This is a great time to be looking for work. In fact, one expert recently said, this economy, though showing some signs of weakening, is an ideal environment for job hunters. "If you don't like your job, this is a golden age to find a new one," Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter, told The Washington Post.
Here's why he and others say right now is a great time to get the job you want, and how to go about doing that.
The July jobs report stated that the U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs last month, which marks 106 straight months of growth since the end of the last recession. Unemployment remains low at 3.7%, and wages are growing at a faster pace.
These types of conditions are favorable to workers. "When we have low unemployment and a high number of jobs being created," says Hannah Morgan, a job search strategist with Career Sherpa, "employers have to do more to attract candidates. Employers are going to be less picky about what they're looking for — they may be willing to forgo some of the requirements they have."
"It's the opposite of what we saw after the recession," she adds.
The July jobs report found that a majority of the jobs being created are outside of so-called blue-collar industries, meaning that these new positions generally pay more, offer benefits, and, in some cases, are less physically strenuous. The bulk of the 164,000 jobs created during July, according to the report, were in three areas: educational and health services (66,000), professional and business services (38,000), and financial activities (18,000).
The timing is right to look for a new job, but you still need to be strategic about how to present yourself to be a desirable candidate. If all you do is fill out applications or email resumes around, the "chances of getting hired are 10% or less," Morgan says.
Her advice for getting noticed is to make a connection: "The number one way companies are filling jobs right now is through referrals."
First, she suggests, update your relevant social media accounts. If you plan to apply for a job with a specific company, try to connect with someone who already works there first: "Go to LinkedIn and find someone to network with, who can act as an advocate or referral source," she says.
Make sure your profile is current, easy to read, and displays your skill set. Recruiters scour sites like LinkedIn for candidates and, the easier you are to find, the higher your chances are of being contacted for, or taken seriously for, a potential position.
In addition to making connections online, do some networking in person. Try going to events or conferences, or signing up to join a professional organization in your industry.
Employers use conferences and industry events to recruit. Rub elbows with others in your profession and get to know people who may be able to refer you for jobs.
The bottom line is, you can take advantage of the current economy to up your earnings, Morgan says: "The best way for anybody to make more money is to leave their job and go get a new one."
More from Grow: