As President Barack Obama was again sworn into office this past weekend, the nation’s unemployment rate sat where it was four years ago, at his first inauguration: 7.8 percent. However, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), when combined with the underemployed, people working part-time, but who want full-time positions, and those too discouraged to job hunt this past month, the rate is 14.4 percent, Sometimes, the hardest part about landing a new job is simply finding a job that fits your experience and skillset. With more than 12 million Americans unemployed, finding a job can seem like a daunting task.
According to the BLS, there are still roughly 3.7 million open jobs waiting to be filled. If you are among those struggling to find a job, here are a few services that can help you find an open position, and even prepare you for your interviews.
Local Workforce Boards
Nearly all state unemployment agencies require that you look for work while you collect unemployment, but many people do not fully utilize the other services that the state can provide when looking for a job, said Amy Ruth of Jacksonville-based staffing firm, Incepture.
States like Florida are broken up into more than a dozen districts, each of which has partnerships with local employers and programs to help match jobseekers with an appropriate job. Often, employers who have partnered with a workforce board are only allowed to list open positions with the state, so if you’re not using your local workforce board you may be missing dozens of potential positions.
Though it’s one of the only documents you typically send when you apply for a job, many people underestimate the importance of the resume. Resumes are especially important when applying online, since many companies use filters to search for specific keywords in a resume and discard any without those important words or phrases.
Using a resume writing service will create a resume that will accurately reflect your skills and stand out to a hiring manager. Before you select a resume service, make sure to sit down with the company to verify that they can produce a resume that represents you as a potential employee.
If you are looking for a job in a different city, or have had little luck searching for a job on your own, a staffing agency can provide some key advantages for your job search. Like government workforce boards, staffing agencies work directly with businesses to find job candidates who are perfectly suited to a specific job. A staffing agency like Ruth’s will often target specific industries such as healthcare and IT, she said, which will help you target your job search to companies in your niche. Since they work directly with companies, a staffing agency can take the hardship of finding a job out of your hands by matching your resume to a job requiring your skills.
Taking an aptitude or skills test to become certified in new skills can be a valuable boost to your job search. Many staffing agencies will require skills tests to go along with their services, but you can focus on these skills on your own, as well. Certifications can also help fill in some of the keywords that may be missing from your resume.
For IT professionals, Microsoft certifications are often necessary skills, but every profession has some extra skills that will make you stand out from a pack of similar resumes.
One of the best ways to find a job is networking; getting out and rubbing shoulders with people in your industry. From healthcare to business to plumbers, there are professional organizations for nearly every job.
Apart from events that allow you to meet local leaders in your field, most professional organizations have job boards with local open positions that are squarely in your industry. Though most organizations will require membership, the connections you make will be well worth the price of admission.