U.S. Employment Trends

More Than Half of U.S. Workers Feel They Just Have a Job, Not a Career

With 6.2 million job openings, and 7 million unemployed1, it's never been more important for job seekers to stay one step ahead of the competition. More than half of U.S. workers (55 percent) feel they have just a job, not a career, and 38 percent of these workers are likely to change jobs in the back half of 2017, according to CareerBuilder's latest survey.

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Survey highlights:

- 28 percent of workers say they hate or tolerate their job, primarily stay because of bills, proximity to home, and insurance need

- 38 percent of workers who feel they have just a job, not a career, are likely to change jobs in the back half of 2017

- Hiring managers have seen it all and share their most unique and over the top things that candidates have done to get noticed

With 6.2 million job openings, and 7 million unemployed1, it's never been more important for job seekers to stay one step ahead of the competition. More than half of U.S. workers (55 percent) feel they have just a job, not a career, and 38 percent of these workers are likely to change jobs in the back half of 2017, according to CareerBuilder's latest survey.

Almost three in 10 workers (28 percent) tolerate or hate their job. Of those who tolerate or hate their job, some of the top reasons for staying in a current position are the need to pay the bills (74 percent), its proximity to home (41 percent), needing the insurance (35 percent), it pays well (30 percent), or the job market is too tough (27 percent).

The national survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 24 to June 16, 2017, included representative samples of 2,369 full-time employers and 3,462 full-time U.S. workers across industries and company sizes in the private sector.

"Unfortunately, more than half of workers feel they have just a job, not a career, and almost three in 10 say they dislike their job," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. "When workers don't enjoy what they are doing, they are more inclined to pursue other options, and there are many routes for them to take as the U.S. continues to add jobs. Arming themselves with what employers are looking for will help job seekers stand out from the competition — ultimately landing a new opportunity that will be more personally rewarding for them."

Here's What Employers Are Really Looking For
To get the right attention from a hiring manager, job seekers should stay away from crazy stunts and keep it simple. Haefner shares five tips that every worker needs to remember when hunting for a new gig.

  1. Customize your application and resume for the job. Approximately a third of employers review resumes for less than one minute (32 percent), but 49 percent of employers say they would pay more attention to job applications with a resume customized for the open position. Take the time to personalize — it might just get you to the next round.
  2. Review your references. Think through your references – pick colleagues who can speak to your strengths. More than half of employers (51 percent) say that a candidate's reference has not given positive feedback about the candidate, and 54 percent have changed their mind about a candidate after speaking with a reference.
  3. Tell the truth. More than half of employers (55 percent) have caught a lie on a resume, and over a third (39 percent) have caught someone providing a fake reference. The truth is always your best bet.
  4. Provide your profiles. Seventy percent of employers use social media to screen candidates —  and 57 percent of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they cannot find online.2 Do their work for them by providing handles to your online portfolio, website and social media handles — just be sure you are presenting a professional image.
  5. Prepare for the interview. So you got the interview — congrats, but the work does not stop there. Fifty-nine percent of employers said asking good questions in the interview is important to them when considering a candidate for a job, and 48 percent said it was important to come to an interview prepared with ideas.

Be Remembered for the Right Reasons
Hiring managers gave the following examples of unusual tactics job seekers used to stand out:

  • Candidate gave the hiring manager a baseball that read: "This is my best pitch of why you should hire me."
  • Candidate sent the hiring manager daisies with a note that said "Pick me, pick me."
  • Candidate brought their mother to the interview as an in-person character reference.
  • Candidate developed a whole website dedicated to the hiring manager, asking to be hired.
  • Candidate hugged the hiring manager when introduced instead of shaking hands.
  • Candidate got up from interview and started waiting on customers because the business got busy.
  • Hiring manager had a candidate volunteer to work at the business for a month before submitting an application to show that she was able to do the job.
  • Candidate presented a thick scrapbook of certificates, awards and letters.
  • Candidate sent a Christmas card every year for three years. 
  • Candidate sent a cake with their resume printed on it.

Stunts can have a negative impact on your chances of getting the job — more than a quarter of employers (26 percent) say unusual attention seeking antics from job seekers would make them less likely to call a candidate in for an interview.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,369 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) and 3,462 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between May 24 and June 16, 2017 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 2,369 and 3,462, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have sampling errors of +/- 2.01 and +/- 1.67 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is a global, end-to-end human capital solutions company focused on helping employers find, hire and manage great talent. Combining advertising, software and services, CareerBuilder leads the industry in recruiting solutions, employment screening and human capital management. It also operates top job sites around the world. CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.



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