Frustrated by the miserable job picture? The good news is that even though things are bad, they're picking up. The government recently reported that unemployment claims dropped below 400,000 for the first time since 2008. And ADP says 297,000 private sector jobs were created last month.
The news came as little surprise to experts at Indeed.com, a job search site that has been reporting steep gains in job postings for the past two months. Every one of the dozen industries the site tracks are seeking vastly more workers today than they were a year ago, according to Indeed spokesman Michael Werch. (Check the links below to find 2.7 million advertised jobs in specific industries.)
But before you apply, you should do some spade work to ensure that your resume isn't overlooked, said Joe Carroll, author of "How to Get a Great Job in 90 Days or Less."
Your first step?
Figure out what you want to do
That may sound obvious, but most people fall into jobs before they consider what best suits them, Carroll says. Unemployment gives you the chance to rethink the kind of work you want and where you could best have an impact. You may have been a liquor salesman, for example, but have a personal passion for all things environmental. If so, consider redirecting your search to industries where that passion will help you succeed, like selling energy-saving window coverings; hybrid automobiles or solar heating services.
Find out who does it best
Now go to the web and start searching for the companies in this industry that are the biggest, strongest and fastest growing. Make a list of 25 companies that you'd like to work for and that have operations in the cities where you want to work.
Create an elevator pitch
Why you? Why now? What unique skills do you bring to the table? You need to be able to explain what makes you special in 2 minutes or less. Write it down. Practice saying it so you won't stall or stutter when asked. You want your pitch to be so clear and compelling that weeks later, when the person you spoke to is having lunch with his boss, he'll say: "I know the perfect person for this job!"
The best way to get your resume on the top of the pile is to be the "referred" candidate, says Carroll. Figure out who you know who knows someone at the companies that you want to work for; then see if they'll introduce you to your future boss.
"People don't like to hire strangers," says Carroll. "If someone is willing to introduce you and give you a referral, that's worth its weight in gold."
Where the jobs are
Where can you find work? Follow the links below to find out how many jobs are available in these industries, what they require and where you can find them. In each industry, Werch has identified top job descriptions and employers and linked to where those jobs and employers list their opportunities.
Job Search: Health Care is Hot
Job Search: Who's Hiring in Retail
Job Search: IT Firms want you (389,000 of you)!
Job Search: Who's Hiring Bankers and Brokers
Job Search: Opportunities in Accounting
Job Search: You Drive? Jobs for Drivers and Delivery
Job Search: Manufacturing Positions Up For Grabs
Job Search: Opportunities in Hotels & Hospitality
Job Search: Teaching in Schools and Corporations
Job Search: Calling all Carpenters, Plumbers and Builders
Media Jobs: Tweet Me on Facebook
Job Search: Real Estate Jobs Few and Far Between