5 Ways to Prepare for the 2022 Job Market

The year ends with good news for job searchers. Although pandemic lockdowns have eased, allowing businesses to return to normal operations, finding employees has proven to be the next big challenge, especially with ​2021​ being the year of the Great Resignation. If you're looking for full-time work in ​2022​, there are a few ways you can make the most of what's essentially a job candidate's market.

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1. Understand the Job Market

It's a great time to launch a job search, whether you're between jobs or considering moving up the career ladder. With 11 million​ job openings reported in late October, businesses are kicking off ​2022​ with a search for top talent.

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For job seekers, though, it's important to pay attention to where the talent demand is highest. Retail, hospitality and manufacturing are especially in need of workers right now, as are healthcare and social assistance. You can also check the BLS career outlook for your particular industry to find potential lucrative positions that might fall within your qualifications.

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2. Secure More Money

The high demand for skilled workers brings a great opportunity. Prices are rising, so any salary you accept today might not be enough a few months down the road. Also, keep in mind that businesses are projected to increase salaries by ​3 percent​ on average in ​2022​ and use that information to lock in higher earnings.

You don't even have to switch jobs to take home a higher paycheck. The industry is well aware that ​2021​ was the year of the Great Resignation, with ​4 million​ Americans quitting their jobs in July ​2021​ alone. In ​2022​, employers are likely to prioritize worker retention, so leverage that into requesting a raise, especially if it's been a while since you've seen a pay increase.

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Consider also:How Will the Big Quit Affect Your Career Plans?

3. Look Beyond the Salary

Money isn't everything. This could be a great time to look at the other things that matter to you and make sure your job has those benefits. Whether you negotiate for them at your current job or search for a position that has them, you can put yourself in a better position by thinking about it.

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Remote work has become more popular than ever and, chances are, that won't change. Pre-pandemic, only 6 percent of professionals worked primarily from home, and that number increased to more than ​one-third​ of workers. If you can't work from home but want to, consider looking for a job that will allow that convenience.

This can also be a great time to find some security. Look for a job with a great healthcare and retirement plan, or search for a business that gives stock options to help you get that peace of mind you need.

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The truth is, even as you might feel like returning to business as usual, the pandemic has changed some things. The workplace has had to find a new normal, and part of that is shifting to virtual meetings. You might find you're meeting through Zoom either as a pre-interview or for the interview itself.

There's also your own safety to consider. The Omicron variant serves as a stark reminder that the danger hasn't yet completely passed. As you interview, ask about safety protocols and vaccination requirements.

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5. Find the Right Culture

To be competitive during labor shortages, many businesses are prioritizing the employee experience. This is especially important for millennials, who look for a fun, relaxed work culture. Know what you want from a new job and search for a workplace that provides it.

It can be tough to learn about company culture when you aren't yet working somewhere. Look for common connections on LinkedIn and reach out to those friends to ask about the work environment. Also check the job description for hints that the work culture might be a good fit, and during the job interview, ask questions that will give you a feel for the work environment.

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The future of work is promising, with businesses placing a priority on treating employees well. If you're considering a job change in ​2022​, make sure you're getting the best salary and benefits. If you plan to stay in your current job, this could be a great time to ask for a raise, promotion or improvement in benefits.

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