Among the leading news items yesterday was an Associated Press story about job openings rising in April to the highest level in 16 months, a statistic that offers hope of increased hiring in the coming months.
The latest U.S. Department of Labor's Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey (JOLTS) showed that the number of jobs advertised at the end of April rose to 3.1 million from 2.8 million in March, the most openings since December 2008.
This report followed a disappointing employment report Friday that found private employers added only 41,000 jobs in May.
However, private employers are responsible for the entire net gain shown in the JOLT survey. Uncle Sam's advertising for jobs actually decreased, despite the hiring of hundreds of thousands of census workers in May.
Job openings have risen by about 740,000 since bottoming out at 2.3 million in July, 2009, yet they remain far below pre-recession levels of about 4.5 million openings per month.
The AP account cited other statistics/signs that more jobs may be on the horizon, such as the 1.6 point increase in the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) optimism index. The NFIB's employment index also rose to 1, the first positive reading in 19 months, which implies that more small businesses plan to add workers than cut them.
Also cited was Manpower's latest Employment Outlook Survey, which showed that U.S. employers anticipate favorable hiring plans for the third quarter, 2010, marking three straight quarters of positive survey findings.
Perhaps the strongest indicator for the average U.S. worker was the Labor Department's statement that the number of people quitting jobs topped total layoffs for the third straight month. Nearly 2 million people quit their jobs in April, an increase of about 130,000 over the past two months. As noted in the AP article, "an increasing number of people voluntarily leaving jobs is a sign of confidence in the employment market, economists say. Workers are less likely to cling to their jobs if they believe others are available."
As the AP report also noted, "the competition for jobs remains tough. There were 5 unemployed people, on average, for each job opening in April. That's down from 5.4 in the previous month, but well above pre-recession levels of 1.8 jobless workers per opening."
If you're looking for a job, it helps to understand your competition, which may have changed somewhat since the last time you went up against it. According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, nearly one-quarter of hiring managers (22 percent) reported that they are seeing more job seekers trying unusual tactics to capture their attention in 2010 compared to last year.
Jason Ferrara, senior career adviser at CareerBuilder said, "... more candidates are turning to unconventional tactics to attract the attention of hiring managers. While these tactics may work occasionally, they still need to be done with professionalism. That way, candidates are remembered for what they can offer an organization and not just for an unusual antic."
Nearly one-in-10 hiring managers said they hired someone who used an unconventional tactic to get their attention. Here are some of the tactics that worked:
- Candidate brought in a DVD of his former boss giving him a recommendation.
- Candidate applying for a casino table game position went into (hiring manager's) office and started dealing on desk while pretending to talk to players, which (illustrated) her guest service skills.
- Candidate sent in a letter that explained how to solve an issue (the hiring) company was having with a certain type of technology.
- Candidate who was a prospective teacher brought in a box of props to demonstrate her teaching style.
- Candidate came prepared with unique business cards featuring (hiring company's) logo and a self-introduction brochure.
- Candidate wrote a full business plan for one of (hiring company's) products with his resume submission.
- Candidate created a full graphics portfolio on (hiring company's) brand.
Looking for a job and have an unconventional interview idea up your sleeve? Just make sure it's professional, well-targeted, and well-executed. You don’t want to end up without the job and on lists of dumb interview moves like these and these.
Follow fabcomlady on Twitter.
Become a fan of The Fabricator® on Facebook.