Sign for Job Alerts!

Monday, September 27, 2021

How to make your job search suck a little less

Get your résumé past the robot reading it.

There are plenty of jobs listings lately — but have you actually tried applying? Despite a record number of open jobs in the United States, many people looking for work are having a hard time getting it.

To complicate matters, many of the jobs out there aren’t necessarily ones you want. Maybe they don’t pay enough, have poor benefits, or require you to put yourself in a dangerous situation where you could contract Covid-19.

But even when you do find that job you want, it might seem like your application is getting lost in the ether. The problem is a combination of hiring software that needlessly excludes completely hirable people and a corporate hiring process that, for a variety of reasons, isn’t always good at bringing in the right people for an interview.

While you can’t always outsmart an algorithm or a bloated corporate hiring system, there are some ways to give yourself an edge. We spoke with a number of job experts about how to navigate our current system in order to make your job search a little less awful:

  • Be early. “If you aren’t one of the first 20 people to apply on LinkedIn, you’re probably not going to get seen,” J.T. O’Donnell, founder and CEO of Work It Daily, a career coaching platform, said.

  • Scan LinkedIn to see which skills and certifications people in the job you want have. Make sure you list them if you have them or acquire them if you don’t. Don’t chase your own tail by applying to a job you’re unlikely to get.

  • Don’t leave off skills, even if they seem basic. Are you proficient at Excel? List it. “Your odds of getting an interview and a job if you have a facility with Microsoft Office goes up hugely,” Fuller said.

  • Don’t leave unexplained gaps. If you took a year off to write the Great American Novel, say so. Otherwise, it will look like you were doing nothing, and you might be screened out.    

  • Make sure your résumé, cover letter, and application match the job description. To some extent, this means using the same phrases in your application materials as you see in the listing, even if that can feel a little cheap. As Joseph Fuller, a management professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of a recent paper on the disconnect between employers and employees put it, “Being robotic is good if you’re talking to a robot.” That does not mean, however, that you should game the system and use terms that don’t actually apply to you, according to O’Donnell. Doing so, she says, can get you blacklisted.
  • Show that you can handle change. Skills are changing faster than ever. Rather than learning every new technology, you might be better off explaining that in the past you’ve been good at picking up new software. That might include using words like “transformation,” “migration,” or “upgrade,” and really explaining how you handled change at other jobs. “What employers are looking for is agility,” said Tim Brackney, president and COO of the management consulting firm RGP. “If you can demonstrate that in your story, and pull those elements out when you’re in person, you have the best shot. “
  • Get to a human. Try to outsmart the algorithm, or try to actually get in touch with someone who works at the company. That way, you’ll at least have a shot to tell your story. O’Donnell said, “If you apply online because they say apply, you also have to work your back channels.
  • Rethink your priorities. O’Donnell tells her clients to create a list of the requirements they’re looking for in a new job — and often discovers that the list they make is too long. It’s one thing to not want to sell yourself short, it’s another to be so specific that you find absolutely nothing is the right fit. Her advice: Shorten your list to two or three things you really need.   
  • Keep the job you have. It’s easiest to get a job if you’ve got one. You automatically seem appropriate for a similar position, and you avoid gaps in your résumé.

Employers could get better at how they hire

Not being able to fill roles is a problem for employers, too, and there are a number of things employers can do to make sure they’re getting the talent they need (nearly three-quarters of employers say they are having difficulty attracting workers). So while we’re at it, some tips for companies looking to hire:

Update and fix the criteria your AI is using. Rather than looking for people who have exactly the skills in the job description, look for those who have attributes similar to your best employees — those who are most productive or who’ve stayed with the company longest. This also means making sure your algorithm isn’t unnecessarily excluding huge swaths of candidates, including parents who’ve stepped out of the workforce to care for kids, people with criminal backgrounds, or those with gaps in their employment. Fuller has some in-depth suggestions on what to do in his report.
Update job descriptions. Make sure job listings are up to date and that they focus on the core skills the person absolutely needs. This requires involving the person who’s directly supervising or working with the candidate to weigh in on what’s needed for the job.
Relax education or other requirements. “Hire someone who hits seven out of 10 of your requirements, instead of 10 out of 10,” Indeed director of economic research Nick Bunker said. “Sometimes what they find out is that people can do the job quite well but don’t hit all of their high metrics.”
Provide on-the-job training. Plenty of people could do the job if only they had a little instruction.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Employers Are Baffled as U.S. Benefits End and Jobs Go Begging

Now Hiring

By  and   Originally published by

Emergency unemployment benefits in the U.S. expired two weeks ago, but employers who expected an increase in job applications are still largely waiting for them to roll in. 

Federal programs that had offered an extra $300 per week for jobless Americans, provided extended benefits for the long-term unemployed and gave special aid for the self-employed expired Sept. 6. Economists and companies expected a wave of interest from workers as the financial lifeline was pulled away, hoping it would provide the incentive to get back into the workplace. 

That hasn’t happened, according to employers across industries.

“People who have been on the sidelines have by and large stayed on the sidelines,” said Richard Wahlquist, president of the American Staffing Association, the country’s largest recruitment-industry group. “Nothing has changed in regard to the benefits that have fallen off and the need for people continues to grow.”

Even Wahlquist is struggling. He’s looking for 10 temporary workers to help at the organization’s conference in Denver at the end of the month, paying as much as $25 an hour. So far, he could only rustle up two. 

Across the country, staffing firms and businesses have yet to see a marked uptick in employees. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists forecast that the expiration of the federal program this month, which affected about half of U.S. states after the rest ended benefits early, would add 1.3 million people to payrolls by year-end. Other analysts said an end to the federal program should increase labor supply. 

Jobless claims for the week ended Sept. 11 showed an increase in people seeking benefits, though the effects of Hurricane Ida affected the data. In the meantime, the great labor shortage isn’t letting up, with a record 10.9 million job openings in July. 

“We’re only going to see the impact of the federal UI benefits ending a couple of months from now -- I don’t think we’re going to see a big spike one way or another really,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed Inc. “We thought things should be better by Labor Day and they’re not.”

One reason could be pent-up savings, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor Inc. Stimulus checks, boosted unemployment benefits and expanded social safety nets drove the savings rate to a record 34% last year, and it remained elevated at 9.6% in July. 

Joanie Bily, chief workforce analyst at Atlanta-based EmployBridge, was one of the people who thought that her company would see a “significant increase” in the number of online applications once boosted benefits ended.

“I’ve been asking all of our locations across the U.S.: ‘Are you busier? How does it feel since the benefits have ended?’” said Bily, whose firm connects employees with companies across the U.S., focusing on manufacturing, logistics and call centers. “I pulled the data last night and I thought it would be better, but it’s not.”

Applications increased about 10% in the two dozen states states that ended emergency benefits early -- but that was also a boost that lasted only a few weeks, she said.

In the company’s offices in California, the most populous state with recently ended benefits, managers told her there is a slight boost in inquiries for administrative work but “it’s too soon to tell.”

In the restaurant industry, job applications have declined about 3% to 4% each week for the past nine weeks, including the period following the expiry of boosted benefits, according to Restaurant365, a restaurant-management software company.

That’s “contrary to many predictions that aid was the primary factor keeping restaurant workers out of the workforce,” said Tony Smith, CEO and co-founder of the company.

The reasons for the missing workers are many: childcare barriers, a skills mismatch, health concerns -- particularly for service-industry jobs and a mass reallocation of work as people reconsider careers.

“As people look at their bank accounts and realize we’re coming to the holiday season, we hope people have more incentive to come back,” said ASA’s Wahlquist.  

Employers Are Baffled as U.S. Benefits End and Jobs Go Begging

Friday, September 17, 2021

Companies Are So Desperate to Fill Jobs They're Getting Rid of Drug Tests

Companies Are So Desperate to Fill Jobs They're Getting Rid of Drug Tests

By Julia Glum - Originally published by

The global labor shortage has made work perks all but essential for companies scrambling to fill open roles. But in addition to promises of higher wages, flexible schedules and free college tuition for workers, one hurdle to getting a job is disappearing.

In a survey out Tuesday from staffing firm ManpowerGroup, 9% of employers worldwide said they are eliminating job screenings or drug tests in order to attract and retain talent.

Some 69% of employers worldwide are having trouble finding the people they need, with countries like India, Romania and Singapore reporting a particularly difficult time hiring. The poll results, which include data from over 45,000 employers from 43 countries and territories, underscores just how desperate companies are getting. While half of them are dangling monetary incentives, 20% are offering non-financial benefits like extra vacation days or, yes, the ability to do (certain) drugs in the employee's free time without worrying about repercussions.

The drug screening landscape has been changing for years. In a 2011 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 57% of employers said they drug-tested all job candidates. Just under a third said they didn't partake in pre-employment drug testing.

But the movement to legalize marijuana has picked up steam since then, with 36 states allowing medical use and 18 states allowing recreational adult use. Now, that's coinciding with the hiring crunch in a major way: In a Current Consulting Group poll released last year, 36% of respondents who were planning to remove marijuana from their drug testing panels said it was because "we are experiencing delays and/or cannot fill positions due to high marijuana positives." It's only gotten harder since then for companies to find workers to hire due to a widespread worker shortage.

Perhaps the most notable company to adjust its drug policy recently is Amazon, which announced in June that it will no longer include weed in its screenings for roles not regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Amazon will still conduct impairment checks when employees are on the job and after accidents.)

"It’s archaic," attorney Brittany Robinson, who lost out on a job due to marijuana use, told The Chicago Tribune last month. "Society has caught up to the reality of smoking marijuana on your own time, and people don’t care . we need laws and policies that stop putting people out of a job for petty reasons."

Regardless of how you feel about drug tests, the data confirms that it's a candidate's market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. had a record 10.9 million job openings this past July. Companies will continue to do whatever they can to get qualified applicants, including toking up — er, taking up — drug-friendly policies.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Amazon will hire 125,000 workers, dangling $3,000 bonuses for some jobs


Amazon Jobs
(photo: Amazon Jobs)

(CNN) -- Amazon plans to hire 125,000 permanent warehouse and logistics workers in the United States ahead of the holiday shopping stretch, pledging higher wages, new benefits and sign-on bonuses for some of the jobs to draw staff in a tight labor market.

Amazon said Tuesday that these jobs offer an average starting wage of more than $18 an hour — higher than its $15 minimum wage — and some of the roles include up to $3,000 sign-on bonuses. Amazon last week said it would begin offering to pay four-year college tuition for most of its workers, joining Walmart and Target in offering similar benefits.

Many retailers and logistics companies are struggling to find workers and have raised their pay and expanded benefits in response to the staffing crunch. In July, there were 879,000 unfilled jobs in the retail industry and 222,000 in the transportation and warehouse industry, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"It's a very competitive labor market out there. And certainly, the biggest contributor to inflationary pressures that we're seeing in the business," said Brian Olsavsky, Amazon's chief financial officer, in July. "We're spending a lot of money on signing and incentives."

Companies are expecting strong demand this holiday and staffing up entering the holidays. Retail sales this holiday season will increase by up to 9% from last year, while e-commerce sales will grow by up to 15%, Deloitte said in a forecast released Tuesday.

Amazon and Walmart are hiring permanent employees ahead of the holidays, while UPS, Kohl's, Michaels and others are bringing on temporary staff. Amazon has not announced plans for seasonal workers, but last year added 100,000 temporary workers.

Amazon's business has surged during the pandemic as many shoppers, spending more time at home, increased their online purchases. The company has added more than 450,000 workers in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic and now has 950,000 US workers.

In another sign of its growth, Amazon said Tuesday it will open more than 100 new facilities in September to pack and ship goods to customers, including regional air hubs for its growing fleet of cargo jets. Amazon has opened more than 250 facilities this year.


Saturday, September 11, 2021

In-Person Workers Are Slow to Return to Jobs, Data Shows


In-Person Workers Are Slow to Return to Jobs, Data Shows
Head waitstaff Laurie Mitchell sanitizes a countertop at Rodd's Restaurant in Bristol, Connecticut, in  December. New England  states are the slowest to recover jobs during hiring problems for workplaces that require public contact amid the pandemic's delta variant surge.  Jessica Hill The Associated Press


This story was originally posted by Stateline, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts.  By Tim Henderson Stateline

Donald Trinks is seeing both sides of the labor problem in his restaurant: less business from travelers and not enough workers to capitalize on the business he has left.

More people want to eat in his restaurant, Bart’s Drive-In in Windsor, Connecticut, but Trinks has to close on Wednesday and Thursday nights because he can’t find enough workers. At the same time, his catering business is down because business travel has evaporated with the surge of the coronavirus delta variant.

“We do a lot of business catering, and there’s a lot less business meetings and people coming in from out of state,” said Trinks, who is also Windsor’s mayor.

Connecticut is one of the mostly Northeastern states slowest to recover jobs after the pandemic. Hospitality workers and others who can’t telework are key to job recovery because­­, despite a sudden spike in demand for their services in a reopened economy, many are reluctant to return to the workplace. They’ve been burned by layoffs, helped by extended unemployment benefits that just expired, and face hurdles such as child care uncertainty as schools reopen and the delta variant continues to frustrate expectations.

Some employers are paying higher wages or offering other incentives to lure back workers, but that may not be enough if employees, for example, can’t find child care.

“You can’t pay somebody enough to show up at work when there’s a kid at home who needs care,” said Curtis Dubay, senior economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Workers also may see layoffs looming again as the delta variant prompts people to cancel business trips. In an August survey, two-thirds of business travelers said they were cutting back on trips, and most didn’t plan to reschedule.

The number of jobs is down about 9% in Connecticut and Vermont from pre-pandemic levels as of July, and down significantly in Hawaii (8.1%), Illinois (6.9%), Maryland (6.7%), New Jersey (6.1%) and Rhode Island (6.1%), according to a Stateline analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

“We have a clear mismatch between workers and employers, and it’s not clear what will change the situation,” said Joyce Manchester, senior economist for Vermont’s Legislative Joint Fiscal Office. Restaurants, hotels and child care centers in Vermont have struggled to find workers; some have cut operating hours, she added.

Nationally, hospitality job growth halted in August and is still down 1.7 million jobs from before the pandemic, according to a federal jobs report released Sept. 3.

Overall job growth was sluggish in August at 235,000, compared with an increase of more than 1 million in July, and was still 5 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. July data showed a record 10 million job openings, with demand especially high for in-person jobs such as hospitality, manufacturing and construction.

The few states that have more jobs than they did before the pandemic are fast-growing, mostly Western states with booming economies, scenic beauty and a relatively low cost of living. Utah gained almost 50,000 jobs or about 3% since July 2019, and Oregon gained almost 30,000 or 1%. Arizona and Idaho were close behind with about 20,000 jobs added.

Utah benefited from a young population less susceptible to COVID-19 and does not face the retirement issues seen in New England and other aging areas, said Mark Knold, chief economist for Utah’s Department of Workforce Services.

“There’s a strong in-migration attraction because of the Rocky Mountains’ beauty and recreation,” Knold said. “It’s not just a Utah thing, it’s an intermountain West thing.”

New England states have more affluent, older residents who may have decided to retire early to avoid the pandemic’s havoc, said Steven Lanza, an associate economics professor at the University of Connecticut.

“In a place like Connecticut, where the population is relatively old and incomes are high, folks have realized they can do without the job,” Lanza said.

Many of the historically high job openings reflect a rapid need for jobs that must be done in person, including hospitality but also manufacturing, construction and health care, said Frank Steemers, senior economist at the New York-based Conference Board, a nonpartisan labor research organization.

“This is a very quick surge in demand for these in-person jobs as areas start to open up,” Steemers said. “A lot have already been rehired so the ones that are left may be thinking, ‘I can wait this out for another few months on the sidelines and see what’s happening.’”

The more affluent can take advantage of remote work to cash in on high real estate values and move from expensive states, said Knold, the Utah economist.

“Teleworking is a new form of work that favors the affluent who can leave California and live cheaper elsewhere,” he said.

Meanwhile lower-wage workers may be stuck in colder states with fewer choices about work. The states with the highest rate of jobholders are Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah and Minnesota, all with more than 65% of adults holding jobs.

Jobs per capita are down in those states but not enough to drop them much in the rankings, except for Iowa, which fell from 68% of adults holding jobs to 64%, and South Dakota, which improved slightly to take second place away from Iowa in the past two years.

That’s a typical pattern for the Upper Midwest, said David Drozd, research coordinator for the University of Nebraska’s Center for Public Affairs Research.

Those states have among the highest rates of two-earner couples, Drozd said, and that’s partly a cultural expectation.

“It’s sometimes referred to as the Midwest work ethic. People just work,” said Drozd. “It’s a culture of hard workers as well as a financial aspect of people and families needing to work to make ends meet.”

At the other end, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Kentucky and Louisiana have the fewest jobs per capita, with between 52% and 54% of adults holding jobs.

If there’s one thing experts agree on, it’s the unpredictability of what comes next.

“We have no idea what things will look like in six months. It won’t be comparable to anything that’s going on now,” said Dubay, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce economist.

15 companies that will let you work from home and are hiring now—some roles pay over $100K

Poike | Istock | Getty Images Originally Published CNBC   Published Tue, Nov 8 2022 -  Morgan Smith @THEWORDSMITHM Companies are scaling bac...