November Jobs Report Analysis

November Jobs Report Analysis

November Jobs Report Analysis

Laurel Johnson

By Laurel Johnson | December 15, 2020

You may have scrolled past the phrase “Rest is not a reward” on social media—I saw it on LinkedIn recently, from the transformative Patrice M. Palmer. It’s usually invoked against the ever-present spectre of overwork and burnout, especially in industries like tech and finance, where overwork is often glorified as leveling up. But what if you’re out of work?

The holidays are an uncertain time on the job-search front in average years, and 2020 is anything but average. November’s jobs report is one of the bleakest all year. The U.S. is up only 245,000 jobs in November—224,000 fewer than economists had expected. This represents a significant slowdown from the 610,000 jobs added in October. At this pace, experts expect it could take 40 months for the economy to fully recover.

Survival is a marathon in times like these. To keep moving forward, you need a continuous approach—but you also need to keep your strength up. That means eating a nourishing diet, staying active, getting enough sleep, and allowing yourself leisure time.

A job-search often feels like more than a full-time job: It can feel like a cloud of uncertainty and unfinished business hanging over your head and consuming every waking hour. Just this week I spoke to a client who felt so burned out and defeated by the uncertainty that they performed poorly in a simple screening call. This constant fatigue is not just bad for your brain—it’ll throw you off your game in interviews and networking opportunities.

So if you’re feeling burned out? Rest. Really rest. Give yourself permission to stop thinking about getting a job for a set amount of time. Do anything you feel like, productive or not. These breaks can last a few hours or a few weeks, depending on the urgency of your situation.

If you struggle with guilt for resting when you haven’t “accomplished” anything, think of rest as an investment in your future self. You’ll be sharper, more motivated, more engaged and more engaging when you’ve had a chance to unplug. Plus, taking an intentional break can restore a sense of control over your life and your time.

Whether you take the holidays off or use them as an opportunity to turn up the heat, a clear sense of intention will help keep the chaos and uncertainty at bay.

Laurel Johnson

Laurel Johnson has guided hundreds of professionals on their path to a better career as a Career Advisor with Discover Podium. In her free time, she can be found donating her time to the local animal shelter, listening to Tom Waits, or lending a supportive ear to friends and family.

October Jobs Report Analysis

October Jobs Report Analysis

October Jobs Report Analysis

Laurel Johnson

By Laurel Johnson | November 24, 2020

2020 has been an unprecedented year, and it shows no signs of slowing. COVID-19 upended our work and home lives, changing everything from interviewing to grocery shopping. My job is to coach professionals through the job market, and over the past months I’ve noticed several shifting themes. Some good–some not so good. After reviewing the October Employment Situation Summary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, I’ve compiled the following takeaways.

The good:

  • The unemployment rate declined by 1% to 6.9%. 
  • The number of people unemployed fell by 1.5 million to 11.1 million. 
  • The total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 638,000.

The not so good:

  • Discouraged workers—a subset who believed that no jobs were available for them—was essentially unchanged from the previous month, at 588,000.
  • People employed part-time for economic reasons—and would prefer full-time employment—increased by 383,000 to 6.7 million.

What’s next?

As complex systems struggled to respond to a deadly virus, old rules were thrown out. Workers who had been told it was impossible for them to work remotely suddenly found remote work mandatory. Laws about curbside pickup for beer and wine were suddenly deemed flexible. You can probably think of a dozen other common-sense traditions that have been rendered obsolete this year.

It leads us to wonder, what other rules are not worth following? 

The #1 most common word I hear my clients say is “should.” Should I apply for this role? Should I connect with this person? Should I even bother trying to update my resume? It sounds flippant, but my sincere answer to these questions is, Why in the world not?

Some actions can hurt your job search, it’s true. Sending increasingly pushy messages to a recruiter who has ghosted you? Not great. Trashing your old boss on LinkedIn? Do not do that. Applying to 500 jobs you’re barely qualified for? Zero consequences, and no cost beyond the time it takes.

So should you consider a job change right now? Yes. Nobody is watching over your shoulder, judging you for trying and failing. The old-school rules about how to get hired don’t serve most people, and it’s high time to leave them in the past.

Laurel Johnson

Laurel Johnson has guided hundreds of professionals on their path to a better career as a Career Advisor with Discover Podium. In her free time, she can be found donating her time to the local animal shelter, listening to Tom Waits, or lending a supportive ear to friends and family.

Why You Should Start Your Job Search During the Holidays

Why You Should Start Your Job Search During the Holidays

Why You Should Start Your Job Search During the Holidays

Stacy Jackson

By Stacy Jackson | 2020

When you imagine celebrating the holiday season, you probably don’t daydream about the joys of looking for a job as part of the festive fun. 

Sure, looking for work isn’t really up there with baking, decorating, and holiday gatherings. However, you may find that focusing on your job search during the holidays is better – and more productive – than you think it will be.

Below, we’ve outlined six reasons you should be fa-la-la-la focused on finding your new job.

6 Reasons You Should Start Your Job Search During the Holidays

1. Target employers are still hiring.

A lot of job seekers mistakenly assume that “nobody’s hiring during the holidays.” Maybe there is a slowdown, but there are still companies looking for new employees.

With recruiters and hiring managers taking time off during the season, you may find it more challenging to land an interview right away. But that doesn’t mean your resume isn’t getting noticed when you send it.

2. Hiring slowdowns can work to your advantage.

Let’s suppose you do notice a holiday slowdown when it comes to new opportunities in the job market. That’s no excuse to sit back and just sip on some eggnog.  Update your list of holiday plans with these important job search tasks.


Spend some time on introspection. Take stock of your skills. Think about areas where you may need to do some work. Consider what makes you happy and what you want out of your career. Use what you discover about yourself as the foundation for your job search strategy.


Work on your personal brand. While you may notice a lack of active opportunities or fewer interviews, you can use that "free time" to update your LinkedIn profile, craft fantastic cover letters, work on your resume, and perfect your elevator pitch.


Develop and perfect your job hunt process. Set up Google Alerts to get news about the companies where you'd like to work. Enable LinkedIn Job Alerts for updates on job openings.

3. There are (usually) more networking opportunities.

Before we dig in here, let’s just get this bit out of the way: 2020 will be the exception to the rule. The pandemic and all the social distancing and coronavirus considerations that go with it will mean fewer holiday networking options.

In a typical, pandemic-free year, though, holiday festivities can provide you with more opportunities to network. Sure, some of these holiday parties may be more social than professional, but you never know whom you may meet at a social gathering. Have a few business cards on hand, and don’t forget to have your LinkedIn profile in order.

4. It’s a great time to rekindle contacts.

If you’ve lost touch with former colleagues or bosses, the holidays can be a terrific time of year to reach out to people in your network. Send a holiday card or drop a personal message to people through a LinkedIn InMail or email to reconnect.

Be thoughtful and genuinely interested in reconnecting with people during the holidays. Yes, you’re looking for support with your job hunting efforts, but some people will find it off-putting if it feels like you’re only using the season as an excuse for personal gain.

5. There will be a little less competition.

Since so many people do mistakenly believe that “nobody hires in November and December,” you’ll have the advantage of standing out in the candidate pool.

Stay organized and keep all your applications in one place

6. Holiday volunteer opportunities can broaden your job search network.

During November and December, many nonprofits need additional help. Consider doing some volunteer work. You’ll feel good helping others, and you’ll get to meet some like-minded people who may be able to help you find your next job.

Check out sites like where you can use keywords to help you find an opportunity that matches your skillset at organizations that interest and inspire you.

7. It’s the perfect time to ask for job-search related gifts.

If your family engages in gift exchanges during the holiday season, drop some hints about the types of presents you would like to receive that can help you during your job search. 

Think about asking for items such as clothing and accessories to wear to job interviews, subscriptions to trade journals, or a membership to a professional organization.

Ready to Start Your Job Search During the Holidays?

We’ll admit that looking for a new career isn’t what most people have in mind when they dream about a magical holiday. However, a holiday job search that helps you land your dream job – well, that’s the best present you could give yourself.

Did we miss any other terrific reasons for starting a job search during the holiday season? We’d love to hear from you. Simply comment below, and we’ll be sure to respond.

Stacy Jackson

Stacy Jackson, co-founder of Jackson Marketing, Inc., is a content marketing professional who helps businesses and individuals optimize their online presence. She’s an editor and writer, and a regular contributor to various marketing blogs. She also co-hosts The B2B Mix Show podcast with her sister Alanna.

How to Stay Organized to Keep You Motivated During Your Job Search

How to Stay Organized to Keep You Motivated During Your Job Search

How to Stay Organized to Keep You Motivated During Your Job Search

Foley headshot square
By Jeff Foley | October 27, 2020

The job search. Whether you’re actively or quietly looking, one truth never changes: it moves more slowly than you want it to, and that’s maddeningly demotivating. Fortunately, an organized approach can fight off the demotivation demons and keep you on track for The Next Big Role.

Lack of immediate gratification becomes lack of motivation

Why don’t job searches move as quickly as you’d expect? Maybe you’re not seeing opportunities that fit your criteria. Maybe companies actively considering you have a lengthy hiring process, or they are keeping you on ice while they consider other candidates. Maybe the economy has slowed, or your sector isn’t “hot,” or it’s the wrong time of year to hire, or any number of possible explanations. The reasons don’t particularly matter. You want the job now, and the world won’t bend to your will… and that perceived lack of control over your fate gets you down.

Demotivation is insidious to a successful job search, because the search itself depends on motivating yourself to scan job boards, network with colleagues, research companies, and perform other small tasks that contribute to the search. There’s a reason why many unemployment programs ask applicants to report on their job search activities — those activities are the key to finding employment. But those activities don’t have an immediate payoff. Meanwhile, fist-shaking at the clouds, wallowing in self-pity, and curling up into a ball on the couch become tempting alternatives as your motivation ebbs and flows. The antidote is to stay motivated and positive, as doing so leads to pushing forward with the activities that ultimately offer a sense of control.

Of course, staying positive is easier said than done. For my most recent job search, I fought the same roller coaster rides of great interviews, disappointing outcomes, and self-questioning introspection that any candidate faces as they pursue one opportunity after another. But I learned something from previous job searches that helped me immensely this time around: the key to staying positive and motivated is staying organized.

Treat your job search like a sales executive treats a territory

A good sales executive relentlessly researches and tracks her opportunities. She knows her contacts at each account, and what her next steps are to move the relationship forward.

So it is with the job search. Once you’ve identified what sort of company and role you’re looking for, you’re booking time to perform similar “selling” activities: researching companies you’re considering. Networking. Setting up meetings and interviews. Writing cover letters. Following up. And most importantly — identifying next actions.

Having that concrete list of next actions right in front of you keeps you going no matter where your motivation level is. What’s next? It’s sending Charlie that thank-you email by tomorrow. It’s scheduling the someday-we-should-have-lunch with that former boss for next week. It’s confirming the quick coffee with Catherine, the ex-colleague who may have a lead. It’s following up with the recruiter who said to check back. It’s time set aside to research those three interesting companies and seeing who you know there via LinkedIn to get an introduction. If you’re a fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, you’re familiar with this concept of breaking analysis paralysis by reducing the cognitive load of determining what’s the next step. Then you can match your next task with your current mood and level of motivation.

Track your activities by creating your own job search CRM

What’s a practical way to track your job search activities? A simple spreadsheet is sufficient for the task.


On your main status tab, track all your opportunities, sorted by active status, with self-defined stages of progress. What’s your connection? Have you applied? Have they responded? Do we have a screen call? An interview? And finally, an offer? If you’re doing independent consulting work to stay sharp and pay the bills, you can also track part-time and contract opportunities that might turn into a full-time gig along the way. The most important column is the “next step,” as that self-coaching dramatically increases your efficiency.


On another tab, keep a prioritized list of mentors, former colleagues, recruiters, and industry contacts worth personally contacting, and track status for them. Have you reached out to them? Did they respond? Do you have an active conversation? If so, what action is required next? It can be overwhelming to manage this outreach in your head alone, not to mention risking missed connections because your inbox swallowed up their suggestion to check in at the end of the month.


Finally, keep a list of companies worth your time to actively research and evaluate. Maybe you saw an article touting their growth. Maybe you’ve identified them as a match for your expertise. Maybe you’re brute-forcing through a list of best places to work, or top-100 tech companies, or a spotlight on movers in your industry. Here’s where you put their name, a URL, a short synopsis of what they do, and whether you want to pursue them — in which case, you can move them to the main tab. You can even do some “opportunity scoring” by setting up a ranking system based on your interest in their product, and assigning points based on the favorability of their location, their culture, their product, their stability, their current hiring, or other factors you know are important to consider. That gives you a more objective way of determining whether to pursue an opportunity, and reins in the natural tendency to “spray and pray” with your resume. It also remains a useful reference for you why you chose not to pursue certain companies.

Overcoming rejection by using your work as evidence of success

The sales parallels don’t end with activity tracking. As anyone with a career in sales will tell you, there will be rejections. There will be close calls. There will be people who go dark on you. You (and the hiring managers you talk to) may quickly eliminate bad fits, but good fits and even great fits may make it to the final stages without crossing the finish line.

When this happens, take solace in the inexorable pace of your activities. Your job tracking spreadsheet is evidence to remind you of your continued good work on the search. It’s the demonstration of progress to stop you from lamenting that you’re back to square one. It’s the clear direction during low points to avoid being overwhelmed with the amorphous totality of figuring out what’s next.


At the end of your job search, your tracker data provides helpful perspective. My most recent search, for a marketing or product marketing leadership position at a hi-tech company in the Boston area, stretched across five months and 32 tracker opportunities, 24 of which made it to a serious interview, four of which turned into meaningful consultancy work, and one which became The Next Full-Time Role. And that doesn’t include dozens of disqualified companies and about a hundred actively tracked contacts. A previous job search (with less meticulously kept data) set expectations in advance that a senior level hunt would take months of legwork.

Job searches, by virtue of their frequent disappointments and infrequent rewards, are inherently challenging and demotivating… and it’s not really desirable to become good at job searching! Stay positive, stay organized, keep busy, and motivation will follow. Then even your first job search can become your best possible one.

Foley headshot square

You can follow Jeff on:

Jeff Foley is a marketing executive with over two decades of experience growing Boston hi-tech companies. His career spans 24 years of aligning with counterparts in sales and development organizations to deliver on a new technology’s promise. Jeff holds BS and MEng degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

7 Tips to Take the Fear Out of Job Search

7 Tips to Take the Fear Out of Job Search

7 Tips to Take the Fear Out of Job Search

Laura Longero

By Laura Longero | October 20, 2020

Feeling spooked and afraid to start a job search amid a global pandemic? It’s OK to feel scared. The whole job-search process is a bit overwhelming – especially in the beginning. To make matters more challenging, the year 2020 has been filled with uncertainty. However, the good news is the national unemployment rate declined to 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on October 2

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In September, the unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 7.9 percent, and the number of unemployed persons fell by 1.0 million to 12.6 million. Both measures have declined for 5 consecutive months but are higher than in February, by 4.4 percentage points and 6.8 million, respectively.”

 So, if you’ve been laid off or you’re just looking for a job that fulfills you in a different way, now’s the time to take on a job search. 

 Here are seven tips for taking the fear out of your job search.

Develop a plan

First, you’ll want to figure out what job titles you’re targeting. Are you looking for a step up in your same general field, or are you looking to make a pivot? Understand your non-negotiables, such as compensation, benefits, equity, etc. And keep company culture in mind when you’re targeting companies or specific employers. For a step-by-step guide to figuring out your job search plan, check out The Complete Guide to Understanding Your Job Search: Section One: Assessment.

Set pragmatic goals, such as applying to 20 jobs per week and give yourself small rewards when you accomplish said goals. Take a quantitative approach instead of a qualitative approach when it comes to job applications, applying to as many jobs as possible. The conversion rate for online applications is around 5%, so it’s better to apply to any job that’s a fit rather than creating the perfect cover letter for each application.

Stay organized

Save the jobs you’ve applied for in your LinkedIn job tracker or keep a list of them so you can reference the job postings if you’re chosen for a phone screen and interview. Hold yourself accountable for your progress by checking in with an accountability partner, such as a family member or friend, someone who can keep you motivated to continue applying for jobs even when you’re not getting much traction.

Stay organized and keep all your applications in one place

The likelihood that you’ll secure the first job you apply for is slim to none.

Keep it positive

The average job seeker takes five months to find a new job, and conversion rates for online applications are around 5%, which is a pretty bleak outlook. This is why it’s imperative to understand your motivation for finding a new job and to keep things in perspective. You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time, so the adage goes, so keep in mind that this is a “one day at a time” type of process, as are many difficult stages and processes in life.


 Remember that rejection is just part of the process for any job search. Try not to take it to heart. The modern job search is highly impersonal with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) weeding out candidates from the get-go. This is why it’s important to focus on setting and attaining small goals, and trying to let go of the fact that you have very little control over this part of the process.

Get your content in order

Before you start submitting your resume, make sure it’s in a good spot. The top sections of the resume should highlight your expertise as it relates to the jobs you’re targeting by highlighting the keywords and key phrases that appear in job descriptions. In the experience section, each job should list accomplishments and projects that have concrete data points attached to them to highlight your impact at each role. Finally, make sure the resume holds to one or two full pages. 

Check out your LinkedIn profile as it compares to others who have the job titles you’re targeting. Look especially at the profiles of those who likely would be your competition by reviewing their skills sections to see if you’re missing out on any important skills there — you can have up to 50 skills listed in this section, so maximize that list. Tweak your headline so it’s positioning you for the roles you want, and double-check your job titles, industry, and “open to new opportunities” section to make sure your content is up to date.

When it comes to cover letters, the important thing to know is that they’re mostly about the process and are intentionally used to weed out less-interested candidates. If an application requires a cover letter, make sure you’re applying your experience and accomplishments to each role, which you can determine by reading the job description.


Whatever you do, do not send a canned cover letter. They’re the worst.

Network like crazy

You never know where your next job opportunity will come from, so make sure to build your online presence on LinkedIn. Connecting even with casual acquaintances on LinkedIn is perfectly appropriate and is, in fact, encouraged. The strength of your profile is related to the strength of your network, so you want to constantly be building it. Start connecting with people who work in your business unit and HR/recruiting at your target companies, which increases the likelihood of your profile showing up in a recruiter’s search. 

Connect with anyone you admire. Don’t forget to turn on the “open to work” option at the top of your LinkedIn profile and add up to five job titles you’re targeting, as well as the location and type of work you’re seeking. Finally, toggle to the “recruiters only” setting if you’re still employed at your current company and have concerns that your boss would read that if it were set to public.

During non-pandemic times, in-person networking through business and industry organizations and connections is a great strategy and is, in most cases, the easiest way to get a job.

pexels-pixabay-163064 (1)

Do all the interview prep

All that time you saved from not writing cover letters for each job you apply for will be better spent on interview preparation. For each interview, you want to understand who the audience is and what problem the company is likely trying to solve with a hire.

Craft a few stories (three to five) around past experiences from your career that answer common interview questions such as “tell me about yourself?” or “tell me about a time you failed?” Other good story themes are leadership/mentorship, conflict resolution, successes, and weaknesses.

 Do your company/role research and preparation in the days leading up to the interview, so on the day of, you should just get ready for the day, eat breakfast, and embrace a positive mindset. Trial runs for a drive to an interview or video conference set-up should be done the day before so you don’t have to stress about it during or immediately before the interview. 

 Remember: Employees tend to leave companies and roles because they dislike their current supervisor, so you’ll want to make sure you can work with the hiring manager at any company you’re seriously considering.

Negotiate like a boss

The job offer and negotiation stage is the most exciting part of a job search. This also is the first stage where you discuss any sort of salary and total compensation — discussions prior to this stage can put you at a disadvantage during the negotiation process. Any of your priorities and non-negotiables — such as work flexibility, title, the scope of the role, equity, benefits, stock options, and most importantly, salary — can be negotiated.

Failing to negotiate results in leaving money on the table, especially for women, 34% of whom typically negotiate during the job-offer stage vs. 46% of men, according to Forbes. Have an objective third party review your offer to make sure it’s appropriate. And if you feel like you need additional support, consider hiring a career coach. Once you’ve carefully considered the offer, respond graciously and promptly.

 Is there anything we left out? Do you have any more tips to take the fear out of job search? We’d love to hear from you. Simply comment below and we’ll be sure to respond.

Laura Longero

Laura Longero is an award-winning writer and editor and leads the content team as Head of Content & Editorial at Discover Podium. Her favorite writers are Jane Austen, Ruth Reichl, Louisa May Alcott, and M.F.K. Fisher.

Get Motivated to Start Your Job Search

Get Motivated to Start Your Job Search

Get Motivated to Start Your Job Search

Meagan DeMenna

By Meagan DeMenna | October 05, 2020

Download The Complete Guide To Understanding Your Job Search

Chances are, you’ve successfully obtained a few different jobs at this point in your career. If you’re lucky, you’ve even had people reach out and recruit you for specific roles. Maybe you’ve jumped from job to job, based on what you think is the next logical move: better pay, a higher title, or a leadership opportunity. But often, these are not the right criteria to look at when considering a new role. Should they play a factor in your considerations? Of course, but if you’re not careful and deliberate, you may look back on your career and think, “how did I end up here?”

Here are a few excuses people often use when passively letting their jobs lead them instead of the other way around.

I’m comfortable in my current role.


I love the people I work with.


I’m still learning and growing here; why should I look for something else?

There are fallacies with each of these lines of thought and, ultimately, it’s this behavior that will leave you with little to no control over what happens in your career. 

In this guide, you will find ways to assess your current career trajectory, templates to prepare you for the overwhelming process, and activities to show you where your strengths are and, ultimately, what work makes you happy.


Prepare your resume


Optimize your LinkedIn


Personalize cover letters


Bring it all together

For example, if you were asked to list your core strengths and key accomplishments, concisely, how would you know what’s most important? This guide will help you narrow down what to focus on and list the right skills that will lead to the right job.

Gets Started with This Guide

So, instead of simply looking at better pay, a higher title, and leadership opportunities, consider the work you truly enjoy, what types of companies and leaders you enjoy working for, what you need financially to comfortably sustain yourself and/or family, and if you find leading other people fulfilling. 

It’s important to remember that assessing your career is the first step, and often most overlooked, in a four-step process. First, you assess, and then position; next is the process, and finally, showtime!

This is the beginning of a new journey. Remember, it’s different for everyone, so stay focused on your goals and tune out the noise because it’s very easy to get distracted and end right back where you started. Take the time to have these candid conversations with yourself before you start looking for new opportunities and the “future you” will thank you. Do you have anything to add? Think we’ve missed the mark? Tell us in the comments below and we will be sure to respond as quickly as possible. 

Sign up for the Discover Podium newsletter, The Boardroom, to receive updates when the rest of the guide is released.
Meagan DeMenna
Meagan DeMenna is the head of marketing at Discover Podium. She has more than 10 years of marketing experience, most of which has been in the digital space. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and two sons.