The job market is still a little chilly in the Stockton area, that should be news to no one. We have also written about the importance of not focusing on jobs data that seems to be reported everywhere. Having said that, it is still important to understand what the overall job market means to you and your job search, and how it might affect your search.
Let's briefly touch on the difference between promoting out versus making a lateral move out.
Promoting out is changing employers for a position with more responsibility. As an example, let's pretend you are a waitress in a restaurant and you are eager to become a restaurant manager but there are no opportunities at your restaurant. You've targeted a couple of other restaurants in town for which you'd like to work as a manager. Rather than just focusing on waiting for a manager opportunity to open, look for the lateral opportunity. Can you start in the same position you currently are?
It is important to understand that based on demand and supply (the number of open jobs and number of candidates), there may likely be many more job seekers with that higher level of experience that are willing to make a lateral move, or even those with slightly more experience that are willing to take a step backward. Remember, there is a risk of being too overqualified, but slightly overqualified might be fine.
Hiring a new person is always a risk. Hiring managers won't hire a new employee until the risks of not hiring someone start to outweigh the risks of bringing on a new employee. It might be difficult for a new employer to see that you are "ready" for an elevated role if they don't know you, especially when compared to those with more experience. That might be too much risk. Showing that you are willing to start from your current level is a lower risk. As written in Ron Ashkenas's Harvard Business Review article from last year, think "across", it might help you get "up".
This is not to say that it is not possible to promote out in this market. Market level data is just that, high-level data that describes great quantities of examples, there will be always be individual exceptions. Understanding the obstacles that might be in front of you helps you prepare for them.