When navigating the job market, it’s crucial to remain current – not only by simply keeping an up-to-date résumé – but in your search practices as well. As times change and trends shift, so do the strategies for acquiring quality employment.
Here, we discuss some important factors to keep in mind while steering through your job hunt:
1. Find your niche. The days of solely utilizing traditional job sites, such as Monster or Indeed, have passed. While these sites are helpful, today the focus is on communities that are specific to your field, industry, or location. Participating in forums that are specialized to your goals will not only help you increase your professional network and possibility for referrals, but also assist you in learning more about your targeted role or industry. Additionally, with the use of mobile communication and apps, you will have an easier time staying connected than simply via your laptop or home PC, as in years prior.
2. Highlight skills before education. According to prominent career author, Kate Lopaze, “A degree is always going to be a great asset in your application package, but your résumé should focus on the hard skills and experience over the school name”. Employers want to know, specifically, what you can offer them; and with the increasing conventionality of online degrees, advertising a “brand-name” school is becoming less important than the presentation of the candidate as whole.
3. Never stop applying. Unfortunately, job applicants often have a skewed perspective of what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for. If an employer is advertising a position, chances are they want that role filled just as much as you want to fill it. Candidates who believe their résumés are likely being tossed into a “dead file” are surely mistaken. In fact, according to Vicki Salemi, Monster.com columnist, speaker, and global job facilitator, “Nearly one in four participants in [a recent survey] reported a lack of applicants”. She reiterates that when employers experience a shortage of quantity and quality applicants, an immediate set of challenges are posed. Therefore, applicants should not hesitate to send résumés simply for fear of rejection, as they may “be pleasantly surprised by the responses [they] get”.
4. Flexibility is important. If you’ve been plotting the job circuit for a considerable amount of time, don’t be too quick to dismiss certain opportunities – within reason – of course. While you should remain wise to scam-like ads, don’t immediately write off non-traditional work arrangements such as legitimate telecommuting or freelance opportunities. Lopaze states, “It’s not just the geographic boundaries that are stretching”. She continues that opportunities outside of the confines of 9-5 are increasing as companies discover new and improved ways of meeting financial challenges.
5. Consider a shift in plans. According to Lopaze, industries such as analytics, mobile marketing, and other sectors in the field of technology are growing more rapidly than ever. If you feel you have hit a wall in your current employment plans, consider aligning your current skills with that of another promising industry, and attempt to build upon what you already have. A change of pace may be all you need.
What is most important, is that job seekers tailor their search practices to their specific employment needs, while also remaining open to opportunities they may not have previous considered. An open mind and a positive attitude will propel any quality candidate toward the right career path.
At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.