By Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs
If you're like most workers, you're waiting anxiously for the US economic recovery to begin. While some economists believe it's coming, professionals are still behaving cautiously.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates in November 2011 were lower in 351 of 372 US metropolitan areas compared with a year earlier. Even so, the national unemployment rate is still 8.6 percent, with 13.3 million people out of work. You may be tempted to put off searching for a new job as a result of such news.
"This is probably the worst job market most of us have experienced, but that creates opportunity as well," says Ron Katz, president of Penguin Human Resource Consulting.
Find out why this could be the right time for you to find your next opportunity.
Job Security Is a Thing of the Past
A lot of people are happy "just to have a job" and worry about leaving the devil they know for the devil they don't. However, "just because you have a job today does not mean that you won't be looking tomorrow," Katz says.
The absence of job security coupled with unhappiness in your current position should spur you to explore your options sooner rather than later. "The time to shop for gas is not when you're riding on empty," he adds.
Passive Candidates Have an Edge
Even if you're not actively searching for work, you should still be willing to hear about new openings. "Recruiters, rightfully or not, prefer the 'passive' candidates -- the ones who are currently employed -- rather than unemployed people who are very actively out there looking," says Katz, author of Someone's Gonna Get Hired, It Might As Well Be You. Make sure you keep a current resume and an open mind, so you're prepared for anything that comes your way.
It's Easier to Find a Job When You Have a Job
In fact, if you aren't employed, it is often difficult to get someone to even look at your resume. "The volume of resumes recruiters receive is so great that, as wrongheaded as this sounds, many will simply disqualify resumes from people who are unemployed just to make the pile of resumes they have to review more manageable," Katz says.
It's an unfortunate fact, but, "employed candidates are easier to 'sell' to the hiring managers, so recruiters will look for them and pass on the rest," says Katz.
You Don't Have to Accept Every -- or Any -- Offer
You may go through the hiring process and receive an offer only to decide you don't really want the job. You can still turn it down without fear of retribution. "Recruiters do not talk to each other about candidates who turned them down," Katz says. "It's bad press for the company."
He urges workers to exercise caution before jumping ship. "Any offer should be evaluated carefully for what it offers now and in terms of career growth," he says. "If the job is not right, the job is not right. Turn it down. Trust your gut. If you take a job for which you are unsuited, you very likely will be out there looking again in a few months, and this time without the safety net of already having a job."
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