What every student dreams of is finding a good job after college. At the same time, everyone understands that in today’s economy and with the current competition on the market, it’s almost a Mission impossible. And even people of older generations agree that it is not like anything they have seen throughout their lives.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Despite a seemingly low unemployment rate of 3.5%, the current job market is perceived as one of the toughest in decades.
  • Many Reddit users highlight practices by companies that contribute to the challenging job market: including vacillating decisions on job requisitions, unrealistic expectations for potential hires, and tendencies to prefer underpaying and exploiting workers rather than seeking out quality employees
  • Job seekers, especially recent graduates, are encouraged to proactively utilize available resources. Crafting a compelling CV, seeking job offers through trusted and niche platforms, and engaging confidently with recruiters can enhance one’s chances of landing their first offer.

One Reddit user shared his frustration with the current state of employment on the discussion platform. It seemed like he opened a wound for many other users with his statement:

“I have a master’s and 10 years of experience and am struggling since a layoff on 3/31. I get interviews, but apparently, companies are getting so many applicants it doesn’t matter. Does anyone else feel this way? I last looked for a job unemployed during the great recession and not even that was this bad… Constant ghosting, internal picked over me or no one hired and position still “open” months later. F**k this job market. The only jobs that exist are low-pay trash jobs no one wants.”

There were a lot of people who agreed with the initial post. To better understand their perspective, however, let’s look at what is really happening in the current job market.

Unemployment, Layoffs, and Competition – Today’s World’s Smoothie?

Back in January, there was uncertainty regarding the economic development of the U.S. Inflation and higher interest rates continued to influence the job market, making way for more layoffs and hiring freezes. Nonetheless, what was seen throughout the year, is the trend for job market growth. 

As surprising as it may be, the current unemployment rate (measured last at the end of July) is 3.5%. Last year at the same time this rate ranged from 3.7% to 3.4%. This is considered to be pretty low, especially considering the trends that many economists and employees were seeing at the beginning of the year. At the same time, the job growth that we all noticed at the beginning of the summer started to slow down.

But what about work opportunities? Are they doing any better? U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job openings fell to 9.6 million in June 2023. Still, this is considered to be a high level for this aspect. It seems that the general picture is not as grim as you would think. Still, there’s much competition and the employers’ search for talent is not over. So, it’s true that finding a job, even despite lower unemployment and a higher level of opportunities, is not an easy task.

Especially for students. Today, recent graduates need to be prepared to build up their skills and look beyond their degree labels to be able to land a job. And if you are looking to work remotely, mind that there are not as many positions available with that options compared to the previous year, as only 35% of fully remote positions are available now. The competition for those is also steep, as students got used to studying online and are now looking for opportunities to do the same on their job.

What Reddit Has to Say

So now, with all the stats in mind, let’s move back to Reddit and its users; experiences. The OP’s post has gained much reaction within the community. The most common narrative was that today’s job market is not only chaotic but also deeply fake:

“I met up with some former co-workers (in biotech) who are currently employed, and they gave me an interesting internal perspective on what’s going on, at least anecdotally. All are attempting to hire, and all are seeing the same thing: recs are opened, then leadership orders them to be frozen weeks later. Budgets are approved, then thrown out the window before the quarter is out. Upper management is demanding plug-and-play employees (99% fit) even for roles where skills are usually transferrable. Recruiters get laid off and their candidates are simply forgotten/dropped. Basically, it’s chaos and uncertainty all around.”

“Wife is a pharmacist at one of the local oncology locations, they just spent millions building a new building but even though their workload almost doubled guess what, they didn’t hire a second pharmacist or extra techs. Just the same old crew that already struggled with the previous workload. Apply this to every other job market out there and this is what we have to deal with it. As another commenter said every company is trying to run with skeletal crews now to maximize profits for those at the top.”

“Noticing how many jobs get listed one week, taken down the next, then reposted with a lower salary offering has got me thinking employers aren’t actually motivated to hire. They just wanna wait until folks are desperate enough to take any offer. I saw a Chief Development Officer role offered at $25/hr (in Seattle, WA). That’s not even enough to afford a studio apartment nowadays! I reached out to their HR team to learn more, and was ghosted after an initial conversation.”

Others also noticed a drastic decrease in decent recruiters, which they also saw as one of the problems with today’s employment:

“Yep. Combined with the collapse of professional recruiting, it does kinda suck. People are literally just pulling buzzwords out of the sky and calling it a position, then the descriptions are written by people who have no idea what the job is…so they make up a wishlist of skills, experience, and education that no one person could possibly have, nor do they need to do the job listed. If it’s not that, it’s the flooding of shit recruiters, with shit, low-wage, contract jobs, but they still want you to have a fucking master’s degree or some other unrealistic bullshit. It’s a free for all out there. No sanity, no standards, no reality, no professionalism.”

“I read this post recently about how all the students who got C’s in high school go into recruiting and oh man it’s so true lol”

Others shared their own experiences of having a rough time finding a job, and agreed that it’s almost impossible to find anything in the current state of things:

“I’m experiencing this too. Nearly every single employer in my field is short-staffed and has openings but despite a decade of experience, great recommendations, and a master’s degree, I don’t even get called to interviews. And honestly, I wouldn’t mind if they found someone else but the job posting stays up for months! And they won’t even interview me. And I know it isn’t an automated system weeding me out because my field doesn’t really use those.”

“I’m with ya buddy. Accomplished GM with Hilton and I can’t get anything. Saw a job in my city yesterday with starting pay of $8.11. It’s absolutely crazy out here. Even the temp agencies ghost me and I’m not even looking for hotel jobs, I am applying to EVERYTHING”

“I’m amazed at how little the Media is talking about this. This job market is starting to look like 2008, the housing market is in crisis, rents are astronomical nationwide and wages aren’t keeping up. We’re about 1-2 years away from a full-blown economic collapse.”

“Companies don’t want quality employees anymore, especially ones with experience who know their value. Companies want employees they can underpay and easily exploit. And most jobs have been like that for the last 20 years and it’s just been creeping up higher on the ladder”

So, the general trend is… The job market is tough despite all the positive rates and predictions. No matter how low the unemployment level dropped, thousands of people are struggling to find any position to make ends meet. The question is not even about your qualifications, as, some Redditors mentioned, you can as well be overqualified for the offer as underqualified. It’s about an unfair game that employers decided to play with potential workers with the power being clearly at one side only.

The 2023 job market, like any evolving landscape, presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. To stand out, it’s crucial to use all available resources effectively. 

Navigating the 2023 Job Market: A Guide for Students and Graduates 
Image: freepik.com

Creating a Successful CV

Use platforms like LinkedIn’s Resume Builder or services like VisualCV to craft a compelling and modern resume. These tools guide you in highlighting your achievements and tailoring your CV to specific industries. 

Seeking Job Offers

Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn remain at the forefront of job listings. However, also consider niche job boards tailored to specific fields or industries, as these can offer specialized opportunities. 

Engaging with Recruiters

When speaking to recruiters, clarity and confidence is key. Be honest about your experience, but also emphasize your eagerness to learn and adapt. It’s beneficial to research the company beforehand, showcasing your interest and initiative. By asking insightful questions and expressing genuine enthusiasm for the role, you increase your chances of landing that all-important interview. Remember, preparation and adaptability are your greatest allies in this journey.

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