Business

Looking for a job? 2018 could be one of the best times to do it.

MCT

You made it! Happy New Year and welcome to 2018. It’s a new year with many new beginnings and opportunities ... especially if you’re looking for a new or better job.

Approximately 228,000 jobs were created in November 2017, and the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the United States Department of Labor. The job growth increased in professional and business services, manufacturing and health care.

Unemployment figures for December 2017 will be released by the end of this week and we have every reason to believe that job creation will remain steady with an unemployment rate either staying unchanged or decreasing sightly.

In other words, if you are starting the new year looking for employment or considering a career move there will jobs, jobs and more jobs available for your choosing.

The news from 2017 is that the economy added many jobs and that Americans are experiencing the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record. But what does that really mean to you as a job seeker and will this information help you in the search to secure employment? Will it help you advance your career?

Here are a few things about the economy that you should consider during your search process.

▪  Keep your perspective when following the news reports about where there are jobs and industry growth. Consider information that you can use as you seek employment.

▪  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers helpful information about the economy and labor statistics.

For example, here’s its most recent top 10 list of the fastest growing occupations between 2016-2026: solar photovoltaic installer, wind turbine service technician, home health aide, personal care aide, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, statistician, physical therapist assistants, software developers, mathematicians. Oh, and just for what it’s worth, number 11 is bicycle repairers.

The bureau offers many lists like this. On its website at bls.gov, you can find highest paying occupations, too, and you can search for occupations by median pay, educational level needed and what provides on-the-job training.

The list of occupations with the most jobs openings that require at least an associate’s degree or post-secondary vocational certificate include: registered nurses, nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants; licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses; computer support specialists; hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists; automotive service technicians and mechanics; preschool teachers, except special education, insurance sales agents, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration technicians and real estate sales agents.

▪  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook is one of the nation’s most widely used sources of career information resources. The handbook covers employment projections over 10 years and is updated every two years.

Also, you can find career information specific to a occupational profile that describes what workers do, where they work, typical education and training requirements, pay, job outlook, state and area data and contacts for more information.

It provides details on hundreds of occupations and is used by career counselors, students, parents, teachers, job seekers, career changers, education and training officials and researchers.

▪  A source for new college graduates is the National Association of Colleges and Employers and there’s good news for college graduates. According to NACE, employers are planning to hire more graduates from the class of 2018 than they did from the class of 2017. Why? Of the 201 employer surveys returned to NACE, several factors contribute to new hires including company growth and the need for entry-level talent.

If you’re a new graduate looking for work, NACE suggests you use your résumé to emphasize your ability to problem solve and work as part of a team, two important qualities for many employers.

Also, while past surveys consistently found the student’s major to be the deciding factor between two otherwise equally qualified candidates, this year the most influential factors are whether the candidate completed an internship with the hiring organization and whether the candidate has internship experience within the hiring organization’s industry.

Other suggestions for new graduates? Practice interviewing. I have never met someone who received a job offer from a résumé. Take time to complete your online application correctly the first time.

Many industries have moved to screening assessment. If you don’t pass the online screening you may become ineligible to apply for future positions for a short time. This is becoming a common practice and, as a job seeker, a hard lesson to learn. I’ve heard from clients who have experienced this process and missed out on great job opportunities, due largely to putting incorrect information on the application or not passing the online assessment.

A final suggestion is to get connected with your college alumni association or a local job club. Many job clubs meet weekly. In Central Kentucky, the job club meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Fayette County Cooperative Extension office, 1140 Harry Sykes Way. For more information, visit Fayette.ca.uky.edu/content/job-club or call 859-257-8905, 859-257-5582 or 859-257-8920.

Make this year the best ever by resolving to stay focused and positive about landing a job or advancing in your career.

Lenroy Jones has dedicated his life to coaching and supporting career seekers to pursue their passion and purpose. Join him on LinkedIn, “like” him at Facebook.com/CareerDude or follow him on Twitter at @CareerDudeTweet.

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