How to Compete in Today's Red-Hot Job Market

by Maurie Backman | Published on Aug. 20, 2021

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There are millions of jobs available today, but the competition is fierce. Here's how to give yourself an edge.

Though the U.S. economy has yet to fully recover from the blow the pandemic dealt it, the job market is still pretty hot. In fact, as of May, there were over 9 million job openings available.

But while jobs may be more plentiful now than they've been during the course of the pandemic, there's still a world of competition out there. This holds true whether you're looking for an entry-level role or something more advanced.

In a recent FlexJobs survey, 69% of respondents say they're actively looking for a new job. And 48% are frustrated with how the process is going. If you want to give yourself an edge in today's job market, here are some important tactics to employ.

1. Make your resume more exciting

A boring resume could hurt your chances of getting the job you want. Rather than just list your responsibilities, incorporate action verbs to make yourself sound more engaging and exciting. Phrases like "spearheaded new marketing campaign" could speak to prospective employers better than "was responsible for new marketing campaign."

2. Invest in a great cover letter

Your cover letter is your opportunity to show potential employers who you are and what drive and passion you bring to the table. Spend some time crafting that letter, and don't be afraid to talk about the life experiences that make you a better and more valuable employee.

3. Be bold about networking

It's not easy putting yourself out there and asking for help in finding a job. But it's a move that could also be very effective. You never know when someone in your network of friends or former colleagues has an in on a job opening, and if you're able to get that person to put your resume in front of a hiring manager, it could increase your chances of getting hired.

4. Be willing to take a job that's beneath you

In the aforementioned survey, 56% of job seekers have thought about applying for a role they're overqualified for. At first glance, that might seem like a step backward. But be open-minded if you're having trouble getting interviews. You never know what skills you might pick up or what connections you might make that lead to a better job -- and salary -- down the line, so it could be worth taking a role that's beneath your skill level.

5. Try to be flexible with salary

You need to earn enough money to pay your bills and stay out of debt. But there's a difference between doing that and commanding a higher salary that really allows you to live it up. And if you want to increase your chances of getting a job, you may need to learn toward accepting a salary that's just generous enough to cover your expenses.

Once you get your foot in the door somewhere, it could pave the way to more money. But for now, you may need to get on board with making less than you'd like. And if you have a healthy savings account balance and can afford to earn a bit less, that's something it wouldn't hurt to be open to.

Today's job market is a tough one to break into. These tips will make you a more competitive candidate, and they could pave the way to the offer you've been waiting for.

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