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Job loss highest since World War II

Twenty percent of us will change jobs this year. Here's why and how

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About 2.4 million jobs were lost in 2008, according to the Associated Press, making it the worst year for employment since 1945.

Who here is looking for a job right now? Don't worry, my hand is in the air, too. Laid off from my office job last November, I've been looking for a new gig ever since. Without success. So, now I'm starting to think about other career paths, as are many of you, I'm sure.

Of course, many people -- hard enough as it may be to believe -- are looking to change jobs on purpose. In fact, one in five of us will change jobs this year, according to a new survey by Why? For three main reasons:

1.) Pay. My pay was frozen at my last two jobs, just as the recession was revving up. Twenty-five percent of workers are likewise dissatisfied with their salaries. Over a third of us didn't receive raises last year -- which is especially tough when the cost of living is sky rocketing.

2.) Advancement. A full 80 percent of us did not advance in our chosen careers last year, and a quarter of us are dissatisfied by the opportunities offered by our employers. I don't expect to receive a promotion every year, but like you, if I sense that there is no chance for me to advance at my company, I start looking around. Unfaithful? Maybe, but advancement in our careers is key not just to our happiness but to our livelihoods!

3.) Work-Life Balance. There comes a part in most jobs where you are receiving the same pay, but somehow your hours keep increasing. It creeps up on you. You start out working 40 hours and suddenly, one Saturday while you are alone at the office, you realize you've worked 65 hours that week. Our workloads are steadily increasing and our home time is steadily decreasing. It's no great shock that so many of us are looking for a job that will allow us a bit more balance.

So, if you are looking around -- whether because you were laid off or you just want to improve your situation -- here are a few tips for making the most of the job-hunt.

1.) Be patient. Employers are swamped with resumes right now and, not only that, 20 percent of them say it can take up to two months to fill a position. Keep this in mind, but also don't forget to follow up with your submission. There's nothing wrong with dropping an email or two just to find out how things are progressing.

2.) Use the job posting to your advantage. Read the job posting carefully and tailor your resume to that particular job. Look for key words in the posting, and repeat them in your resume and cover letter if they apply. This is especially helpful if the employer is using an automated system to scan resumes.

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