Looking for work in 2019? Things may be different than the last time you searched.

Last month we released our definitive guide to the science of the job search, which offered a comprehensive analysis about the job search landscape in 2018. With a wealth of information and data to help you put your best foot forward in terms of your job search, we also recognize that no two years (or job searches) are alike which brings us to…

Surprise! This year is different

There are tons of variables when searching for a new job — individual requirements, experience level, age, application processes, the list goes on. What may have been a straightforward process in the past is now full of nuances and surprises. What’s more is the increasing feeling that searching for a job is a part-time job in and of itself. While we like to think our research gives us a good idea of what to expect, we wanted to talk to the people who are going through the process right now to find out, more specifically, what’s different this time around. What makes 2019 different?

This time last year I was overconfident and a bit egotistical about my job search. I took a semi-passive approach – assuming they would contact me. However after a few months I realized my resume needed work, my cover letter (if I even had one) needed updating, and I needed to keep my resume updated as often as I update my Facebook status…

— Patrick D., Sales Manager

To put it simply: Even if you’ve done this before, don’t expect the search to be the same.

More jobs are available

Despite some challenges in the market, the fact is there’s a pretty significant increase in jobs available now than in previous years — over 200% in certain industries. The folks we surveyed reported wide-ranging observations of the increase of job availability specific to their situation — with job seekers increasing their experience and different fields growing, there are an influx of jobs available; there are even more options for both employees and employers, making for a difficult decision making process.

Survey says…

We talked to folks in all different stages of their careers, from recent college graduates to seasoned professionals. It’s only a few weeks into the New Year, but some common themes emerged. To start, 60% of people starting the job search in 2019 are still employed. We know from experience that people who showed they were currently employed (even if creatively) saw a +149% hireability boost.

More does not necessarily equate to an easier search —

“There are more jobs available, but the market is more competitive in the new city I’ve relocated to.”

— Travis S., Content Creator

60% also expect their current search to take longer than previous search. Why do people expect this search to take longer than previous ones? Well, for starters, 23% of that 60% have already been at it for a long time. In some cases, responders reported having been in full-fledged job search mode for 7-8 months. One user even stated they have been at it since November 2017.

We know people are looking, but what exactly do they want?

A whopping 70% are looking because they want a higher salary.

“In the last 10 years, total compensation for 90th percentile income earners went up by 26% compared to a 21% increase for 10th percentile income earners — but the real gap was in benefits, where the value of benefits for 90th percentile earners went up 37% compared to a mere 15% increase for 10th percentile earners.”

— The 2019 Job Search Landscape

It’s not surprising a higher salary is at the forefront of many job searches. As experience is gained, worth increases. Not to mention the cost of living is skyrocketing across the United States. The statistic above may not sound promising, but there are some things we can recommend.

What should job seekers expect?

The general blueprint of a job search is more or less predictable — from polishing your resumé and crafting the perfect cover letter, to filling out as many applications as you can (which we aim to streamline to save you time for the other surprises), to preparing for an interview and waiting, for what seems like an eternity, for a callback…

That doesn’t mean the 2019 search will be the same as years prior, though. over 90 % of our survey respondents said the job search feels inexplicably different this time around. But why?

Search criteria has changed

Gone are the days of staying in the same career from graduation to retirement. The minimum amount of time necessary to “build” one’s resume at a particular job are decreasing. Interests, requirements, and general life circumstances all contribute to the changing climate of the search.

“I will finish my Bachelor’s in a few months and am looking for a career in my chosen field rather than part-time work I have looked for in the past.”

— PJ D., Software Engineer

Entry-level jobs require more experience

How in the world are you supposed to build your resumé if your first career in the job force requires 3+ years of experience? We tackled this subject last Spring, but the experience paradox is still weighing on people’s minds. “[It seems] more and more entry-level positions are requiring professional experience in my field.” One TalentWorks user indicated the perils of not being able to start their search in a new career field because they were not qualified to even begin the application process until they completed the necessary certifications.

What can you do about this?

  • Apply for Jobs Within ±2 Years of Your Experience — You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. From what we see, if you’re within ±2 years of required experience, hiring managers will often consider you “close enough.”
  • Use Freelance Jobs To Build Your Experience —Not only will you get paid, you’ll also have far higher chances getting your second job (everyone else’s first job).

Full details: 61% of “Entry-Level” Jobs Require 3+ Years of Experience

The application process is different, and so are employer expectations

Respondents reported companies wanting more for less (in addition to experience), such as more skills for less pay. That’s clearly not ideal — you deserve what you’re worth! Moreover, the application process can feel like one giant black-hole. Everything is automated and there’s no opportunity for personal touch, which can feel pretty discouraging.

With an influx of recruiters, the same positions are being submitted over and over again. The result? Companies are overwhelmed with the same applicants being submitted by different recruiters and agencies.

Want to cheat the system? Our AI-driven system saves you time, energy, and ensures you’re getting out a record number of applications. We even optimize the time and day of your application so it doesn’t fall into the blackhole.

Changing expectations

We know, it’s easier said than done. While we have a wealth of data available about the specifics of the job search, there’s a very human element that cannot be distilled in a set of numbers.

As people move through their career, pursue further education, explore the world of entrepreneurship, and experience the unpredictability of life in general, expectations for a new job can change, and may need to change due to life circumstances.

“For better or for worse, I’m focused on a few narrow, but related fields, rather than general fields.”

— Tracy B., Operations Leader

“I don’t know where I fit. I have loads of specialist skills. I’ve had similar jobs to what I’m looking for, but interviews demand much more and things change so quickly in my field…” 

— Amanda L., Digital Content

Expectations from employers are moving targets that can take anyone by surprise, but don’t let the fluidity knock you out of your element. Be humble; remain confident.

Take the surprise in stride

Even when you think you might know, you might not really know…surprises in the job search don’t have to mean completely recalibrating everything you once felt comfortable with in the search. It does mean, though, utilizing different tools to help you be successful, and staying positive — no matter what variables are present in the current job search climate.

Not prepared to go at it alone? We’ve got your back. Let us take care of the most consuming parts of the job search for you.

Outside sources:

The 2019 Job Search Landscape

The beginning of the year is a great time to step up your job search game, but searching for a job now takes more time than ever. On average, job-seekers now spend 3 hours and 16 minutes searching for jobs each day —  44% longer than during the 2008 recession.

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Searching for a job is now a part-time job in and of itself. Over the last decade, there’s been a huge increase in the amount of online resources for the job search, so any job seeker looking to conduct a comprehensive search needs to dedicate some serious time. People are getting choosier about their jobs too, so there’s extra time involved to ensure you’re finding the right job. And employers are inundated with applications so you have to apply to more jobs than ever to make sure you’re one of the lucky few who land an interview.

Don’t have that kind of time? We can help.

Not only that, but we crunched the numbers from a variety of sources and found that:

  • Job satisfaction is down — on average, people stay at jobs for 1 year now rather than 2 years.
  • If you’re at the top of your field, employers are willing to do more than ever to try to keep you happy.
  • There are some easy things you can do to give yourself an edge.

Job satisfaction is down

Not happy at your current job? You’re not alone. 71% of currently employed people in the US are thinking about looking for a new job or actively looking already. And we’ve found in data from our users that people are leaving jobs sooner, likely an indication of lower job satisfaction.

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The average job tenure has gone down from 2 years to just 1 year. No longer do you have to feel guilty about cutting and running 12 months in — this is the norm now, and companies aren’t likely to hold it against you.

Employers are trying harder than ever to keep top talent

The class divide continues to grow. Compensation is up, but improvements on this front have disproportionately impacted the top income-earners.

compensation

In the last 10 years, total compensation for 90th percentile income earners went up by 26% compared to a 21% increase for 10th percentile income earners — but the real gap was in benefits, where the value of benefits for 90th percentile earners went up 37% compared to a mere 15% increase for 10th percentile earners.

Employers are trying their best to attract and retain the best talent, and that doesn’t just mean paying them more, it also means providing them with great benefits.

How can you make sure you get as much as possible from your next job?

You can give yourself an edge

Want to get yourself out of your current ho-hum job into your dream job? Based on our analysis throughout 2018, here are some key things you can do to maximize your chances of getting an interview.

Looking for more ways to give yourself an edge? Check out our definitive guide, summarizing all the analysis we did in 2018 (35 data-backed tips!) on how to improve your chances at getting an interview.

Methodology

In-house Analysis

To determine the change in average job duration, we randomly sampled 55,587 employments across 15,041 users from TalentWorks. Then we grouped those by the month each job ended and computed the 10th, 50th, and 90th percentile job durations for each month. All analysis and graphing was done using python with pandas, sklearn, scipy, and bokeh.

Outside Sources

Why Are We Doing This?

With ApplicationAssistant right now, we can boost the average job-seeker’s hireability by ~5.8x. But, what makes ApplicationAssistant work has been an internal company secret until now. We’re fundamentally a mission-driven company and we believe we can help more people by sharing our learnings. So, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

Creative Commons

We’re not only sharing this but also sharing all of it under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. In other words, as long as you follow a few license terms, this means you can:

  • Share: Copy, redistribute the material in any medium or format.
  • Adapt: Remix, transform, and build upon the material.

10 Reasons Why It’s Hard to Get a Job Today

It’s not just you. Despite the unemployment rate being at a 49 year low, a good job is hard to come by even if you’re 100% qualified. Elements such as bad interviewers, not having ‘the right’ college degree, and stagnant wages are just some ways you’re not finding the job you deserve. Why?

The hiring system is broken:

#1: Priorities and perceived needs have shifted

Many companies do not prioritize their recruiting resources and in turn sacrifice both talent and job impact. An example of this is ‘experience inflation’ or ‘degree inflation’, whereby jobs that in the past did not require a certain requirement (such as a Bachelor of Arts degree) are now standard. An “entry-level” job requires years of experience (approximately 3 years!) and creates a credential gap that disadvantages middle-class workers.

Not only does this hurt jobseekers, but it costs employers money creating an unsustainable cycle.

#2: Increased Outsourcing + Remote Work

Today, you’re not only competing with local jobseekers, but jobseekers from all over the country (and possible world). Due to the low unemployment rates and talent shortage, employers are establishing more flexible work models which includes freelancers and contract work. The use of contractors has increased 24% since 2017, and more than half of hiring managers use the remote work model (59%).

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#3: Being ‘black-holed’ is commonplace

Our team coined the term ‘black-holed’ to mean resumes falling into the great abyss post-submission. You could have the perfect resume and be 100% qualified and this will enviably happen to you. “Ghosting” candidates (or lack of communication and transparency) contributes to the broken hiring system. As a result, it’s even becoming a trend where job candidates are ghosting hiring managers and new employers!

#4: Robots (aka the ‘ATS’)

The ‘ATS’ or applicant tracking systems are key word parsers that score resumes based on particular words being used; most often it will be the exact phrasing being used in job descriptions. If your resume is not machine parsable it will most likely not make it through to the actual human hiring manager. Both large and small companies use an ATS to widdle down large candidate pools. Be mindful of word choice and keywords and keep your resume short. The cover letter is where you have an opportunity to differentiate yourself and let your personality shine through.

#5: Heightened Competition

The normalization of higher education is creating a flatter, more even playing field. The power of education cannot be underestimated and should be upheld and fostered, but does pose a challenge in terms of competition where the college degree represents the new high school diploma. More qualified, educated people means more competition for jobs across industry.

#6: Time is against you

There will never be more than 10-15 interview slots for a job opening, no matter how many people applied. Any given manager’s calendar will usually be filled for days at a time with interviews during a hiring period. As an example, our CEO/founder Kushal shared his personal calendar when trying to hire for particular position. As you can see, it’s crazy:

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He said that to interview just 3% of the applicant pool, he basically did nothing but interviews for all of Friday (the blurred names are interviews). There were another ~2 days like this after having made a shortlist (3% of the total pool of hundreds).

#7: “The Perfect Candidate”

Many employers drag their feet in search of the ‘perfect hire’. It’s due to lack of recruiting priorities and not setting internal/external schedules for positions. For the candidate, that might mean waiting an unnecessarily extended period of time to hear a hiring update of any kind.

#8: Terrible Candidate Screening

There’s nothing worse than actually making it to an interview and the person sitting across conducting it asks half-hearted, unrelated, or uninformed questions:

  • What is your biggest weakness? 
  • Tell me what you think about the individuals you just met with?
  • How would you calculate the production and sales of all the white paint in the US?

Such lazy, oddball questions predict very little and may even create a sense of resentment from the get-go.

#9: Hiring Manager Biases

Employers are people too, and, of course, people are inherently (subconsciously) biased. This shows up more prominently in work environments with unstructured hiring processes and those that fail to set diversity standards.

Our data suggests that there are data-driven ways to force objectivity such as quantifying experience and avoiding collaboration-oriented words.

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#10:  Resume Blemishes

If you were previously fired, laid off or left a job before 18 months you have what is called a resume blemish and it hurts your hireability. How much does it hurt? Controlling for experience, people who were fired, laid off or quit in the first 15 months of a job were 43% less hireable when applying to new jobs.

Whereas everyone else saw a 13.4% interview callback rate, the callback rate was only 7.6% for these folks. Averaging across industries and cities, getting fired meant roughly same as wiping out ~5 years of experience for them.

Conclusion

It’s hard to have a favorable hiring experience in general when the system is broken. From submitting great resumes that fall into a black-hole to decisions being made weeks from whence you expected, it’s discouraging. Understand that you are not alone in feeling discouraged. Check out our ‘Science of the Job Search‘ blog series authored by TalentWorks Founder/CEO Kushal Chakrabarti for data-driven tips and tricks to navigating your next job.

Let us help you navigate! For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).

Stagnant Wages and How to Negotiate from the Start

Picture this: You just received a job offer after months of searching. It’s now time to discuss salary. The initial offer is tempting, in fact, it’s 10% higher than what the recruiter offered during the preliminary screening. You take it. Months later your landlord hikes your rent. What was to be meaningful financial progress did not get you ahead at all.

That’s the reality many workers are facing. A recent Pew Research Study suggests that today’s wages have the same purchasing power as they did in 1974, especially for lower wage workers. Despite low unemployment and higher paychecks (adjusted for inflation) we’re just not financially progressing.

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It certainly seems bleak but you have control regarding your income. What can you do as a jobseeker to ensure your personal financial progression? 

“That’s a good place to start”

If you’re being lowballed in a salary negotiation, don’t be afraid to literally say “That’s a good place to start”. Hiring managers have wiggle-room and expect to use it if you plead your case. This initial offer does not anchor you to a set amount, so understand what the responsibilities are worth and where you need to be financially to re-anchor, so-to-speak.

Understand your buying power.

What do you need financially and what can you do about it? Firstly, understand your regional labor market. Wages vary depending on where you live; do your research before you go into negotiation. It stands that you should be making a reasonable salary per your city. An administrative assistant in the Bay Area should make more than one working in Cincinnati.

At Talent Works we’ve found that going back to school or earning additional accreditations actually improves your professional acumen by +21.9%. If going back to school isn’t possible, check-out what skills/online courses you can take to give you the edge over competition.

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Negotiation makes a difference. Need help? We’re the Jiminy Cricket to your job search.

For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).

Will Robots Take Your Job? Sort of.

At TalentWorks there’s no secret that we’re big fans of AI and automation, in fact, “automating your search” is at the core of what we do. We promise advanced resume optimization that is guaranteed to improve your chances as a jobseeker and increase your hireability by 5.8x.

With automation comes an inevitable disruption of the workforce, and that’s understandably scary. The McKinsey Global institute’s new research suggests that by the year 2030 approx. 15% of the global workforce could be displaced…BUT, the jobs created from this shift will make up for those lost. In the past, large-scale sector employment declines have been countered by the expansion of other sectors that have absorbed workers. (This chart shows the total employment by sector in the US 1850-2015, courtesy of McKinsey Global institute).

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So in a time of automation, how is the workforce transitioning in the near future and should we be afraid?

Robot + Human

Jobs susceptible to automation include processors and assemblers and are anticipated to drop by 25,000 (word processors) and 45,200 respectively by 2026.

The thing is, the same factory that eliminates human jobs still requires a convergence of both robot and human intelligence. Sure a robot can assemble faster than any human could, but the domain of expertise lies within the human worker who has valuable knowledge and has been on the assembly floor for 10+ years.

Automation in your workplace

The same McKinsey Global institute study found that even a CEO’s job can be automated (25% of it to be exact). An implementation of AI means the time they spent analyzing reports can be better used to manage people.

So how will embracing workplace automation in the near future help, you, the employee? 

  • The elimination or reduction in human error
  • Higher productivity
  • Convenience

Repetitive tasks that would otherwise take a toll on employee satisfaction would be completed much more efficiently freeing you up to focus on the more creative side of your job. Live chat widgets, grocery store self-checkouts, and marketing data platforms are just a few examples of automation that exists in the workplace today.

Working with automation and AI harmoniously means setting yourself up for success. In a world where workforce dynamics are ever evolving, being adaptable is key.

For $10/month we can automatically find the best jobs and pre-fill job applications for you based on your desired role, location and years of experience. In addition, you’ll get our Interview Guarantee — if we can’t get you an interview within 60 days, we’ll refund everything back to you, guaranteed. (90% of job-seekers using TalentWorks get an interview in 60 days or less).