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Ask HR: How to make the most of the current job market

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If you look at the numbers, the past few months have been a great time to search for a new job.

In the U.S., the number of available jobs in 2021 topped 10 million, which is a record high, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite so many open opportunities, 6.3 million Americans were still unemployed as of December 2021.

To help you understand how to navigate this unique, rapidly changing job market, Rob Mundell, senior vice president of Talent Solutions at Charles Schwab, shared his advice for people navigating the job market at every stage of their careers.

Scale up your networking

There is no doubt this is an unprecedented time to start a career. Today’s remote work environment has flipped hiring norms on its head—making it easier for candidates to land their dream job with fewer applicants applying to open roles. Those looking for a new role should be engaging with their network regularly to help uncover positions that could be their dream role.

Think about it, remote work has made it far easier to schedule a 30-minute video call than it is to meet for coffee, and networkers are likely to find more luck today convincing people to take the time to chat in a virtual setting. Reach out and ask for informational interviews. Virtual career events, which are available through schools or professional organizations, have become increasingly common.

Never stop networking, even after you land a job.

Rejoining workforce after break

Over the past two years, job loss has been an unfortunate reality for many Americans—25% of adults said they or someone in their household had lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

A critical skill many individuals in the job market have had to display is the ability to practice perseverance. The good news is that experiencing an employment gap is less of a deal-breaker than job seekers may think, and most companies are sympathetic to the challenges job seekers have faced.

In this environment, storytelling is critical. For example, if you had to take time off work to care for family members or prioritize yourself, these are relevant attributes for an employer to consider. Now more than ever, companies are looking for resiliency, work ethic and passion, so don’t undersell your story.

Consider a change internally

Pandemic epiphanies, as they have been called, have resulted in many people pursuing career paths that align with personal passions and interests.

But being part of The Great Reset does not always require leaving your current employer — in fact, as employers work to retain talent, more are willing to accommodate internal career moves.

When making a job switch internally, it is important to advocate for yourself, be vocal about what type of work motivates you and express where you see yourself contributing within the company. Regardless of what position you’re interested in, leverage your experience. Don’t underestimate the unique perspective you bring from your knowledge and time within the company.

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