The latest labor market forecasts are confusing at best: amidst fears of a looming recession and layoffs at high-profile companies, the number of new hires and people who quit their jobs in June remained incredibly high, according to the latest JOLTS report.
Still, it's not a bad time to find your dream job. "Hiring has slowed a bit, but the good news is that it's still a job-seeker's market, and there are still a ton of opportunities out there," LinkedIn career expert Blair Heitmann tells CNBC Make It, adding that hiring has been especially strong in health care, media, construction and financial services industries as of late.
Even if the economy takes a turn for the worse, the typical recession lasts less than 18 months — so, ultimately, "there's a light at the end of a tunnel, and you'll be able to find a job … it might just take a little longer," career coach Emily Liou says.
Building your confidence in the job search and knowing exactly what hiring managers are looking for can help speed up the process of landing your dream job, regardless of the state of the economy.
Here are three tips from career experts to maximize your search:
With millions of open jobs on the market — and the Great Resignation showing no signs of slowing down — hiring managers are increasingly under pressure to fill roles "as quickly as possible," Evan Sohn, the CEO of Recruiter.com, says.
"You never want to be the last person to apply for a job because by then, chances are high that they're already close to giving another candidate an offer," he adds.
The best way to get ahead of the competition? Be first in line to apply for a job opening.
LinkedIn research has shown that you're four times more likely to hear back about a position if you apply within the first 10 minutes of the job being posted online.
In addition to setting up job alerts on LinkedIn that will remind you of new postings, Heitmann recommends checking a company's website and social media accounts on a frequent basis for openings.
Skills-based hiring has been on the rise for years. Between 2017 and 2019, employers reduced the degree requirements for 46% of middle-skill positions and 31% of high-skill positions, according to research from Harvard Business Review and Emsi Burning Glass, a labor market data firm — and even more companies are embracing this approach as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Sohn notes.
Instead, companies are adding more detailed soft-skills requirements in their job postings and testing hard skills through certifications, evaluations and other methods.
To stand out in the job search, you'll want to identify the top five skills that are most relevant for the job you want, based on job descriptions and conversations with people in similar roles, then evaluate if you're comfortable with those skills.
"Hiring managers, especially right now, want to accelerate the process and hire someone that will make their job easier," Heitmann says. "It's one of the first things they look for on your resume and application."
Once you've identified the top skills you need to succeed at your dream job and are comfortable performing them, Heitmann recommends putting them in a bolded skills section on your resume as well as your LinkedIn profile summary so hiring managers can easily spot them.
A reliable bellwether of who's hiring and who's not can often come down to one word: "recruiter."
Instead of looking for job titles you're interested in on LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster and other search platforms, type in "recruiter" or "human resource manager," Liou says.
"Nine times out of 10, a company that's hiring or going through a growth spurt is looking for recruiters, or extra support on their human resources team," she explains. "Recruiters are never hired to lay people off — they're there to do the opposite, which is to find talent."
Once you have a solid list of which organizations are hiring, then you can cross-reference the job postings on a company's website to see if there are open roles that excite you, she adds.
If you don't see your dream job yet, be patient, because as Sohn points out, there's a strong chance it will be posted soon. "More than 4 million people quit their jobs in June," he adds. "And I highly doubt that all of these newly open roles have made it to the job boards yet."