October Saw 11 Million Job Openings. Here Are 3 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting a New One

A line of people seated waiting for an interview with resumes in hand.

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Want a new job? There are plenty out there, but you may need to go after them strategically.

Key points

  • The number of available jobs in the U.S. rose to 11 million in October.
  • Networking, improving your resume, and submitting unique cover letters could be your ticket to getting hired.

Earlier this year, the U.S. economy was in very poor shape -- so much so that lawmakers voted to send a third round of stimulus checks into Americans' bank accounts in March. But things have improved tremendously since then on the unemployment front.

In November, the national jobless rate hit its lowest level since the start of the pandemic. And recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that October job openings reached the 11 million mark. That's far more than the 10.4 million openings economists were predicting for that month.

Not surprisingly, the leisure and hospitality sector saw the biggest increase in available jobs. That sector was notably hard-hit earlier on in the pandemic when many restaurants were forced to shutter.

If you're looking to capitalize on the fact that so many jobs are available, there are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of landing an offer. Here are three important steps to focus on.

1. Use the power of networking

It's one thing to respond to a job listing you see online that may have 40 other applicants. But it's another thing for someone you know to put your resume in front of a job's hiring manager. You can make the latter scenario happen if you do a thorough job of networking.

When it comes to finding a new job, the people you know can play a huge role in getting your foot in the door. It pays to reach out to everyone from former colleagues to friends and family members and see who can help you get your resume out there.

Furthermore, if there's a specific company with job openings you're hoping to interview with, tell your contacts that you're looking to be connected with someone who works there. It may be the case that an old college classmate's neighbor works for the company you want a job at. If that old classmate hooks you up, you might gain an edge over other applicants.

2. Have a compelling, up-to-date resume

Hiring managers tend to skim resumes, especially when they get many of them. That's why it's important to put together a resume that's snappy and up-to-date.

If you've been working for many years, don't bother listing details of former summer jobs you held down during college. Instead, summarize your work history and include details of your most recent, relevant experience.

Also, try your best to make that text exciting. "Increased team sales by 30%" sounds a whole lot more compelling than "led sales team."

3. Make an effort with your cover letters

Writing a cover letter takes time, so it's tempting to use the same one over and over again. But try not to do that. Your cover letter is an opportunity to let your personality shine and discuss the reasons you're perfect for the jobs you're applying to. Sending in a cookie-cutter document won't really make that case.

That said, there's nothing wrong with crafting one really good cover letter and tweaking it to different roles. Doing so could be a more reasonable approach, especially if you're looking for work while also holding down a full-time job.

Today's labor market is loaded with opportunities. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll get to take advantage of one.

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