Things are looking up for job seekers. According to the Department of Labor, December 2011 marked a three-year high for job postings, and while the numbers dipped slightly in January, they were again on the rise as of February, the latest month for which data is available. Just because employers are hiring doesn’t mean you’re assured of a job, however, so how are you going to differentiate yourself?
If the Great Recession has taught us anything, it’s that competition for jobs can be fierce. Under healthy economic conditions, roughly two people compete for every job opening, yet there were as many as seven candidates for each available position in 2009. Now, with 12.8 million people unemployed and 3.5 million jobs available, there are roughly four people per each open job. And when you consider that most jobseekers apply for a number of different openings at the same time, it’s clear that the competition level is actually exponentially higher than that.