Hiring in the New York City real estate market is picking up as the citywide employment picture is starting to improve across the board, according to a report last week by Real Estate Weekly.

Several firms have started to aggressively expand their rosters, focusing primarily on younger workers and high-achieving senior employees, REW said.

Firms are focusing on junior employees after doing very little hiring in the last few years. With capital still limited, grabbing young talent is a lower-cost way to add workers who will contribute to the long-term success of firms.

Though the employment picture is looking better, there are still far more candidates than there are positions, REW said. Expanding firms have their pick of the best available applicants, and it seems that the cream of the crop is benefiting the most from the current uptick in hiring.

A New York City-focused employment report by real estate investment services company Eastern Consolidated revealed that hiring in all industries in the city rebounded strongly in January 2012, and seemed to show slow but accelerating growth in the real estate industry.

About 900 new real estate jobs were created in New York City in January 2012, according to the report, while there was only a 100-job net gain in the 13 months since December 2010. Nationwide, 1,600 new real estate jobs were created in January 2012, and 18,400 were created in the 13-month period starting December 2010, the report said.

The upshot: job seekers at all levels should take heart. As the market continues to improve, firms should start to cast a wider net, and it will pay to be ready. Get licensed, polish that resume, check out job listings and make sure you’re prepared to hit the ground running once that offer comes.