If The Economy is So Strong, Why Can't I Find a Job?

John Krautzel
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Reports of a booming economy and low unemployment rates across the board can be frustrating to job seekers who can't seem to get their slice of that employment pie. As it turns out, however, a strong economy doesn't necessarily translate to better job prospects, especially in a time of changing hiring technology. Here are a few reasons you might be struggling in your job search as well as ideas for overcoming these hurdles.

Statistics Don't Tell the Whole Picture

Sweeping statistical claims about unemployment rates at all-time lows can be deceiving. Take the Seattle metro area, which saw an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent in 2015, according to the Seattle Times. While it is comparatively low, that percentage equates to roughly 64,000 unemployed people. Plus, the unemployment rate doesn't account for those who have stopped searching.

A Strong Economy Spurs Competition

Reports of a strong economy tends to boost confidence among job seekers, leading them to submit more applications. At the same time, unemployed professionals tend to flock to cities with reportedly strong job markets, further increasing competition. In an era of online job postings, job seekers also have to deal with people from other regions competing for the same jobs as them, an issue compounded by the fact that many professionals have begun applying to any opening that may be remotely related to their skill set. As a result, a single opening can receive thousands of applications, making it harder for qualified professionals to get noticed.

Technology and Automation

Increased automation has changed the game for hiring managers seeking talent in a strong economy, but not necessarily in a way that benefits job seekers. Many employers use automated systems that pre-filter applicants and choose potential candidates based on keywords that come up in their resumes. This process often means that professionals with a great work ethic and valuable soft skills simply don't have a chance to shine. On top of this, technical skills are becoming more and more valued, creating a tougher landscape for workers coming from other industries.

Tips for Overcoming Employment Barriers

While the realities that job seekers face even in a strong economy can be disheartening, there are a few ways to beat the odds. First, professionals should customize their resume for each position, adding keywords where relevant and appropriate. While this part of the job search can be time-consuming, it's a solid method for making it past automated filters. Job seekers can also boost their odds by doing what other professionals fear: attending real-life networking events. Building relationships increases your chances of getting a referral, which is much more powerful than a blind application.

Finding lasting employment can be a tough task, even in a strong economy. Luckily, by going the extra mile to make your application stand out, you can be well on your way to landing a job. What are some other ideas for getting noticed in an active job market?

Photo courtesy of Caffe Design at Flickr.com


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  • Hannah Messeng
    Hannah Messeng

    My work history is getting in the way. If I don't list them on my resume, the gaps are glaring. When I list the jobs, I rarely get called for interviews and when I do get a call, it usually gets inappropriate and uncomfortable. They focus on specific parts of my jobs, wanting details that have nothing to do with what I'm applying for.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Steven W thanks for your comment. You have just as much chance as anyone else - especially with 25 yrs of experience. Don't concentrate on age but on what you can offer to a company - why hiring you will make the company better, stronger. Companies are slowly starting to turn around, again - from saying that 40 is old! I just saw in the news that McDonald's is hiring 250,000 workers and it's not looking for teens or millennials but for seniors. So don't let your age get in the way of what you want to do!

  • Steven W.
    Steven W.

    I'm 61 years old looking for a job in the field of quality with 25 years of experience what are my options?

  • Christina A.
    Christina A.

    Being a positive person I am always going to achieve positive results in any circumstance. There is no room for negativity to arise because I will always keep positive no matter what the situation is. I’m going to defuse any problems promptly and professionally to ensure a successful outcome is achieved! I’m not a confrontational person, I don’t believe that is how to resolve any issues. I’m a firm believer that showing respect for people’s situations will create a better relationship with a person when you also have compassion and strive for the best customer service to all people you encounter.

  • Christina A.
    Christina A.

    I believe that treating people with kindness and respect is key to success in any position!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Ly R. thanks for your comment. You could do a search on the Internet for Recruiters in your field. You might want to look for one on LinkedIn also. And asking around can help as well as attending networking events in your area.

  • Ly R.
    Ly R.

    @Nancy. How does one go about FINDING a recruiter for my field? I would love to locate a personal recruiter. Thank you for the information

  • Misty G.
    Misty G.

    I would like a position where I can excel and have flexibility with my schedule.

  • Cynthia N.
    Cynthia N.

    I am a very hard working female. I looking for a part time job. If , i never went to Empowerment , I do not know where I would be at righ now. I want to give Thanks! To all of my counselor , at Empowerment, who believed in me. My Higher Power , and my 2 daughter' s and grandchildren. Thanks!

  • Michael B.
    Michael B.

    I am just too old.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the comments. @Debbie M. couldn't have said it better. @tennille v we have tons of articles concerning interviews. Check some of those out for helpful hints. To have a successful interview, you need to be prepared. Learn everything you can about the company. Go over your resume so that you know it. It's always good to have a copy of your resume in front of you, too, since nerves can get the best of anyone at an interview. Look up some interview Q&A on the internet so that you will have an idea what you might be asked. Have an outfit that is interview worthy (we have tons of articles on how to dress for an interview, too). Above all else, when it comes to the interview, be yourself. An interview is all about selling yourself. And remember, an interview is a two-way street. Not only are they interviewing you but you are interviewing them to find out if you really want to work for them.

  • tennille v.
    tennille v.

    I am a single mom of six kids, in 7 weeks i will be having my last, but when i am ready to go back to work how do i win my interview to actually get the job.

  • Debbie M.
    Debbie M.

    I believe the unemployed numbers is always higher than publicly informed. Especially when we consider disadvantage groups and these numbers are going to be greater now because of the baby boomers. The problem is as a society we can no longer trust information informing on economic indicators it is politically driven. We need to keep our ears and eyes open at all times and recognize what's going on and its impact.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Cristina F. thanks for your comment. Sorry you seem to be having trouble finding a new position. Have you considered finding a recruiter who specializes in placing LVNs? That might truly be your best bet. They can present you in the right way - letting a prospective employer know that you are new to a clinical setting but eager to learn. What about the school where you took your course for drawing blood? Are they able to offer any assistance on jobs? What about your college? Do they have a career services department? Many times colleges & universities will get job postings that no one else has. You could check with them to see if they have what you are looking for. They could even set you up so that you will receive notification when new jobs are posted. For example, one of the colleges that I attended, sends me a weekly list of new jobs that were posted. Remember, though, it's only been 2 weeks. That's not very long in today's job world. Keep us posted on your progress.

  • Cristina F.
    Cristina F.

    I lost my job two weeks ago, and having a difficult time trying to find work. I am an LVN 18yrs of experience working in SNF and wanting to work in another area of nursing, I would love to work in a clinic setting. but can't seem to find anybody to give me a chance to learn. I even went so far to take a blood withdraw class paid 475 dollars and am not able to apply it because nobody is willing to give me a chance or be willing to train. it can't be that hard to learn how to work in a clinical setting. so I just keep on struggling until I can find work. BUT NOT IN A SNF ANYMORE.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jenny M thanks for your comments. So sorry for what the company did. It sounds like you are getting your foot in the door if you are having interviews. Many people never even get to that stage. Have you tried using a recruiter who specializes in your type of work? That might be the best way to open the door for you. I think that by doing that, it will alleviate the issue of ageism as the recruiter can present you in the correct way. Don't forget to check out temp agencies also. Many times those temp positions turn into permanent ones. Hope this helps. All the best.

  • JENNY M.
    JENNY M.

    I lost a job I had been at for many years because the small business was sold. The new firm gave the owners the impression that they would have places for all of us. NOT!! They took 3, and wanted no one from my department.

  • JENNY M.
    JENNY M.

    Ageism is a very real problem and it affects women at a higher rate. I'm in good shape and nowhere near ready to retire. All of the hiring screeners are very young. Little do they know, we're all on the work 'til you die plan now

  • Shawn B.
    Shawn B.

    I can't seem to find any job. Mainly cause of my back round

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Mark B thanks for your comment and your honesty. It truly can be tough out there. However, applying for positions that are "lower level" is probably a waste of time unless you are dumbing down your resume. And, even should you get a lower level position, you aren't going to be happy. Companies know this which is why you aren't getting any responses to those applications. You might consider finding a recruiter who specializes in your field. They might have positions that you won't see anywhere else. It's worth taking time to search for and reach out to a recruiter. Explain your situation and let them take it from there. Remember, that recruiter is working for you because, in most cases, they work on commission and don't get paid until they make a placement. Check it out and try it. Come back here and let us know how it worked out.

  • David W.
    David W.

    For a resume to be made and I guess it's not very good

  • MARK B.
    MARK B.

    You know I always thought if you put your best foot forward you’ll always come out ahead. This belief has truly been tested as I have embrked on my current job search. I have done everything that has been suggested of me as it relates to making each resume speak to the position I am applying for. It hasn’t done me any good though. Despite having years of experience in my profession (including several in management level roles) and having achievements like Saved company more than $130 Million in 2015... & won accolades from Vp of customer service (at a fortune 50 company) on my resume I just don’t know what else can be done. I’m not even getting responses to the lower level positions I’m applying to. Staying positive, but it is tougher the longer it drags on

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Samuel C thanks for your comment. Seniors most certainly can find meaningful jobs. I am guessing that you are not getting responses to your applications? Make sure that you check out the company before you apply. See what you can find out about them just with a little bit of detective work. Check them out on LinkedIn or even GlassDoor. You might be surprised at how many companies hire seniors over millennials now. They are discovering that, if they truly want the job done, they need that senior person - the one with the skills who can hit the ground running. Make sure that you are using your network, also. Former coworkers, friend, colleagues, etc. Sometimes it still pays to know someone on the inside who can "introduce" you to the hiring manager. Don't let your age get in the way. If you know that you can do the job, then take a good run at it. Modify your resume to fit the posting. Don't include all of your work history. Maybe just the last 10 - 25 years; only including 10 years is the best, if you can do that. Make sure that you are including the keywords from the posting in your resume. You need to get past the gatekeeper (ATS) before you have a chance at the position. Then, once you get called in for an interview, sell, sell, sell!

  • Samuel C.
    Samuel C.

    How can a senior citizen find a meaningful job

  • Larry B.
    Larry B.

    I believe if anyone wants a job bad enough , they can find one. I'm hoping to be able to get assistance to go to school to better myself, I hope I get it!

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