Dear Matt: I just read a Minnesota jobs report that indicated there are currently more job openings in the state than at any time in the past 12 years. What industries are hiring and how can I get noticed by employers in that industry?

Matt says: According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development there were 72,570 job openings in the state at the end of August, more than at any time in the past 12 years. The majority of those job openings were in health care, retail, food services and manufacturing.

I know a number of job seekers who read that same report and immediately dismissed it. “I don’t work in any of those industries,” one person told me.

But don’t overlook these reports that quickly. Keep this in mind: If an industry is growing or hiring, it means there are opportunities within that industry for all types of jobs.

For example, manufacturers are hiring. That could mean opportunities for sales professionals to sell its products, marketing staff to promote its products, IT staff to keep systems running, managers to lead teams, customer service personnel to help process orders or handle phone calls, and HR staff to interview and hire staff.

Similarly, the health care profession isn’t just for doctors and nurses. If a hospital is growing they may need additional food service workers, janitorial, front desk or security personnel. One may hear “retail” and only think of jobs at the local mall, but that could mean additional openings at store headquarters or the local warehouse, perhaps in merchandising, purchasing/buying and shipping/receiving. All of these industries also need employees for revenue-related jobs — accountants or financial analysts.

So while one may read the report as stating there are opportunities in health care, retail, food services and manufacturing, look deeper and you could find jobs in sales, IT, finance, administrative support, management, operations, supply chain management and customer service, among others.

The goal then is to set up a targeted job search that shows employers how your experience can translate to succeeding in a job in that industry, says Marni Hockenberg, Principal at Hockenberg Search (, an executive search firm for manufacturing and aligned industries.

“Don’t assume that by just submitting your résumé that the employer will connect the dots,” says Hockenberg. “Do this by researching industry trends and networking with people working in your target industry. Learn about the challenges in that industry and be prepared to show examples of how you’ll work to help the company solve them if hired. Use these examples on your résumé and in an interview.”

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