What to expect in your job search
Whether you’re a first time job seeker, or you’re unemployed after years of employment, you now face a unique, ever-changing job market.
We spoke with three experts — Linda K. Rolie, author of “Getting Back to Work,” Missa Goehring, a Vault career specialist and Richard N. Bolles, author of the
yearly updated “What Color is Your Parachute” for insight on what’s unique about today’s job market.
Taking advantage of techology
Technology is by far the biggest game-changer in today’s market, according to all three experts. With its benefits come plenty of challenges. “The biggest problem is
that people are more likely to hide behind their computers,” said Rolie. “It
makes it that much harder to pick up the telephone, meet and greet and network with contacts.”
On the other hand, social networking sites such as LinkedIn offer a major opportunity. “What it ultimately comes down to is that you are more than just your resume,” Goehring said. “You need to instill your brand through other channels, not just a word document. You might want to start a blog, and you need to use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Those are absolute necessities,” she said.
Goehring described a LinkedIn profile as a “living resume.” “Building a LinkedIn profile during your search and while you have a job is important. You never know when you’ll be looking again.”
But be careful on social networking sites, Bolles advised. “Your employer can know a lot more about you than you want them too,” he said. “You need to google yourself to see what comes up and remove anything you wouldn’t want public.”
More competition for jobs
It’s no secret that this job market is more competitive than ever before.
But that’s no reason to give up. “It just means you have to be better
at putting best foot forward,” said Bolles, and the best way to do that is through active searching and networking. “People need to know themselves better and be able to distinguish themselves through their resumes, too” Bolles added.
And, more than ever, you must do your homework and come to an interview knowing a lot about the company. “There’s been a long-time saying that companies loved to be loved. And it’s true,” Bolles said.
Research helps you learn the buzzwords and sound like an industry insider too, said Goehring.
Don’t get too creative
With advancements in technology comes the opportunity to get more creative
with your resume, ie. recording video resumes and adding photos, but all
three experts agreed that getting too creative is not worthwhile.
Putting a photo on a resume can be a problem because employers can’t hire based
on looks and don’t want to open themselves up for a discrimination
suit. You’re probably better of skipping it or putting your photo only on LinkedIn.
“You want to be more creative with content, layout and design,” Rolie said.
“Sometimes logos, format and some color work. You want to err on the side of
conservative but still get attention.”
Added Goehring, “It’s important to stand out for your achievements
and experiences, so before you get extremely crafty, it’s important to take
a deep dive into your experience and talk about it in a creative way.”
And in the case of video resumes, large organizations are unlikely to have the time to sit through a whole video.
Timeless tool: The thank-you note
Though it may seem hiring managers would be too busy to read through thank-you notes, all three experts agreed that sending note is more imperative than ever.
The best bet is to send both an e-mail thank you and a hand-written
note to everyone with whom you’ve met (both should be sent within 24 hours of the interview).
It’s also a good idea to go beyond the thank you and touch on talking points made
during the interview.
“I know someone who was hired as the PR manager at a major baseball team. When they asked why they were hired over more qualified people, the employers said it was because they were the only one sent a thank-you note,” said Bolles.