Over the past year, some of the country’s largest employers, including Walmart, Amazon and Google, have cut thousands of jobs citing ‘global uncertainty, dwindling ad revenue, rising inflation and pandemic over hiring’. Yet despite layoffs making the headlines and making waves across sectors, the U.S. labor market posted a near-historic low of 1.4 million layoffs in November — less than 1% of the workforce — and there were 10.5 million job openings, or roughly 1.7 vacancies, per available worker, according to the latest Labor Department data.
So, whether you lost your job and are figuring out your next steps, or you are eyeing the next role that will help you level up in your career, you’ve got to outshine the competition to land the new gig you deserve. In 2023, hiring trends are continuing to emerge and evolve, and post-pandemic priorities are shifting for companies scoping out new talent.
The top skills employers are seeking in 2023
According to the LinkedIn 2023 Most In-Demand Skills report which uses information related to skills that are most sought after based on six months of data (April to October 2022) from employers, hirers, and job-posters on the networking platform, some experiences hold more weight than others. Topping the list is management, indicating that companies are seeking talent to step up and manage teams regardless of their environment.
Workforce Institute predicts that in 2023, capable and passionate managers will be in high demand, as organizations look to fill leadership vacancies amid rising disinterest in the role.
Communication, leadership, and teamwork are other high ranking in demand skills that applicants should highlight, as these skills help professionals succeed in an ongoing hybrid work environment. Experts are seeing a growing trend around candidates with a strong emotional intelligence and sense of empathy. Regardless of the role you’re applying for, these soft people skills are essential, and hiring managers know that the more awareness individuals have in the workplace, the better.
“Emotional intelligence and empathy allow individuals to lead teams effectively and build strong relationships, which are essential to successful companies and organizations,” explains Professional coach and Perfeqta Head of Culture and Client Partnerships, Dr. Tamara Dias.
Executive career coach and creator of Livlyhood, Britt Larsen, points out that project management certifications and coding skills are increasingly valuable, but also advises clients to lean into soft skills, “Technical skills are highly sought after but more than ever employers are interested in soft skills like curiosity, empathy, collaboration, and problem solving,” says Larsen.
Stay on trend
Remaining in the know about industry specific trends is essential. One of the most universal qualities employers look for in a candidate is a clear willingness to learn new skills. Staying on trend and in the know about the latest industry news and updates can demonstrate your eagerness to earn, embrace technology, and highlight your dedication to grow. Increasing your awareness and knowledge of industry news will also help you in your application process. Larsen says she always advises her clients to reference news and trends in at least two to three interview answers.
“That doesn’t take much work other than reading what the company is up to (press releases and LinkedIn are a great resource) and setting up Google alerts to check the news daily in your desired industry,” Larsen suggests.
“As a candidate, you want to show that you’re aware of how the industry is evolving, and how you see yourself aligning within those changes,” says Dias. “You don’t have to know everything, but reading an article on LinkedIn weekly could give you a boost of awareness.”
Avoid this top mistake
Even the most talented, qualified candidates can make mistakes that cost them a job offer. We asked the pros what the most common mistake is that they see repeated over and over again in the candidate pool. The biggest recurring deal breaker is not tailoring job application materials to the specific role you’re applying for. While the application process is tedious, candidates that use the same resume and cover letter for every job they apply to are almost guaranteeing they won’t receive a call back or make it to the final round of interviews.
“You want to ensure that your materials accurately reflect your expertise and accomplishments, but also clearly demonstrate how you align with the needs of the position,” explains Dias. “Recruiters don’t have a ton of time to read your materials and try to understand how your experiences connect with the role, so it’s up to you to tell the story to them.”
On average, recruiters are skimming resumes for under 10 seconds a piece to weed out prospective new hires from the dreaded “no” pile. To achieve a role at a company you admire and respect, even the most qualified candidates have to put in the additional time and effort to appeal directly to businesses on an individual scale. While the job search can be taxing, Larsen says the formula for success is quite simple: if you want a drastically different company, salary, role or environment, you’re going to have to do things really differently than you’ve done in the past.
“They want a drastic change but then they make minor changes to their resumes and apply to similar companies and similar roles, and then wonder why they’re still miserable. My best advice is to do a dream job search; come up with your top ten companies you’d love to work for and find jobs that look interesting that you may or may not qualify for,” says Larsen. “Then recognize what commonalities and themes you can find and make those your non-negotiables as you search.”
Confidence is key
Practicing interview questions with a trusted friend, mentor or colleague before a high stakes conversation is both important and impactful. Nervous energy tends to involuntarily lead to upswings in voice inflection. When this happens, a candidate’s ask tends to feel more tentative than self assured, so experts suggest a downward tone is key.
Alex Carter, negotiations expert, WSJ best-selling author and Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Mediation Clinic at Columbia Law School says repetition is hugely helpful to hone in on confidence. “When you have a very clear sense of where you want to be, what you need, even what you’re feeling, writing down all of those feelings and seeing them on the page releases some of the power they have over you. If you write down how you achieved something you’re proud of, it’s data because it tells you who you are when you are operating at your highest level,” says Carter.
Whatever attributes make an individual their highest, most confident self – those are the traits to lean into during the application, interview, and eventually the negotiation talk process. Bringing this mindset to the table will automatically generate more calm energy and confidence in the face of uncertainty.
While it can be hard to hold on to self confidence amidst rejection letters, it can mean the difference between landing a dream job and settling on a salary that’s below your paygrade.
“So many times, people get discouraged and choose to accept whatever their potential employer offers them,” Dias warns. “This can result in accepting a lower salary than you want, not getting certain benefits, or even taking a role that you know you don’t want. In order to avoid ending up in an unhappy work situation, I encourage job hunters to remain confident in the process.”
If you’re struggling with feelings of discouragement, Larsen advises you to aim for 15 to 20 applications per week for faster results.
“It is a numbers game,” says Larsen. “I always tell my clients if they qualify or enjoy 70% of a job description, they should apply…for my clients who do this right, it pays off.”
“When as women we don’t get a certain number of opportunities, we look inward. I reject the notion that women can be too confident,” says Carter. “If you are shining too bright a light in a room and they don’t want you for that room, thank goodness. You are being redirected to a place that will be able to handle your bright light.”
Photo from Christina @ WoC in Tech