This is how you’ll look for a job in 2019

Some brand new strategies and time-tested traditions dictate the way job seekers will conduct the hunt in 2019.

This is how you’ll look for a job in 2019
[Photo: PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Getty Images]

Editor’s Note: This story is part of our special New Year’s package “Your Future Self,” click here to read the full series. 


When you couple the fact that unemployment is at a low 3.7%, and the number of U.S. companies wanting to hire fresh talent is at a 12-year high, it’s a job seekers’ market.

ManpowerGroup’s Employment Outlook Survey found that more than 12,500 U.S. employers report double-digit job forecasts across and all 13 industry sectors including transportation, hospitality, retail, and business services forecast optimistic hiring plans.

However, thanks to the increasing use of automation, artificial intelligence, and a growing interest from companies to hire more diverse candidates, the way job seekers will find the best opportunities is shifting. We asked the experts to tell us how the way we will look for jobs will change in 2019. Here’s what they told us.


Where to look and what to expect

Tom Gimbel at LaSalle Network says that among 5,000 professionals the staffing firm surveyed, the top three ways they look for employment are online job boards, sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor, recruiters, and networking. “While we’ve seen various trends pop up in the job-search process,” he says, “these traditional methods continue to be most the popular and we plan to see it remain the same for years to come.”

However, at places like EY, which plans to hire approximately 15,700 workers in the U.S. in the coming year, some 1,300 bots focused on recruiting efforts are likely going to be part of the candidates’ interview experience.

Eyal Grayevsky, CEO and cofounder of Mya Systems says that in 2019 the divide between intelligent, conversational recruiting bots and basic chatbots that follow simple decision trees will become a chasm. “Job search candidates will gravitate toward conversational bots,” he explains, “because of their ability to respond more knowledgeably and naturally, to anticipate candidate needs, and to learn and adapt to candidate preferences over time.”


AI aside, more freelancers are finding jobs online and working remotely. Sixty-seven percent of freelancers report that the amount of work they’ve gotten online has increased in the last year, and 64% of freelancers found work online, up 22 points since 2014 according to the most recent Freelancing in America report. And a Flexjobs survey revealed that these jobs range from tech to accounting, HR to administrative work.

Ankit Somani, cofounder of AllyO, believes both active and passive candidates will see a marked difference in 2019. Passive candidates, those who are not putting themselves out there to look for jobs, can expect to experience personalized outreach, leading to mini-conversations which are empathetic and get to the core of what they might be interested in, Somani says. “Active candidates will see more channels of engagement (text, web chat, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc.),” Somani adds, “and there will be an increasing focus in helping candidates answer any of their questions upfront and help them find jobs based on their likes and dislikes.”

Skill shift

“The line between soft and hard skills is disappearing,” says Michelle Weise, chief innovation officer at Strada Institute for the Future of Work, “What matters is whether a skill is ‘human’ or can be performed by machines.” According to a new analysis of more than 100 million job postings, resumes, and social profiles by Strada Institute for the Future of Work and labor market analytics expert, Emsi, job seekers can future-proof their chances to be competitive by beefing up their soft skills.


The report finds that employers are hungry for skills like communication, critical thinking, ethics and problem-solving. “The most valuable workers now and in the future, will be those who can combine technical knowledge with human skills: programming and ethics, artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence, logic, and judgment,” says Weise.

That said, job seekers are turning to job boards to ferret out positions that can use very specific tech skills. New Indeed research reveals the fastest-growing skills in tech job searches and found that job seekers are most frequently looking for jobs that use cloud computing tools and e-commerce platforms. Job searches using Google’s Go programming language, called Golang, went up 81%. Facebook’s React framework, which was the fastest-growing tech skill last year, rose 61% this year.

Another in-demand skill that could be a game changer in the way we look for jobs in 2019 is cybersecurity. Tim Roddy, vice president of cybersecurity product strategy with Fidelis Cybersecurity says job seekers should be looking at which transferable skills they have to bring to the industry. “The beauty of cybersecurity is that it’s vast,” he says, “there are specialists for everything, whether you’re interested in law, forensic investigations, cryptography, ethical hacking, or data analytics–you can apply this interest to security.”


Whatever your skills, the best way to highlight them (and yourself) online is simple, according to Amy Guo, LinkedIn principal product manager. “The only thing you don’t want to do is treat your LinkedIn profile simply like a resume,” she says. “Instead, use it to share stories about your professional journey. This is your chance to showcase what skills you excel at, what opportunities you’re looking for or offering, and how you can help your community. You never know, this could be the reason a recruiter, future employer or a potential client finds you and sends you a message.”

In addition to making sure you list at least five skills, Guo suggests adding the field you work in since more than 300,000 people search by industry on LinkedIn each week. And don’t forget to update the city you work in since this can make you up to 23 times more likely to be found in search, according to LinkedIn’s data.

Looking for diversity and equity

Brenda Darden Wilkerson, president and CEO of says that 2019 will see more job seekers prioritize diversity and equity when seeking new roles. “Much like how consumers are becoming increasingly more discerning around which companies they buy from, job seekers–especially women and underrepresented groups–will be increasingly discerning about the companies they apply to work for,” she believes. Darden Wilkerson says candidates will favor companies that prioritize diversity, inclusion, and equity and will expect to see data that proves the company is creating a supportive culture for people of all backgrounds. “Programs like mentorship and formal pay equity policies that provide concrete systems of support and inclusion for women to reach their fullest potential will set employers apart in the minds of conscious job seekers,” she explains.


More temp to hire

“A very important stat that job seekers should note is that the risk of new hires failing was 50% in 2017,” notes Elaine Varelas, managing partner at Keystone Partners, “and talent acquisition people have been challenged to fix this expensive margin of error.

While they solve for the cause, HR is working on minimizing risk and the cost associated with this failure, by moving from permanent hires to “temp to perm” roles throughout the organization, she says.

“Job seekers need to make sure they are comfortable with this kind of offer,” Varelas explains, because it often doesn’t include holidays, vacation time, and most other important full-time employee benefits. “Key to your success in these situations is getting answers regarding what factors are considered to make the switch to permanent,” she recommends. If it is based on the economy, there most likely won’t be severance if the role ends, she points out. If it’s entirely based on performance (and most likely it will be) what does the organization need to see from you in terms of contribution? “Ask, how will my success be defined? And, how often will feedback be provided?” Varelas suggests.


Opportunities with existing employers

“In 2019, I think more people will look for new jobs’ from where they are,” says Tom Puthiyamadam, Global Digital Services Leader at PwC. He expects to see more employees take an intrapreneurial attitude to their current roles to stretch them and shift to find ways to innovate and do more of what they love more efficiently.

Chris O’Neal, evangelist at Workfront, believes voluntary job boards will be big in the coming year. “The future enterprise will create internal job boards of important work that needs to be done, and ask interested individuals and self-organizing teams to volunteer to work on the jobs that are most exciting to them,” O’Neal explains. “Like a corporate backlog that is up for grabs.” He says this will allow more team members to do work that matters to them personally.

Ben Reuveni, CEO of Gloat‘s AI technology, says that apps like InnerMobility draws on employees’ skills, past experiences, and future goals to match them with projects, job swaps, mentorships, as well as new positions that will add real value to their career ambitions. “Employees are able to simply swipe on opportunities of interest to achieve horizontal career growth as well as traditional vertical progression,” he says.


“Smart companies that truly value their talent and work in more digital ways, will embrace this and provide–or at least facilitate and encourage–such opportunities,” maintains Puthiyamadam. If they don’t, he cautions, the most valuable employees will be snapped up by companies that will.

The continued importance of networking

“The rise of automated job search services and matching engines means you must become a master networker in order to stand out from all the other resumes being reviewed by machines,” says Tracey Welson-Rossman CMO of Chariot Solutions and founder of TechGirlz. “Whether you are a college student landing your first job or currently employed and looking for a new position at a different company, using your contacts to attach a face to that piece of paper is one way to break out of the pack.”

Laura Cooper, senior vice president of people at Bluecore, agrees. “A personal referral by a current/previous employee of a job seeker’s target company or organization, or from a respected social connection, will be the best method for applying in 2019,” she says. “The link between the referrer and the candidate sends a message to a potential employer of, ‘You know me, I know you and this person, and I vouch that there is a match here.’ It’s an instant credibility-builder.”

About the author

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.