How Job Market Changes Affect Your Job Search – Competition

Jun 26 2012 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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The job market has changed dramatically since your last job search.

For many of you, it’s been awhile since you’ve last had to look for a job. Either you’ve been in your last job for many years, or you’ve always been recruited away from past jobs by former bosses, co-workers, friends/relatives or recruiters.

Many people respond that they haven’t had to look for a job in their entire career since they graduated college.

… But while you’ve been managing your career, huge changes have been occurring in the job market.

One of the biggest ways the job market has changed has been increased competition.

If you were searching for a job 10+ years ago, you were competing with an average 100 other applicants. If you were applying to a small company, you were competing with about 1/2 as many, or about 50.

The numbers were relatively small, because most companies still advertised for jobs in newspapers. While job boards and company jobsites were out there, they didn’t yet enjoy widespread adoption.

With the primary job advertising method still being the good ‘ol newspaper, applicants were limited to mostly local respondents. In addition, it took time to respond to newspaper ads, because they typically asked for resumes to be either snail mailed or faxed.

Individually printing a resume, cover letter and envelope took significantly more time. Greater time per resume meant that you couldn’t apply to as many jobs. When you increase the time commitment per job application, it means you’re much more selective about the jobs you apply for.

Then job boards changed everything …

Today, there are 50,000 job boards and most make applying for a job as simple as clicking submit and making job openings known throughout the world.

Job boards made it so easy to apply for a job that everyone applied. Since they dropped job application time to near zero for many openings, candidates could be much less selective about the jobs they applied for. So what if you don’t meet all of the minimum requirements or if you’re even remotely qualified? It only takes a second and you might get lucky meeting requirements of a different position … so why not?

The proliferation of job boards led to mass candidate competition for jobs, which exploded again when combined with job shortages.

Today, there are an average 1,000 candidates per advertised job. Even small companies that are just advertising on Craigslist regularly get 500 applicants. These averages are supported by a SimplyHired study that found 10 times more candidates are using job boards than 10 years ago.

We’re all guilty of the escalation of job competition … you are too. If you’ve applied for a job where you didn’t meet 100% of the minimum criteria, then you are also a part of the problem.

There’s no going back – Once we’ve gotten used to job applications that take a split-second, it’s tough to revert back to being selective towards the jobs we apply for.

Yet, you must recognize and adapt to the job search environment of mass competition. When you face 1,000 average competitors per job, realize that employers can’t look through every or even most of the applications sent.

Automated pre-screening and mass competition makes it a waste of job search time to apply for jobs where you don’t meet 100% of the minimum requirements. With 1,000 average applicants, employers will likely find applicants who meet all of the minimum requirements, even if it’s not you.


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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