How to Thrive in a Turbulent Job Market

Career Corner: To land the right role, identify your value proposition, persist with energy and enthusiasm, project confidence, and network.

By: Nicole Woodard
illustration of 4 people with large resumes in the background.. Two men are sitting on either side of the image, one at a desk looking at a laptop. At the center is a young woman shaking hands with a man in a tie holding a folder.

While economic indicators such as jobless claims and the unemployment rate point to a robust economy, we are living in a time of uncertainty and that is reflected in the way companies are approaching hiring, particularly for higher paying jobs. According to Vanguard’s most recent hiring report, as cited in Business Insider, hiring has slowed to 0.5% for people making over $96,000 compared to a healthy 1.5% for those who make less than $55,000. Companies are scrutinizing every open position, trying to avoid what Mark Zuckerberg has called “managers managing managers, managing managers, managing managers, managing the people who are doing the work.”

Given this situation, many job candidates feel frustrated by a lack of response to their applications and by the extended interview process that requires numerous rounds of interviews. It requires significantly more time to find a new job and that time lengthens even more if you are looking to transition from a different industry or function.

What can job seekers do?

Mindset Matters

  1. Prepare for a marathon, not a sprint. The time of landing a job in 30 days is largely over unless you have highly technical skills, which continue to be in high demand. Each person you speak with is hearing your story for the first time and you need to maintain your energy and enthusiasm despite the repetition. While your job search is your top priority, remember that everyone else has other priorities. Don’t take it personally and be careful not to allow frustration to leak into your communications, written or verbal. Stay professionally persistent and be gracious in all of your interactions.
  2. Identify your unique value proposition. Review your resume and determine how your experiences specifically add value to a particular company or role. It isn’t enough that a job aligns with your career goals; you need to convince every interviewer that you can solve their problems. Think about the transferability of your prior experiences and connect it to the role you are seeking.
  3. Be confident! How you tell your story matters just as much as what you say. If you don’t believe in the value you bring, then it will be hard to convince an interviewer. Take a few minutes prior to a meeting to center yourself and visualize your success. Elite athletes utilize visualization techniques because it allows them to relax during the actual competition; that mental rehearsal allows their body to feel as if they have already been there. This is particularly powerful if you are prone to overthinking and catastrophizing.


  1. Actively build a broad network. The old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” could not be truer. In fact, knowing someone at the company you’re applying to is no longer enough; many applicants who have internal referrals still don’t get a screening interview. You now need to have a direct referral from an employee within the hiring team. That’s why the broader your network is, the stronger your chances will be in obtaining a direct referral. Be proactive about plugging into Cornell University’s strong alumni network. Many Cornellians are happy to connect with fellow alumni on LinkedIn and generous with their time.
  2. Play the long game. The best time to network is before you need it. Attend alumni events and be sure to follow up with new contacts. You would be surprised at how few people send follow-up notes or find a reason to stay in touch. I have turned numerous casual meetings with senior executives into meaningful connections over time. Use clues from your initial interaction to guide your communications. You can share articles based on common interests or ask new contacts for their insight on a topic.
  3. Share your expertise. You can write and publish an article on LinkedIn to demonstrate your skills in a particular area of importance for the type of job you are seeking. LinkedIn also has a new feature, Collaborative Articles, that invites “experts” to comment on particular questions based on your profile. Another option is to speak at industry conferences, either as a presenter or panelist. All of these strategies elevate your profile with your current network and beyond. When your value proposition and area of expertise are clear to your network, you will be top of mind as opportunities become available. In fact, my position at Cornell came through a former boss who referred me to the hiring manager after reading one of my posts on LinkedIn.

Use AI tools to optimize your search

As you search for your next opportunity, utilize the power of generative AI to your benefit. Chat GPT and other AI tools can help you determine pathways to pursue based on your skills and experience and also suggest companies to consider. In a challenging job market, you want to give yourself every opportunity to be found for the right role, and AI can optimize sections of your resume and LinkedIn profile to help you create a strong professional brand.

Learn more from this Career Corner article by my colleague, Jennifer Bobrow Burns, managing director, Executive MBA and Alumni Career Development: Using AI in Your Job Search.


About the Author

Nicole Woodard is a senior associate director, Executive MBA Career Development, at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.