Let’s face it. The process of looking for a new role these days has changed dramatically, and the economy isn’t helping. Long gone are the days of applying to job boards in the hopes of getting an interview – let alone a job. Of course it never hurts to apply, but don’t expect this alone will generate the results you’re looking for. (In the last six months, an administrative job posting can expect to solicit over three hundred applications, if not more). Don’t let this scare you!
Here are a few things to know if you are job hunting today:
1. Social media has essentially replaced traditional job boards. In most cases, recruiters and employers will look at your LinkedIn profile before doing anything else. You must ensure such things as key words, proper job titles and descriptors are used strategically in your profile. This can be the difference between someone tracking you down for an interview and you getting lost in the process (we hold a number of workshops such as “Going to Market with Social Media”).
2. Social proof is more important today. If you claim to be an ingenious reservoir engineer, economist or administrator, recruiters will be looking for information to back this up – professional or personal interests, achievements, testimonials, recommendations and anything else that may provide more of a “glimpse” in to the real you – and your value. Don’t try to embellish your experience either – it’s one thing to toot your own horn, another to write yourself into a fiction novel.
3. Consistency of messaging is essential. Your personal information on all forms of social media is “open game”. This means being careful what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or anything else! It is essential that you show consistency with your social media profile – and ensure it jibes with the profile you want to present to the world.
4. Resumes have evolved a lot. Firstly, they are seldom read (and almost never submitted) by paper anymore. This means your resume and cover letter need to be legible on a computer screen or mobile device. Also, resumes today are shorter - with so many people competing for the same job, your value proposition or elevator pitch, along with key words must be stated up front, briefly, succinctly and strategically. Only those individuals with more than 20 years of experience may have a reason to exceed two pages. The average time spent on initially screening resumes is 30 seconds or less. Make your story compelling and easy enough to scan quickly. (For more tips, check out our Resume workshops at http://www.higherlanding.com/new-events )
5. Relationships are more important than resumes. One of the best ways to get a meeting or interview with someone is by a personal introduction, especially in a competitive job market. In these cases, resumes become more of an “after thought” than a requirement because the person has probably already checked you out electronically. If you are fortunate to obtain some time with the individual, use it wisely and be respectful. Have targeted questions and be prepared. Don’t arrive late and certainly don’t wear your ACDC t-shirt to the meeting!!!
6. Highlight and clarify your value proposition. Employers care more about what they want, than you want. So ensure you match your value to the value the company needs or wants. Make them want you!
7. Don’t worry about multiple jobs and work gaps. Switching jobs – or even careers – is far more acceptable than it once was, especially in cyclical or project-based industries. If you have good reasons for leaving previous jobs such as lay offs, projects or starting your own business, employers understand this. You can often turn these “weaknesses” in to strengths such as perseverance, adaptability and willingness to change.
8. Know your BRAND! Although there are many definitions of “brand”, Higher Landing’s definition of “brand” means your authentic self and the value that comes with it. We say you have to know who you are before you can brand yourself. This requires an in-depth discovery process that is well worth the investment in time. Plus, if you think you don’t have a brand, the internet will do a dandy job of this for you – just google your name! So ensure your online brand matches your own personal brand.
9. Be strategic in your search. Do your homework to best match your value to that which would appeal to a prospective employer. This means customizing your resumes for different positions. It’s a much more fruitful use of your time to strategically target fewer companies that resonate with you and your brand, than spray your resume across any job that pops up.
If you feel that you could use some more assistance in this process, feel free to reach out to us at Higher Landing – follow us, check us out on twitter and/or send us an email!
Jackie Rafter and Regan Bickell