by Tom Melander

You can spend hours online searching for jobs and still be unsuccessful. The Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey (JVS) can give you much-needed information to help you be more strategic in your search.  Twice a year, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development surveys the state’s employers about their current job openings. While this survey won’t lead you directly to job openings, it will help you get a sense of how many jobs are out there, how long it usually takes an employer to fill jobs in your field, and what kind of wage offers you might expect.


To get the most out of the JVS, you’ll first want to identify your Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). You also might want to get a copy of the Job Summary Report for your SOC. Learn how.


Let’s consider a real example to see how the JVS can help you. I’ve got a client who’s having a tough time finding job postings that match his particular background. To get started, my client would go to the JVS tool and select an occupation and a region, then click “view data.” He worked in purchasing, so he will  select the SOC code for Purchasing Agent: 131023 (find 130000 and click [+] sign till you drill down to 131023).


Looking at the results, we can see that when the survey was taken, there were 39 open jobs. Of these, almost all (94%) had been vacant for less than 60 days. We also learn that 96% required a post-secondary education; 83% required work experience; 3% required a certificate or license, and the median (middle of the road) wage offer was $25.00 statewide.  This is all important information when you’re job hunting.


What does this tell us? Given the small number of jobs in the state and how quickly they tend to get filled, my client probably wouldn’t want to spend hours passively sitting at the computer sifting through job postings. Sure, he might feel like he’s doing something important, but if there are only 39 jobs out there, and not all of them are even advertised online, he needs a more effective and proactive strategy.


One possible approach would be to create a list of employers in your area who hire people in your field and start networking. Already done that? Still no luck? You might need to dig a little deeper. In my next post I’ll introduce you to some resources at your local library that will help you uncover employers that you never even knew existed.



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