SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — The U.S. economy added 531,000 new jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, many job seekers are still having trouble connecting with employers.
Jobs website Flex Jobs said it's because the jobs that are open don't pay enough. It surveyed 1,800 unemployed workers in June and found 46% are only able to find low-paying jobs.
And when people do find an opening in their field, 42% of them have found employers simply don't respond.
Lisa Toth, of Shaker Heights, was laid off a year and a half ago.
“I worked for a big global staffing company and I was credentialing travel nurses,” said Toth. “They actually downsized right before the pandemic. So I don't know if it really had to do with that.”
Since then, she’s been applying and applying, but so far, no luck finding a full-time position — even though she has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and decades of work experience.
She has had several interviews and was offered a contract position at one point.
“I really wasn't interested in that because it could have lasted three months or five months. And then I find myself back in the situation that I'm in right now. And I didn't want to go through that again,” said Toth.
“I want something that gives me benefits. And to be honest, I think it's an age-related thing. You know, I've worked for a long time and I think there could be a bit of discrimination going on out there,” said Toth.
Another survey by Flex Jobs said almost half (40%) of job seekers are frustrated by the search for a couple of reasons, like applications going unanswered and not enough openings in their preferred field.
“Well, I think the big picture that's being painted is that there's so many jobs but a lot of the jobs are service industry — restaurant, retail. I don't think that's a true picture of what is actually going on in the market,” said Toth.
Job seekers said low wages also play a role.
“I have had people say, ‘Well, how much are you looking for?’ And then when you tell them, they're like, ‘Oh, okay,’” said Toth.
The labor department’s jobs report said that while the leisure and hospitality industry had the biggest growth last month, professional and business services were a close second.
So how do applicants looking for that kind of work stick out in a crowd?
“There are likely small changes that that person could make to make a bigger impact whether it's their resume, their cover letter or starting to network within the industries they most have an interest in,” said Brittany Wampler, the director of career development and exploration at Cleveland State University.
Wampler believes there are opportunities to find jobs in Northeast Ohio and suggests folks work with a career coach or organization to help in their search.
“One service that is not widely known is that the Cuyahoga Public Library has a career center and they meet with members of the community to help up their technical skills or to help prepare them to enter the job market today,” said Wampler. “Or other organizations like Towards Employment or New Bridge Cleveland have programming and job opportunities. MAGNET, which is just down the street, has job opportunities.”
Wampler has tips for job seekers looking for work.
“One, modernize your resume. Old school resumes are seldom looked at and I think finding a way to modernize and make that first glance more appealing is a great strategy. Two, look at the verbs in the job description and utilize those verbs in your resume,” said Wampler. “Focus on a cover letter if it's not required, write one if it is required. Write one and really tailor it to the position that you're applying to. It takes extra work, but sending the exact same resume out over and over again doesn't necessarily yield the results.”
Toth said she’s worked with recruiters, which hasn’t helped in her search, but she’s open to more guidance from professionals.
However, time is ticking; she said she’s blowing through her savings and is even considering taking her Social Security early.
“I'm just probably gonna give it a couple more months and see what happens and hopefully somebody out there will take a shot at me again,” said Toth.
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