5 Job-Hunting Tips for 2024

Even as openings decrease and hiring slows, as many as 50% of people plan to look for a new job this year. How to stand out and not get frustrated.

Michaela Buttler

Consultant, Career Transition Services

Wayne Mealey

Vice President, Client Services

It’s a resolution millions of people make at the start of every new year: Find a new job.

Surveys show that between one-quarter and one-half of people plan to look for a new job over the next 12 months. But fulfilling that resolution in 2024 won’t be easy. Hiring, which was down more than 40% in 2023, is expected to slow even further next year. At the same time, US employers have laid off more than 650,000 people in 2023, a 164% increase from 2022. All of this means there will be a lot more competition for fewer roles. “The market is flooded with candidates, so you have to do a lot more to stand out,” says Korn Ferry Advance career coach Stacey Perkins.

With that in mind, here's some advice from Korn Ferry's experts for job hunting in 2024. 

Use AI… but not for everything.

Artificial-intelligence tools that help write cover letters, optimize résumés, generate personalized outreach messages, and more are available at every stage of the job search. Job seekers should use them for a first pass at communications and branding materials, says Michaela Buttler, a consultant in  in Korn Ferry’s career transition services.. The key: Use these tools for the first pass only, not the final product. “AI is there to help get you started,” she says.

The temptation, however, is to use AI-generated content as a substitute for your own thoughts and creative input. A lot of times, candidates think it will make them sound smarter and better, but savvy employers can tell if a candidate’s communication with them is cut and pasted from AI, says Valerie Olson, a Korn Ferry Advance career and leadership coach. “Don’t just rely on AI, or you may come across as a static versus dynamic thinker, or worse, disingenuous.”

Talk to the machines.

It’s no secret that more companies are using chatbots to screen applicants. But candidates often don’t prepare the same way for chatbots as they would for an interview with the hiring manager or another actual employee. Experts advise researching what questions chatbots are likely to ask and honing your replies. Job seekers can get used to interacting with a chatbot and practice responding to questions with apps like Yoodli, which uses AI to help speakers reduce their use of filler words and improve their answers. Another way is to ask ChatGPT for some common questions used to screen applicants in your field or industry.                           

Connect your skills to what’s listed on job profiles.

In recent years, employers have begun prioritizing skills over experience in hiring, and experts believe that is likely to continue—if not become more pronounced—in 2024. Wayne Mealey, vice president of client services at Korn Ferry, advises job hunters to utilize tools to compare their résumés against those of people in similar roles or the job description provided by the company. Based on how well you rate against the desired skill sets for the role, you can either optimize your résumé or obtain the missing skills in a training or certificate course at the beginning of the year.

Consider interim work to get a foot in the door.

Interim or contingent work used to be a temporary triage for laid-off workers. Now, many workers use it to transition to a new career or get in front of a specific employer. Mealey suggests job seekers identify agencies that specialize in the field they are interested in, with the long-term hope of converting to a full-time role. More companies are leaning into this approach as well, as a kind of “warranty period” for evaluating a person before making a commitment.

Don’t forget about those human connections.

Even with all the new AI tools that can help you spruce up your résumé and get past screening algorithms, experts say networking and tapping into your relationships remain the best way to find opportunities. “Human-to-human networking beats digital applications and AI-assisted job search techniques every time,” says Olson. That may change in the future, she says, but for now—or at least for 2024—leveraging your network should be the primary focus for job hunters.


For more expert career advice, connect with a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.