Ever dreamed of just quitting your job? You’re not alone.
The ‘quits rate,’ defined by the U.S. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics as “voluntary separations initiated by employees,” reached nearly 4 million in April 2021. This is the highest level measured since the BLS began tracking voluntary separations in December 2000. Hence, last spring marked the start of “The Great Resignation.”
Spurred on by altered job and social conditions during the pandemic, and fueled by the slew of job opportunities as pandemic restrictions ebbed, the quits rate remained at historically high levels over a year later, in June 2022.
The Great Resignation is now old enough to collect data and draw some conclusions on the success of these job jumps. Calculations by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, for example, found that people who quit for a better job saw their wages jump by a record 6.7% on average in the subsequent 12 months at their new employer. This was nearly two percentage points higher than those who remained in the same role for the same company.
What’s more, a recent survey of more than 15,000 Joblist users and job seekers found that only about one in four people who quit their previous job regret their decision. While 42% say that their new job has not lived up to their expectations, this means that among millions of job jumpers, over half are finding at least minimal upgrades at their new gig.
If you’re one of those people getting the itch to level up your job during this great shift, here are a few tips on how to shine amidst the hordes packing up tent poles and moving onto greener, better-paid pastures.
The best time to apply is now
Studies vary on when is the best time of year to apply for jobs. December to February can be one of the worst times of year to apply because year-end campaigns are wrapping with new initiatives launching. For some firms, however, this opens the coffers to add new employees. For some businesses, this means wrapping up budgets and allocating resources before dedicating money to new employees.
In the same vein, the summer is typically a slower season as families vacation, and employees tend to take long breaks. Business continues, but not at the same pace as during the spring and fall. With 528,000 jobs added this past July, however, it’s been a seller’s market, with power shifting to workers as companies experience a massive shortage of help. Politico reports that this pendulum may be swinging back, but the point remains: if you’re ready to look for new work, there’s no point trying to time the market. There’s no better time than now.
Spitshine your resume
If you don’t recognize the face in the dark YouTube screenshot, that’s the since-passed Frank Vincent playing gangster Billy Batts in Goodfellas. In the scene, Batts tells Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) to, “Go home and get your shine box,” an insult based on DeVito’s earlier work as a shoeshine boy. Despite suffering fatal consequences for the quip, Batts provides quality advice for all you job seekers out there: spitshine your resume until it’s gleaming.
The pandemic very well could have led to a gap in employment or strange turns in your career. Instead of skipping over them and leaving an obvious temporal hole in your CV, take advantage of the time off to show a potential employer how you sparkle outside of work.
Maybe you took up volunteer work, helped to take care of the kids, or tutored the neighbor kid to bridge virtual schooling. Any and all assistance that you gave outside of work is a chance to show your get-up-and-go, commitment to community, proactivity, and other transferable skills hiring managers are looking for.
Make sure that you also take algorithms into account upon submitting your digital CV as it will likely have to navigate its way through a bot searching for keywords. When reading the job description, keep close attention to functional words. Ensure that you get through this gauntlet by verifying that you use similar phrasing to ensure passage through AI.
Highlight your accomplishments
Don’t just describe the experience — provide the accomplishment.
“Provided deep knowledge and uplifted critical thinking skills that assisted a student not only excel on their AP exam, but earned them college credit and boosted their application to X university,” sounds a lot better than, “Helped a student get through World History.”
When considering resume bullets, always make the extra step from “What did I do?” to “What did I accomplish?” during your tenure.
Encourage people to recruit you
Did you know that it’s the mission of thousands and thousands of people to find and bring talent into thriving companies? Why not help yourself out by introducing yourself to a few recruiters out there?
A 2012 Jobvite study found that 93% of hiring managers use LinkedIn to recruit potential employees. Think that’s subsided in the last 10 years? If so, think again.
To find a recruiter, simply search for ‘recruiter’ on LinkedIn and align them to possible jobs, companies, or connections on the social network. Connecting with two or three relevant recruiters will not only double or triple the amount of people helping to look for your new job, these human resources become allies, giving you a leg-up and a voice in the ear of hiring managers.
Make your LinkedIn page pop
When applying for work, one of the first things that employers are going to do is surf over to your LinkedIn page if they’re interested in exploring your candidacy. LinkedIn could be an entire entry unto itself, but it’s key that your profile makes an impactful initial impression and leaves a lasting imprint. A 2018 LinkedIn study also found that profiles with a photo receive 21 times more profile views and nine times more connection requests than those without them.
The first step in this is an engaging photo descriptive of you at work. Your background should also be eye-catching and hint at a story about you. The point is to get people interested in learning more about who you are. If they’re hooked, you need to keep them on the page with similarly appealing “About,” “Features, and “Experience” sections. How you found yourself on this particular career path is a critical story to weave. This makes you stand out from peers and lets organizations know what you’ve learned, how this has shaped your craft, and what value you can bring.
Also use also the strategies described in the resume section. Words commonly found on job descriptions you’re looking at need to be incorporated into your profile’s about and experience sections.
Shore up your social media
Shoring up your social media could also exist as its own article. We’ll provide the keys here, but if you’re still feeling unsure, there are lots of resources to dig in deeper.
Every neck tattoo should read "I'm not getting the job, am I?"
— Alex Baze (@bazecraze) March 30, 2011
The same guidelines on LinkedIn apply to Twitter, Instagram, and other social media: leave a lasting impression. Engage readers and users with a lively bio and intriguing visuals. Take engagement a step further than other potential applicants by not only following your industry’s influencers, but inviting them into discussions by responding and/or reposting resonant social messages. Heck, you can even ask for likes or reposts back. This is a shareable world and you might engender some important new fans.
Social media offers an incredible ability to access and to connect with people in your industry. Don’t be shy about connecting with companies and people that you respect and emulate. Who knows when an opportunity will arise? When it does, you’ll already have an inside edge because of pre-planning and forging relationships.
Develop inside contacts and learn company cultures
When you’ve found your dream job, another way to get a leg up on fellow applicants is to touch base with employees where you’re applying.
EVERY COMPANY: We'd like to promote mental health in the workplace.
EMPLOYEES: How about hiring more people so we feel less pressured & increase our pay so we can keep up with the spiraling cost of living so we're not so stressed out.
EVERY COMPANY: No not like that. Try Yoga.
— Patrick (@PatJD) March 20, 2019
Connecting with potential co-workers could potentially give you an ally in the hiring process in addition to an inside view into company culture. What looks like a wonderful world from the outside could be a nightmare inside. Connecting with someone in a similar role helps you build perspective on a possible employer’s culture and expectations.
Already know someone at the firm? Perfect. Now link up with someone else. Having multiple insider allies is better than only one.
Verbalize your aspirations
Moving places of employment is not easy. Before you embark on a job search that will require many months of dedication, ensure that you know what you want to do, how much you want to get paid to do it, and where you want to go. Landing a new gig begins with clarity of focus and purposeful direction.
Now go out there and kick some butt!
- Survey: You’re more likely to ditch self-improvement apps than Netflix or Disney+
- This site helps you get started with Reddit (so say goodbye to your free time)
- There’s a new way to play the game of pickleball right in your own living room
- You may be happier if you move to Europe, but you won’t make more money
- This site lets you cheat (and win) at Wordle