Job satisfaction held steady for workers in 2009, but pessimism and desperation plague many job seekers who remain grim about prospects for the job market in 2010, according to a new survey.
In an annual study of job satisfaction among U.S. workers, Yahoo! HotJobs found that 38.3% are "very satisfied" with their jobs and are not looking to change jobs, compared to 38.5% last year.
Most of the workers who said they were very unsatisfied and looking for new jobs were employees who had been hired within the last year. Those recent hires also reported applying for jobs below their qualifications (34%) or accepting a lower salary (30%).
"For employers, the news about unsatisfied recent hires is a warning sign," says Chris Merritt, general manager of Yahoo! HotJobs. "These are the people who could leave once the economy turns."
A Sluggish Recovery?
But nearly half of job seekers don't expect the economy to improve in 2010, according to the survey. When asked how long it would take to find a new job today, about 40% of respondents expected the process to take six months or longer.
"Improvements in the job market may not be that evident in the labor market statistics until 2011 or later," says John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "However, job seekers should not assume that simply because unemployment figures continue to hover in the nine- to 10-percent range that no one is hiring."
In fact, nearly a third (32%) of managers and recruiters who took the Yahoo! HotJobs survey expected to increase hiring activity in 2010.
Staying Competitive Today
To maximize your chances of landing a job this year, Challenger and other experts recommend the following tips:
Network. Join professional groups, and stay in contact with former associates. Spread the word about your job hunt. Tell everyone in your network about your situation and the type of opportunity you're seeking.
Cast a wide net. Look beyond your usual industry; many of your skills may be transferrable. Use job-listing sites like Yahoo! HotJobs, but also examine industry-specific sites or company sites for your target employers, and don't forget alumni career resource sites, if possible.
Customize each resume. Tailor your resumes to the job description, which will also provide useful key words. Take your time with each resume, as it is the first impression you make on the hiring manager.
"Not tailoring a resume is a huge mistake, because employers want their particular needs and problems addressed," says Lauren Milligan of ResumeMayDay.com. "Tailoring a resume shows that you have researched the company, or at the very least, read their job posting. Not tailoring it is a huge hurdle to overcome because other candidates will have been insightful enough to do this and will gain a competitive edge over you."
Don't get overwhelmed. If unemployed, commit to action every day. Your job search should be like full-time job. Carve out a specific time every day to focus on doing it well. Set small goals for yourself and measure your progress.
Reach out to your support systems. A lengthy job search can take a toll on your self-esteem and increase a sense of pessimism. To combat this, make an effort to connect with the people you care about. Their support will help you maintain a positive attitude.
Get new-job alerts from Yahoo! HotJobs on Twitter by selecting to follow the appropriate account here: http://twitter.com/yahoohotjobs/following. Choose the "list" view, and select to follow accounts based on relevant metros/industries.