The holiday season is upon us, and the cold weather may have you thinking of letting your job search hibernate. Though the temperatures have fallen, it’s still a good time to stay hot on the trail of a new career. So let’s dive into some tips as well as an assessment from Sharahn, our resident career coach. Here’s what the job market looks like and how you can maximize your networking productivity as you approach the end of the year.
Hiring Cooling Off, but Tech Remains a Good Bet
The job growth numbers for October 2023 are in. The U.S. Department of Labor reported about 150k jobs added, a lower number than was expected. Though this number missed the expected mark, it is still part of a 3-year rebound as the job market continues to recover from the pandemic.
While jobs were indeed added to the overall market, 2023 was a rough year for tech in terms of layoffs. There were 224,503 tech layoffs through the first 10 months of 2023. This number represents a 50% year-over-year increase from 2022, but should not be a cause for alarm in 2024.
While a quarter of a million layoffs is a large number, a majority came during the first three months of 2023, with over 90,000 occurring in January alone. Since then, there has been a steep drop-off in these numbers, and there were only 4,632 layoffs in September.
The decline in tech layoffs pairs with the historically low 2.1% tech unemployment rate, which has stayed below the overall job market rate. Part of this low rate can be attributed to companies lifting their hiring freezes for the second half of 2023. Companies have begun hiring again as they look towards staffing for 2024 goals. All signs point to now being a great time to start or continue your job search.
How to Succeed in a Job Search
Everyone’s path toward landing a job looks different, but there are common ingredients that can lead to success. One of the most important parts of a fruitful job search is maintaining and building a strong network.
The holiday season is a time when both big and small networking events are plentiful. Effective networking is a crucial skill for professional development, and the only way to excel is to practice. The end of the year is a great opportunity for this.
After all, networking is a great investment for both immediate results and long-term goals, so whether you are looking for a job now, or planning on a switch months or even years in the future, skills here will be crucial.
Holiday events offer you the chance to have one-on-one talks. These conversations are more than just asking about a job; they are also a chance to learn and to tell others about yourself.
Informational Interviews: More Than Just Coffee
Informational interviews are one-on-one talks that go beyond landing a job. They are conversations about someone’s company and its roles, transferable skills from your current position, and even the background of the person you’re talking to. They are a great way to find commonalities while learning about opportunities.
Here are 5 tips and strategies for great informational interviews:
1. Don’t be overly formal.
You don’t want to come off as stiff or put your colleague in a defensive mindset, so focus on being open and connecting on a personal level.
2. Try to listen more.
You never know what experiences someone else may have that can help you understand a company, role, or even a new career better.
3. Offer something of value in return.
Whether it's a link to an article or another useful resource, showing some reciprocity to someone for their time is a great way to make a good impression.
4. Know your event or speakers.
If you know who you are going to talk to, do some research: who are they and what are they about? This will lead to more informed and interesting conversations.
5. Write conversation questions in advance.
Knowing what you want to ask before you talk will give you confidence during your meeting and make the conversation feel smoother.
Following these tips can lead to easier and deeper informational interviews. You can feel more prepared, and your colleague will enjoy a pleasant interaction.
The last piece of advice for this job market overview is to focus on what you can control. The holiday season can be filled with stories of out-of-office or otherwise unavailable hiring managers, hiring freezes, and other job search derailments. You can’t control a company’s schedule, so focus on what’s in your control: taking steps toward your goals. And in certain ways, the end of the year even offers its own perks for job searchersIs the New Year the Best Time to Look for a New Role? We Think So..
If you would like even more in-depth information on the current job market trends and deeper explanations for successful networking and informational interviews, check out our full video below!
And even when you have a job, your career keeps growing. Stay informed on the current job market and find ways to improve as a professional and a networker by subscribing to TripleTen’s job market newsletter.