When job searching in the United States, professionals have always known the cards to be in their favor—until 2020. When the world slowed down, so did the job market.
Fifteen percent of all jobs in the US economy disappeared in an instant, leaving job searchers in limbo. Now that half of those positions are back, economists predict that it will take another 2.5 years to fully recover.
So where does that leave professionals who are ready to get back in the game?
What to Expect from the Job Market in 2021
It’s a digital world for job seekers.
At this point, applying for jobs in person is out. American employers are pushing for job seekers to apply directly on their website, or through platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, or Monster. They are open to employees working remotely for the time being, which means that out-of-state employees have the chance to be considered for more positions overall.
Video job interviews will be routine.
What if you never met your employer during the interview, much less the entire duration of your time working there? Virtual platforms like Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams have made remote working entirely possible. Seeing that virtual interviews have proven to be more cost and time-efficient for employers, recruiting experts expect the first and second round of interviews to stay virtual.
Pro tip: Make direct eye contact by looking at your computer’s camera instead of the screen.
Your online presence matters more than ever.
Since in-person networking has come to a screeching halt, job seekers are relying on virtual tools to make themselves stand out. Joining professional groups on platforms like LinkedIn, Invitly, or even virtual job fairs can help you level the playing field. Think about previous connections who could be a relevant asset in your job search. Beyond LinkedIn, be sure to polish your other social media profiles as 94% of recruiters screen profiles before hiring.
Add more relevant skills to your roster.
One perk of pandemic working is that there’s more downtime. Consider the skills or certifications that you hadn’t had the time to nurture, and make these a priority. In the chance that your industry may have been affected by COVID-19, having skills to support you in a title outside of your previous industry could work to your advantage.
Be more competitive in your career pursuits.
The number of job seekers is on the rise due to the loss of jobs. Executives who worked for the same company their whole career might not be the case now. Before chatting with a recruiter, think about creative ways to sell your experience, skills, and value-add to the company. Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes to better understand the needs of the company and how you can solve their present challenges.
Companies are redefining what remote working means to them.
When it comes to remote working, what works for one company or industry may not work for another. Some companies may prefer local candidates, while others encourage candidates from anywhere. Factors like different time zones and semi on-site working could change the reality of the day-to-day.
Pro tip: Check to see if an employer has any press releases published about their working remote status to stay up-to-date.
While the future of the job search is still in flux, there are emerging trends (as listed above) that we can plan on sticking around. Video job interviews, remote working, and maintaining an online presence are just a few of them. At this turn in your career, get ready to embrace change as it will be the constant for paving the path forward.