By the end of March, the US will have nearly 3 million job openings for online job applications.
That’s an increase of almost 200,000 in just two months, but it doesn’t mean a flood of applications is imminent.
That would be foolish, says Chris Latham, who leads the US National Center for Data Analysis and has been working on the US national robo vacancy trend for more than two years.
“This is a temporary surge,” says Latham.
“The trend is much more stable than we anticipated, but we are not expecting a full-blown national jobless crisis.”
Latham says the most important thing to do in preparing for an online job application is to make sure that you have a solid job history and you can apply to any job position.
But you can’t be too careful.
“You should also be careful about your qualifications, whether you are applying for a job at your school or a company,” says Robyn Waggoner, a senior vice president at Kroll, a firm that helps businesses prepare their job openings.
For example, she says, “You might not have any real experience, or you might be an experienced worker who has had some success, but that doesn’t guarantee you a spot.”
There’s also the matter of what to look for in a job, says Lath, such as whether it is a full time or part-time position.
The first thing to consider is whether you have experience working in the field or are looking for a new career, says David Gorman, a former job search specialist at the US Census Bureau.
“If you’re looking for part- time work, you need a strong work history,” says Gorman.
You can also check to see whether your previous employer has been actively recruiting you or has advertised vacancies.
Latham recommends checking your current salary, which is a good place to start.
“That should tell you whether you should be applying for more money or whether you can afford to put in more work,” says Waggon.
“Your current salary may be what’s likely to be the maximum you’re going to get in a competitive position, which will vary by state.”
But if you’re already well-paid, a low salary is not a problem, says Grognain, who worked at the Census Bureau before retiring to set up his own job search firm.
“It can be a good thing to have more money than you need, and it will give you a good baseline for how you might fare in a search,” he says.
If you do have a job search history, “but it’s not as good as you think it is,” Latham adds, then you might want to apply to a more competitive job opening, says Wager.
“A lot of people just say, ‘I’m looking for something where I can get paid less and make less money than I’m making now.’
That’s a terrible thing to say.”
You can apply online or in person at any job site, and the results will be delivered to your inbox in a matter of hours.
For a more detailed guide to the job openings available in the US, read our article on how to apply for an electronic job.
In the meantime, you can read our guide to online job searching to find out more about what employers can expect from you.