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The challenges of the modern job marketTUESDAY, JULY 30, 2013 13:31 PM

The challenges of the modern job market Following several years of high unemployment, many job seekers should be relieved to know that in June, the nation's unemployment rate sat at 7.6 percent. While this figure is lower than the 8.2 percent and 9.5 percent unemployment rates of June 2012 and 2009, respectively, finding work still proves challenging.

Of course, individuals who are frustrated with their job status can turn to tools and resources that could help them become better candidates, such as an aptitude test, resume writing services and employment agencies. Aside from these options, it is also important for job seekers to know what types of challenges exist in today's job market. Here are a few obstacles they may have to overcome:

A lengthy application process
With so many people looking for work these days, employers have to find ways to narrow down the pool of applicants. One way to accomplish this is through an application process that is more complicated than many are used to.

For example, Kathleen Brady, a certified career coach and corporate trainer, told CBS MoneyWatch that job applicants may be required to complete a 20-page online questionnaire. While some individuals would prefer to simply submit a resume and cover letter, it is essential for them to follow the directions if they want to be considered for the position in question.

"If you just write 'see the resume' a real person may see the application and think you're not serious about the job because you didn't put the time in to fill it out," Brady told the news source.

To avoid becoming burnt out during the job search, Brady recommends applying to fewer jobs and really spending time on each application, rather than rushing through countless applications.

Ignoring new ways of searching
If individuals have held jobs before, they may believe their usual approach to finding work will serve them well. However, the job market is always evolving, while job seekers are only becoming savvier. Those who resist change are likely to miss out on promising employment opportunities.

For example, in-person networking is still important, but so is connecting through social media websites. Individuals who have yet to create a LinkedIn or Facebook page are missing out on valuable job search tools.

"Simply put, social networks provide a way for job seekers to tap into a large pool of job opportunities easily," Dan Finnigan, the chief executive officer of Jobvite, told Business Insider. "Job seekers have become increasingly frustrated at searching for jobs online and getting no response, and they intuitively know that the best opportunities are found through people not search engines."

In addition, job seekers may want to skip employment websites that handle multiple industries and instead focus their efforts on niche job boards. Afifa Siddiqi, Careerleaf's co-founder, told the news source that niche job boards will become a valuable resource for candidates this year, as they help them identify positions that match their skill set.

Assumptions about older applicants
As older adults compete with job seekers who are fresh out of college, they may find themselves battling certain assumptions regarding their skills. Some hiring managers may believe an older candidate is unfamiliar with modern technology or think they are too old to put in the effort that will be required of them.

While unfair, this is a challenge too many older applicants have had to tackle. Barry Maher, a consultant and author, told CBS MoneyWatch that adults need to confront these issues right away.

"Older applicants need to deal with the negative perceptions of age and to stress the positives they've picked up because of experience," Maher told the news outlet. "Ideally, they should show that age and experiences make them stronger, even in those very qualities the employer associates with youth."


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