Now that we are in February, the real work starts. The holidays are a pleasant and distant memory. The cold, hard reality kicks in that we’re all back in the office with a lot of work to catch up on and there are no vacations in sight. It’s a sobering, back-to-reality period of time. This can actually be good news for you, if you’d like to land a new job.
Why This Season Is A Perfect Time To Start Searching
There are solid and practical reasons as to why starting in February—and throughout the springtime—is a great time to actively engage in a job search.
Budgets and new headcounts have already been approved by companies. Bonus payments, which are a large portion of total compensation in many industries, such as Wall Street, are starting to be paid out. The conversations surrounding yearly reviews and raises have been held. Now, people act upon it. Those who receive their bonuses quickly cash them and are free agents and mobile. If you were passed over for a promotion or given a poor performance review, it means that you’ll likely seek new opportunities. This contributes to the start of the game of musical chairs, in which people seek out new positions that will create open seats that need to be filled.
What You Should Do Right Now
To jump start your search, refresh your résumé and LinkedIn profile. It’s appropriate to have several different versions of your résumé. You should customize and tailor it for specific jobs that you wish to apply for to ensure that you stand out. Similarly, tweak your Linkedin profile to highlight your work responsibilities to closely correlate with the jobs you desire.
Studies show that a significant percentage of jobs are found through networking. Make it your priority to tap into your colleagues, friends, college alumni, former co-workers and all other sources. This is not the time to be shy. Politely, but intently, ask the people in your network—which also includes friendly online social media contacts—for job leads and introductions.
With the swift rise in applicant tracking systems, artificial intelligence and other technology inserted into the application and interview process, there is much less human interaction than ever before. This hurts your chances of being chosen, as you’re dependent upon having the robots read your résumé and push it through. Find a contact and booster at the company where you made an application submission. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and ask them to please make sure that the résumé gets in front of the appropriate people hiring for the position you desire.
Be Forewarned—There Are Issues That You’ll Confront
Nothing in life or at work is perfect. There are things that you’ll experience in your job search that you should be aware of. A new trend of the “juniorization” of jobs is taking hold. Companies, in an effort to cut costs, pursue younger, less expensive personnel. Instead of hiring a senior-level person who would be appropriate for the role, the job will be downgraded. At a lower title, the corporation will then hire a more junior person and pay them far less than the position usually offers. To further save money, corporations have been aggressively moving jobs from costly cities, like New York, to less expensive locations (both within the United States and in other countries). Once again, a large percentage of these jobs are filled with more junior people at lower salaries—compared to what would have been offered to a senior-level person based in New York.
This feels like ageism with a twist. It’s not necessarily that the companies are purposely penalizing older workers. Executives understand senior people have more experience and require higher levels of compensation. Younger professionals, for the most part, could be paid less, as it’s viewed by management that they don’t possess the sufficient amount of years of experience to receive a larger pay package. This too seems somewhat discriminatory against younger people who possess the talent and abilities to be paid more.
The job market is not immune to the real world. It’s no secret that while the U.S. economy is strong and enjoying record-high levels of employment, there are dangers lurking everywhere that can derail the euphoria. The coronavirus continues to claim more casualties and more cases are being confirmed each and every day. The U.S. has narrowly avoided a war with Iran with the potential of other countries getting involved. There is constant political bickering, which has divided our nation and even pits friends and families against each other. The stock market can’t go up forever and experts say that we are long due for a market correction. These and other black swan events, which we are not aware of, can stop the rolling economy and cause companies to pump the brakes on hiring.
Timing Is Everything
For now, things look bright. The economy and stock market has withstood the shocks of possible war, the coronavirus, impeachment and other factors. Who really knows what will happen six months or a year from now? Having the right timing is the difference between success and failure. With the job market aligned in your favor, it’s a smart move to start searching now.