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The exciting headlines for the first week of April 2004 are "U.S. job growth soars; Employment rates are up 5.7 percent; Jobless claims hit a three-year low."

I read that March had a payroll gain of 308,000 jobs, the strongest gain in four years! I wonder how this good news effects those that are unemployed and still in the hunt for employment. You might be thinking, "That’s not good for me, I still don’t have a job." However, it is positive news for you because the job market reacts like the stock market. That is, both markets respond to the perception of a future reality. When that perception becomes authentic, companies and people respond accordingly. The fact that last month was very affirmative should lead to more optimism, expansion and potentially more job openings for you.

Many employers are reluctant to start hiring until they believe that the upturn in the economy and increased spending is stable. The majority of new job hirings will come from small companies. Smaller companies will monitor their payroll expenses closely and when the outlook becomes positive, they can react quickly to hire more people.

The following will help you move in front of the hiring power curve.

Go where the action is! If your career background is all from big Fortune 500-type companies, drop your ego problem if you have one, and interview where you never thought you would. Small, growing companies can add a great deal of knowledge and expertise to your skills because you will have more cross-functional responsibilities. Get a paycheck and start rebuilding your resume.

Being a temp is a good position to be in when hiring escalates. Your job is paid through a temporary employment agency because the company doesn’t want to commit to a permanent employee. This gives them the convenience of flexibility. When companies decide to add a permanent employee, they usually evaluate the temps to see if that’s the person to hire. It makes for smart hires because that person’s performance and attitude are already known. Approach your temp job with the focus that it is a stepping stone and not just an hourly job.

You should have a log of all your interviews. Prior interviews that were positive, but the company feedback was that the opening is on hold, is a prime opportunity to reconsider. Review any resume responses that stated your background fits their company and they will call you when a position opens. Retrace your steps. Don’t wait, re-apply now!

Top five industries that expect to increase hiring:

  1. Construction + 42%
  2. Manufacturing (durables) + 31%
  3. Services + 30%
  4. Wholesalers/Retailers + 30%
  5. Manufacturing (non-durables) + 27%

Source: Manpower International

[QUICK TIP] The internet will help you find even the smallest company. Go to www.hoovers.com and type in the company name. Try different spellings if no results appear. Most of the information you need is free. The search result may only show the city and state location, but if you call 411, you can get the phone number. The home office will give their Web site and you can explore there for job openings.

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.