the manufacturing sector, this means it is an Employers’ Market.

In an Employer’s Market, the number of active job seekers is proportionally higher than the number of job openings, as compared to a normal time. So if 5-10 people usually apply for a given job, in an Employer’s Market 20-30 people may be applying for the same job. As a job seeker, that means your odds of getting hired are lower than normal for a given job.

But fear not. Although the job market has become more competitive, businesses are still hiring and you can do several things to increase your chances.

Talk to Who You Know

 As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Knowing someone within a given company is often a competitive advantage, especially if the person you know is a valuable employee. Have you asked among your friends and acquaintances if anyone’s workplace is hiring? Have you posted on Facebook that you are looking for work? What about church or your hobby group? Everyone has a network. Once you start asking around, you may be surprised how quickly you get good leads.

Look for “Under the Radar” Companies

Some companies have a high profile, while others are “under the radar.” High profile companies market themselves well. You drive by them every day and they are probably the first places you applied to. But many companies’ offices are off the beaten path. You only know they exist because you had to search to find them. If it was not easy for you to find them, it was also not easy for other job applicants to find them. Applying with lower profile companies increases your odds of being hired because they have fewer applicants. Put the extra work in and see what you discover; you may find a diamond in the rough.

Pay Attention to Details in your Application

If the company has fewer than 30 employees, take out the line in your resume that says you would “like to work for a large multi-national company.” Likewise, if the job requires you to know QuickBooks, make sure that your application describes in detail your QuickBooks experience. Tailor your resume to each application. When a recruiter has a large number of applications, they will look for ways to pare down to the very best candidates. Give then no reason to dismiss your resume.

Write Back, Call Back, Go Back

Once you know that a recruiter is considering your application, follow up with them. This is especially important after an interview. Start with an email or hand-written thank you note. Then wait a day or two and call. Finally, stop by the recruiter’s office to either introduce yourself or express your continued interest in the position, depending on your current stage of hiring. Motivated workers stand out to recruiters and continued follow-up will express your interest in the position. Managers also like to know that you can communicate effectively and this type of follow-up demonstrates your communication ability.

Repeatedly applying for jobs and being turned down can be disheartening. Try not to take it personally. Stick with it and don’t give up. Keep putting in the effort and making smart job-seeking decisions.