U.S. job candidates tend to go deep into Margaritaville during the summer. The kids are out of school, and it’s time for BBQ parties, road trips, vacations and afternoons by the pool. It feels like the perfect time to take that foot off the gas pedal and relax. But is it? Per the job openings […]
U.S. job candidates tend to go deep into Margaritaville during the summer. The kids are out of school, and it’s time for BBQ parties, road trips, vacations and afternoons by the pool. It feels like the perfect time to take that foot off the gas pedal and relax. But is it?
Per the job openings data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics databases, open job requisitions have stayed at consistent rates throughout the year over the last decade. You can easily see that the rate of job openings is consistent month to month, and at the big-picture level, there isn’t a “hiring season” in the United States.
When the news cycle is choked with words like “inflation” and “layoffs,” it’s easy to assume the job market is a big, chaotic, malfunctioning mess.
But when you look at the actual numbers, that narrative definitely shifts, because as much as there’s plenty of dispiriting news in 2023, the employment landscape isn’t as dystopian as you may think.
In January, 10,586,000 jobs opened.
In February, 9,617,000 jobs opened.
In March, 9,592,000 jobs opened.
April saw 10,856,000 job openings.
For those who geek out on job trends less than I do, these are massive numbers compared to anything before 2020.
What does this tell us? Quite simply, it tells us that our employment economy is strong. All of this means that if you need a job—or hope for a better one—it might be a big mistake to sit this summer out.
Who should be looking for a job this summer?
On a daily basis, I find myself talking with people who are fed up with corporate shenanigans. People are questioning more than their salaries; they’re questioning their purpose. They’re questioning the amount of emotional labor their career demands. They’re fed up with workplace toxicity and hierarchies. They want to do something utterly cool that makes them feel like they are making a material difference in the world.
If that’s you, now is a good time for a rethink.
Tens of thousands of tech professionals have been unceremoniously laid off this year. And yes, there’s self-righteous anger in the air in that sector, and not for no reason! These people know their worth in the marketplace (even if their C-levels don’t). Many of them are sick of being treated like a devalued commodity and are aggressively looking at other areas where they can apply their insane talents in programming, data science, marketing and engineering.
If that’s you, now is a good time for a rethink.
And if you’ve been sitting back since the pandemic because “sitting back” is now what you’re used to? Get up. Your competition is lounging poolside with a mai tai pitcher. Hit the pavement, and hit it hard. There are great jobs out there for you, and you can take advantage of your colleagues’ case of what I call Summer Syndrome.
How do people actually get hired these days? Everything seems different.
Yeah, you’re going to want some new glasses when you look at the hiring world.
Getting hired today isn’t the same as it was even five years ago. Things have changed, and you’ve got to get organized so that you aren’t gasping like a fish out of water. So you’ve got a résumé and a LinkedIn profile? Great. But that is not going to get you anywhere right now. We’ve got a broken ATS-driven system, and people are spending hundreds of hours applying to jobs and getting no results. If you ever had the creeping suspicion that your applications are going into a wormhole and never even being considered by a human decision-maker, you’re not imagining it. In many cases, something like that is indeed what is happening.
The world has changed, and if it has been even a few short years since you last looked, you’ll quickly see that you need to look in a different way. A career coach can definitely help, and if you can work with one, it’s a smart idea. But assuming you’re doing this without the assistance of a career coach, you can still be a savvy job applicant on your own.
First, make it fun.
It might sound frivolous, but it's my biggest piece of advice. Looking for a job is a major drag. If you can channel your inner Mary Poppins and find the game in this process, it can truly save your sanity.
How do you make it fun? Everyone’s unique, but here are some things I do with my clients.
I hold them accountable to get stuff done and praise them when they get it done. It actually feels good to tick off tasks on a list and reinforces your subconscious sense of yourself as competent and capable.
Make a Sweet Rewards list.
For certain job search milestones, give yourself a treat. I prescribe small-, medium- and large-sized rewards for various wins: things that are within your budget and make you feel good. Maybe it’s a 30-minute walk for each completed application, a massage for an interview that went well or something big you can look forward to splurging on with a hiring bonus. Maybe it’s an oatmeal cookie! However you define treats, make a list of them and actually reward yourself for your efforts.
See the activity as equivalent to accomplishment.
Yes, you want a job offer with an all-you-can-eat salary and great perks. But to bag that job there are a ton of little tedious items you need to deal with. Seeing the value of your effort rather than relentlessly focusing on attainment can keep you from losing it. Celebrate the wins even if they are things like “found three positions to apply for” or “sent my college roommate a note asking if she’d help me get a résumé in front of her boss.” The job search is one of those places where “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Steps add up.
Article written by: Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family.
Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.