Your personal job market

We hear about the job market frequently. If you follow the news, every first Friday of the month the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports on the job market with a public announcement of jobs created or lost.

Well, that may not be so exciting since it is not really relevant for any one of us as individuals except your are an economist.

Let’s narrow down the term. When I talk about the job market, I mean employment vacancies advertised by employers and not the statistics found on government websites. The difference is that job advertisements can be directly turned into income, namely by the person who is hired. That’s also why job advertisements enjoy a much higher popularity that those statistics.

Everyone has a “personal” job market, and it is important to know what is going on there. After all, we depend on the jobs we get from there to generate our income, the base of existence. If we don’t have a paycheck we can’t buy food, pay the rent or save for retirement.

Let’s start with a definition: Personal job market.

For most of us the personal job market is determined by the following basic parameters:

  • Location. This is where you live in the country. If you live in Chicago, IL your personal job market will be different from living in Akron, OH.
  • Commute distance. This involves your willingness and/or ability to get to work and back.
  • Level of education. Employers want a specific education for a specific role. This means that if you have a Master’s Degree but apply for a job requiring only a Bachelor’s Degree you most likely will be screened out. Education is boundary.
  • Job Title. The job title tells roughly what the role is about. We are interested in specific roles because we envision an interesting field of work (student) or we have experience in it. The job title can also be thought of as a placeholder for a certain skill set which can vary significantly depending on the employer.

From here on it gets more detailed when we look at skill requirements which come with every vacancy. Knowing how your personal skill set fits job requirements helps prioritize job advertisements. This is an important area which I will discuss in another post.

It is a good thing to know your personal job market. The problem is how to find out about it.

Ideally we could learn about this information like we learn about other information. When we search a place to eat (e.g. on Yelp) we can select the basic parameters of our personal eatery market like type of establishment, location, price, opening hours, ratings, food category and so on. When we house hunt we select from parameters like location, price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, property type, age and more. In order to get the short list we “select” things on screen. This makes the search precise and fast.

What about our personal job market? Unfortunately things are not so easy there. The reason is that the underlying information, the job postings are not formatted in a way that we can select job parameters even though the information is available in the text.

Yet, we can achieve the precise search that we are used to from other applications. Take a look at what we demonstrate:

Selecting parameters as a means to a fast and precise job search

The idea is to index relevant information in job postings and count their occurrences. This information is compiled for use in a user interface that is all point-and-click choices rather then trial-and-error search with keywords.

Try out this different kind of job search on

On Candogram, you select the parameters of your personal job market. The information system displays it in a geographic format (here Google Maps) or as a management report that quantifies the opportunity. This makes your personal job market accessible with a single view.

This is just the beginning for structured job search. The basic parameters of a personal job market enable a high level view. This view is helpful for decision support of students looking to decide what to major in or people needing to relocate. The quantity of available job openings varies greatly depending on the personal job market parameters of location, commute distance, education and job title.