So many job openings, but so hard to get hired

The Labor Department just released statistics that show that job openings in June are at a 13-year high. But while hiring is also up, it's not nearly at the levels that the job openings are. For job-hunters, the disconnect can be frustrating and painful.

What's going on, and how can you get around this?

Not all jobs posted will be filled. Sometimes businesses post jobs with no intention of actually filling them. They're looking for applicants to put in their files so that they have a supply of candidates when a job does open up. Sometimes, positions are posted, but then internal changes remove the need to fill them. Sometimes, job openings are real, but a company promotes someone internally, and then post that vacancy. That can make it look like two jobs are open, but the company is really hiring only one person.

Companies often look for a "perfect fit" that doesn't exist. With unemployment being high, many employers expect that the perfect candidate will just show up at their door. The problem is, it's rare to find a person who's exactly right, with all the relevant skills. People who can do everything an employer is looking for want to move to a higher job to further expand their skills. Therefore, there's a lack of fit.

People are trained for the wrong things. Where are the new jobs? A lot of them are in areas such as oil-field work or truck drivers. You can get training in these things, but it takes some time.

So, what can you do to get over that gap between posted jobs and landing a job?

Be willing to do something less than ideal. So, your dream is to be a poet. There's not a lot of money in poetry. Get training in area that is hiring and write poetry on the side. Or maybe what you want to do has plenty of openings in other towns, but you're not willing to relocate. Then, you need to change your goals.

Learn to explain why you'd be good at a job you're not perfect for. A resume lists your skills, and a cover letter explains why you'd be great for a particular job. If you're not a perfect fit for the job, use your cover letter to explain how you can get the skills you'll need and why you'd be a great fit for the company in general.

Don't quit without a new job lined up. Your boss is a jerk, the pay is awful and the hours are even worse. Still, you should stick with it. It's far, far easier to find a new job when you have one. A lot of employers ignore people who are currently unemployed. If it's at all possible to find a new job before leaving your current one, do so. If you think you might get fired or laid off in the near future, start looking now. Don't stick around hoping for severance. Find a new job now.

Talk directly to hiring managers. Recruiters are often in the position of trying to reject candidates rather than hire one. If you can get a hiring manager interested in you, you get to bypass human resources, and that saves you time. It may also allow you to land the job the company's hiring software would have rejected you for.

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