By Karen Burns
Special to Seattle Times Explore!, May 16, 2019
With U.S. unemployment at its lowest rate since 1969, it’s a job seeker’s market. You may well be dreaming of greener workplace pastures.
If so, keep in mind that now is an excellent time to aim high and consider going for jobs that might normally be a stretch for you. Don’t feel shy, for example, about applying for positions for which you only have around 70% to 80% of the education and experience that the hiring managers say they’re looking for. Employers are scrambling to find people. They may not be insisting on the kinds of educational degrees they did 10 years ago.
As to experience, show them, specifically, how you can meet their company’s needs and they just might overlook any holes in your résumé. Or perhaps they’ll offer to give you the additional training you need.
Don’t forget that fewer people competing for jobs also means you should feel free to ask for more money. Make those laws of supply and demand work in your favor for a change. Find out what the market rate is for the position you seek and resolve to get at least that rate. Switching to a new job has always been the quickest path to a fatter paycheck, and this is truer than ever.
Give yourself the luxury of shopping around. Consider only those opportunities that truly provide what you’re looking for in a job — in other words, don’t put yourself on the market just because you think you “should.” Think about your long-term goals. Go to your network to ask for advice and share information. Evaluate any new job in terms of growth potential in addition to location and compensation.
Finally, now might even be the moment to stage a complete career reinvention. If you’ve been thinking of switching to a new industry or to a new line of work entirely, well, there is no time like the present. Oh, and don’t overlook your current employers. They might be expanding and, since they already know and (presumably) love you, they may well agree to move you to a different position or department, where you can acquire new skills, certifications, and experience.
Unemployment this low means that you as a job seeker are in the driver’s seat. Make the most of it.
Karen Burns is the author of “The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use.”