6 Ways in 2020 to Stay Competitive in the Seattle Job Market

Posted by Christine Campbell on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 8:12 AM PST

 Seattle Skyline with Mt. Rainer in the background

You enjoy your current job—and if even if you are looking around, you hear that the job market is hot. Why should you care about skilling up? As it turns out, a strong job market is actually all the more reason to work on your professional skills. 

It’s true: forecasts of the job market for 2020 continue to look good for the Seattle area and that’s great news. Those forecasters include recruiters from Robert Half, a staffing agency, who report that technology and tech-related jobs like online retail and professional and business services are still growing and dominate the hiring in the region 

But these tech-related jobs demand workers with specific skill sets and companies cast a wide recruiting net. Not only does Seattle lead the way in emerging job creation, but it also leads the way in importing talent: according to Linked In’s Workforce Hiringreport, Seattle imported more new workers in 2019 than any other US city they track.  

The takeaway is that in order to stay competitive in the local job market, job seekers need to continue to gain experience and skill up.  

 What does it take to stay competitive? 

 

  1. Check out job descriptions for your title on Indeed or Linked In to see what skills are needed. 

      This research is a great way to see what skills you should have right now.  

      Are you a program manager? A quick search shows that competitive candidates have leadership and communications skills (leading cross-functional teams with data and strategy) and technical skills (project management with Agile on JIRA; Power BI; Salesforce Cloud Services, and Office 365) 

      Are you a web developer? Competitive applicants are expected to have technical skills (HTML5, SCSS, JavaScript, React.js, RESTful API) as well as functional skills (UI/UX, server-side scripting, ADA compliance, version control systems) -- and be good teammates to boot 

      Set up alerts to have job openings in your field sent to your inbox. Getting spammed by job listings will remind you that you have work to do to stay competitive.  

    1. Make a list of new skills you can gain from your current position—and start working on them. Now that you have scanned job listings, can you start getting some of those skills on the job right now? Raise your hand to lead a team, even on a small project. Are your Excel or presentation skills where they should be? Challenge yourself to create more sophisticated documents in your daily routine. How are you at budgeting or strategy-setting? Find ways to do these things in your current sphere – or volunteer to do them elsewhere. 

    2. Take a class or get a certificate. Now you’ve noticed that the jobs you’re interested in require some hard skills. Maybe you want to get your project management certificate. Or maybe it's time to learn Python. Challenge yourself to take courses annually or every other year. You can do this through local colleges, online or for free on Lynda.com  

    3. Finish your degree.  49% of people over 25 in King County do not have a BA. You might have been able to navigate a successful career so far without it, but it will eventually become a hurdle. There is no better time to tackle this. Seattle University offers online BA completion programs that not only get you your degree but help you build your brand and your own growth action plans. Talk to your HR department – many companies reimburse portions of employee tuition, often up to $5,000 per year. 

    4. Talk to people who have your dream job--or jobs you are curious about. Invite them for coffee and have them describe their career journey. Don’t be afraid to ask—most people enjoy reflecting on their path and sharing advice on what to do – or not to do. Of course, make sure to add these people to your network and ask them for introductions too.  

    5. Start/keep building your network. It’s so important it bears repeating! Networking continues to be the key to new jobs, according to a recent survey.  Join Meet Ups, volunteer, refresh your Linked In page. Talking with people helps you to better understand what positions seem right for you—and word of mouth is a great way to learn about or get recommended for new jobs. 

    It’s great that you love your current job. But don’t get too comfortable because the competition is going to keep growing. Stay motivated, have fun learning and expand your own skillset so you’ll be ready to move to the next level. 

    Reach out to Seattle University online to learn more about certificates and online BA programs or to attend networking events like the Executive Speaker series.