NEW YORK (MainStreet) With the U.S. unemployment rate down to 7.5% and the civilian workforce participation rate down to 63.3%, (down about 9.5 million since 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), U.S. job-seekers have less competition than they have faced at any time in the past four years.
In fact, some job-seekers may find themselves in demand for the first time almost a half-decade. According to Robert Half International, some slivers of sunlight are indeed starting to shine on the U.S. job market:
- There's a "global war" for quality employees. Half says there will be "a shortfall of up to 18 million highly skilled workers in advanced economies, including the U.S., by 2020.
- It's tough finding good professional help. About 66% of global firms say they face recruiting challenges for specific job openings, up 14% two years ago.
- More staffers are cutting ties with corporations. Approximately 2.2 million career professionals voluntarily left their jobs in February, an 18% upward spike from 2011, Half reports.
- Companies are recruiting talent. Almost 20% of U.S. workers say they have been approached by a company or recruiter for posts they didn't apply for or seek.
To take full advantage, career professionals seeking a job upgrade may want to pause, take a breath, and set the stage for a winning job search.
Item No. 1 in that strategy should be cleaning up your online persona before embarking on a job hunt.
According to Monster Worldwide, the Maynard, Mass., online job search behemoth, 73% of U.S. workers say it's a great idea to "scrub" one's online image before a job search. (The firm conducted a survey of 1,275 U.S. adults to find that number.)