Go for That Dream Job! CAREER MAIL

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Byline: LUCIE CARRINGTON

THE job market is picking up, according to key research reports out this month. High Street recruitment agency Reed Employment says eight out of ten employers will be recruiting over the next three months. And research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has found that two in five firms expect to be employing more staff by this time next year.

But don't let this fool you into thinking job-hunting has got any easier, the same experts warn. You still have to put in the legwork if you want that perfect job.

Dr Emma Parry, who carries out quarterly recruitment research - the Recruitment Confidence Index - for Cranfield School of Management, says: 'There are more jobs out there and we predict that recruitment will go up, which is good for job-hunters.

'But the market is still volatile; our figures suggest employers are very cautious about increasing their labour costs.' Dan Ferrandino, a director of Reed Employment, agrees that while the job market has not completelybounced back, but there are more vacancies around.

'It's been a gradual increase over the past nine months, with many companies starting to think about taking people on again,' he says.

This means job-hunters can be more confident about their future but they do need to mix confidence with caution.

'Lots of people have been holding back on looking for a new job while the market has been flat and they will all start to come out now.

'You still need to put yourself at the top of the candidate pile to get the better jobs,' says Mr Ferrandino. 'Be realistic and have a plan about how you are going to forge the career you most want. Be focused about your job-hunting.' This means getting your CV updated, even if you aren't actively looking.

Mr Ferrandino adds: 'There's nothing worse than seeing the job that's just for you and then having to rush your CV. But at the same time, don't jump ship at the first opportunity. You should check out the market. …