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By Robert Half December 17, 2020 at 12:06pm

November job openings were at 6.8 million. Here is a summary of key data from the November Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS):

  • Job openings: 6.8 million
  • People hired: 5.8 million
  • People who left their jobs (total): 5.6 million
  • People who left their jobs (voluntarily quit): 3.5 million
  • People who left their jobs (layoff or involuntary reason): 1.7 million

While it remains a job candidate’s market for those with the right skills, you still need to do all you can to distinguish yourself from the competition. A recent Robert Half survey of more than 2,400 senior managers revealed what’s in and out in the job search today:

Strategically use social media

Networking on social media with employees at a company of interest is the top action job seekers can take to get a leg up on the competition, the research suggests.

A word of caution: Before sending a connection request or message, carefully review your social media profiles so you can remove anything that might appear unprofessional. Also make sure your LinkedIn profile is fully up to date so that anyone reading it can quickly get a clear sense of your abilities, work history and accomplishments.

Link up

If you have an online portfolio or personal website, include a link to it in your application materials and LinkedIn profile. Forty-seven percent of senior managers in our survey said doing so can help candidates move forward in the hiring process.

Don’t forget the cover letter

Think the cover letter is a relic of a bygone error? Think again. Fifty-eight percent of the senior managers surveyed said they prefer to receive cover letters and find them very valuable.

A well-researched cover letter allows you to demonstrate your knowledge about the company you’re applying to and its industry. You can also use your cover letter to direct the employer’s attention to those aspects of your resume that are most pertinent to the open position.

When applying through online job boards, always select the option to add your cover letter to your resume. When emailing application materials to an employer, paste your cover letter within the body of your message.

Avoid gimmicks

Hiring managers said the top tactics that hurt a job candidate’s chances are including cartoon images (for example, Bitmojis or caricatures) and using colorful fonts or backgrounds on application materials. While these have become mainstream in personal texts and emails, it’s best to avoid colors and images on resumes and cover letters.

If you’ve resolved to get a new job in 2020, working with a professional staffing specialist can make the process easier and faster. Experienced, well-connected recruiters can help you refine your application materials and alert you to job opportunities not yet advertised.

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