Things are looking up for job seekers, at least according to the latest unemployment report for February. Reuters reported that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest rate since December 2008. So after years of struggle, new opportunities, (236,000 jobs in the last month) are for the taking for job seekers and professionals wishing to change jobs and careers.
While the workforce makeup may likely never return to pre-2008 levels, 2013 will see the growth of several new employment sectors. If you are seeking employment, be optimistic. New ideas, prospects, and resources are available.
1. The Growing Economy
The American economy is improving. However, 12 million Americans are still currently seeking employment. While it’s progressing at a slower rate than everyone would like, it is headed in the right direction. The financial markets are closing in on all-time highs. Recent employment data has been positive, and forecasters predict continued growth in 2013. Approximately 170,000 new jobs per month are expected, with unemployment dipping below seven percent by the end of the year.
Over the last five years, employers’ needs have changed. Due to the economic decline, employers learned that they could survive and grow with a leaner workforce. Many former positions have been eliminated, but new prospects in technology, design, and networking have created a strong demand for trained professionals. The dynamics of our economy have changed and will continue to do so in terms of developing an efficient and effective workforce.
2. Better Online Resources
In addition to a recovering economy, the wealth of online resources for job seekers is almost overwhelming. Consider today’s tools for job searching in contrast to the standards of only 20 years ago. The landscape has been revolutionized by technology. Job search engines are prevalent, as are detailed job postings on companies’ websites. While the tried-and-true classified ads are still a resource, the digital world offers you greater convenience and accessibility, and a chance to really refine your search for the perfect position for you. All of these advances work to aid your quest for new possibilities.
Finding a job is greatly assisted by — and almost requires — multiple online resources today. These resources could include LinkedIn for networking, The New York Times or similar publications for the latest employment news, and Monster.com for endless job listings. These resources are just the tip of the iceberg. Access to your future career is easier than ever before. Online tools are only improving as search engines become more efficient and sophisticated to meet your needs. If you rely on five to seven career resources, you’re likely to be in a better position to sort through the noise and find your next employer. Begin with a general search, but pare down those postings to the genuinely promising ones that address your present and future skills
3. New Career Opportunities
Many professionals have switched careers altogether in recent years. Switching careers is a brave and bold decision, but in our post-recession workforce, it can be the right choice for many. Over 3.5 million jobs are available in today’s economy if you have the right skills and experience. To gain these skills, consider online and offline resources that can help train you for a new field. Current knowledge in technology, operating systems, and network administration is sought after in many areas.
Skillshare is a great online resource to begin exploring. Offline resources, like the Flatiron School, also offer very skill-specific training courses that can be completed in a relatively short period of time. The course to build web developer skills only takes 12 weeks and can lead to immediate employment in many locations. My own company recently hired two web developers trained at this school; one previously worked in finance, while the other was a boxer. Change can greatly benefit not only your current situation, but your future opportunities as well.
A new year offers a variety of reasons to be optimistic about job market trends. Our economy is recovering, and companies are more willing to hire than in the dark days of 2008. With greater online resources available, the job search itself has become more convenient and specific for your needs as a professional. It’s possible to search locally or nationwide with the push of a button. This impressive technology — and the changing demands from it — have changed our workforce. With an open mind about your career and the skills that could most benefit you in the future, your potential is unlimited.
This post was originally published on Under30Careers.