With the pandemic’s upheaval on the job market, it’s expected that 26% of American workers will be conducting a job search this year. In the last decade, however, job searching has undergone a serious transformation.
“In working with thousands of clients over the last few years, we've seen the same job seeker misconceptions pop up routinely,” said Brie Reynolds, Career Development Manager and Coach at FlexJobs. “Many of the missteps we see revolve around a misunderstanding of how the job search and application process has changed in the last decade, so we hope that highlighting the differences will help people be more successful in their job search,” Reynolds concluded.
If you are a savvy job seeker, you will be ready to adapt to the current environment. According to FlexJobs, these ten job search strategies will help you stand out from the crowd:
Many employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS), which enables searching resumes by keywords. To ensure a resume is "seen" by the ATS, it needs to be tailored specifically to each job using relevant keywords from the respective job posting. Not only that but, recruiters and hiring managers are only spending an average of six to seven seconds scanning resumes, so the keywords need to be seen immediately to attract their attention.
An objective statement on a resume is no longer standard practice. Today it's imperative to include the skills you bring to the table to match the company's expectations. Highlight top skills and accomplishments in the summary section, and be sure to tailor your resume by using keywords and phrases from the job description.
Employers expect candidates to have references, so there's no need to take up valuable real estate on a resume. Instead, references can be provided later when requested during the interview process. Also, there's no reason to include a home address, particularly when applying for a remote position. Instead, it's a common practice only to have the city, state, and zip code. This approach is also an excellent way to avoid the possibility of identity theft.
The focus of your resume is now expected to center around the most recent and relevant experience rather than your entire career history. Even you've done impressive things for many years, anything beyond the last ten to 15 years of work history can do a disservice to your candidacy for a position, especially as it relates to ageism.
Video interviewing has become a more standard way to conduct interviews, especially due to the pandemic. Because this may be one of the first ways a potential employer sees you, preparing a background is an important step. If you plan to use a physical background, keep it simple and uncluttered. Try to avoid backlighting and incorporate natural light, if possible. If you plan to use a virtual environment, select something clean and straightforward. Regardless, always practice with a background before the interview to create the best presentation.
Sometimes called an asynchronous interview (AI), a one-way interview is a prescreening tool employers use to determine whether to move candidates to the next interview round. Many companies are switching to one-way video interviews to widen their talent pool and assess job seekers' technology skills. In this case, be prepared to answer five to seven general interview questions recorded on a video screen with about 30 seconds in between. Candidates are usually given a deadline to record their responses.
Job seekers should highlight their success working in remote settings on their resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. In the summary section of your resume, state the number of years you worked remotely and include some of the technology you utilized throughout your career. Also, add “remote” next to job titles in the professional experience section of a resume. Lastly, create a technology section specifically stating the remote collaboration tools and other platforms you have worked with. This approach will boost your job search and highlight your comfort with technology and flexible working environments.
Using “dear hiring manager or recruiter” should be a last resort. Instead, search for the hiring manager or recruiter's name. Also, avoid using titles like Mr. or Ms. because it may misgender the hiring manager. Instead, use their name and avoid using "to whom it may concern,"—it sounds dated and will signal that you didn’t do any research on the company.
Use a current email provider, like Gmail. Others, such as AOL and Hotmail, are outdated and may raise an eyebrow if you apply to a cutting-edge company. Also, avoid any cute, edgy or artistic handles. Generally, using your first and last name is the best approach, although you may need to add some periods, dashes, or numbers— especially if your name is common.
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Creating a LinkedIn profile will go a long way in strengthening your job search. Over 90% of recruiters and employers will look for a LinkedIn profile to compare to a candidate’s resume. Not only that but using a sample size of 24,570 fictitious job applications, one study conducted by ResumeGo found that resumes including a link to a comprehensive LinkedIn profile have a 71% higher chance of getting a job interview.
Whether you’re a recent college grad or an experienced hire, you need methods to set yourself apart in this competitive environment. By looking for job vacancies online and implementing these strategies, you will find yourself that much closer to landing your dream job.