If, as a job seeker, you haven’t been truly active in the job search market for a few years, you probably scarcely recognise it! The speed of change in the job market is accelerating by the minute and job search today is completely different to ten years ago. Paper resumes are now only a small part of the job seekers toolset and both recruiters and applicants have a world of new opportunities to connect in the marketplace.
CHANGES & TRENDS
Job blogging, video resumes, social networking, resume optimisation, web portfolios and behavioural interviewing are just a few of the changes to job search practices that have been introduced over the past ten years and are all strong indicators of why it’s so important to remain abreast of changing job search technologies and employment trends.
Riding on the back of these trends has also been the swelling of awareness for candidates to have strong personal marketing and to be able to specify, quantify, document and articulate their employment value.
In today’s fast-moving employment market it is commonplace for employers to see hundreds if not thousands of resumes pass over their desks or email, and only those that truly showcase the applicant’s unique value and relevance to the employer will gain a second glance. Employers want evidence of success and quantifiable outcomes included in resumes to ensure they are making the right choice. This evidenced-based selection approach has also extended to the interviewing process with behavioural interviewing becoming one of the most common interview tools.
Technology has also brought new challenges in the presentation of resumes and other application materials. Resumes now need to be designed so that they are scanner-friendly and optimised so that they stand-out when reviewed by the database scanners used by many recruitment agencies and large employers in first round selections. Further issues such as spam filters, recruiters’ use of PDA’s to receive email and online applications have all seen resume formats adjusted to suit these domains. Given this complexity many job seekers are now accepting that investment in professional career marketing and advice is a must.
The most significant change to job search has definitely been the explosion of online networking. In the Career Directors International 2006-2007 Research Report “Career Industry Mega Trends” they stated that over 50% of recruiters surveyed said that they either currently use in some capacity or intended in the future to use Social Online Networking as a method of recruiting candidates. Forums like LinkedIn, Facebook and Myspace have seen traditional networking move online and have dramatically increased opportunities for job seekers to contact and link with job search targets but also pose significant risk if used inappropriately. According to recent research in the US up to 35 percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and over 20 percent look people up on social networking sites. Job seekers, need to be aware that the transparency of information on the internet allows employers to view them from all angles, and should ensure that anything posted will not hurt future job search activities. Even if you have had limited involvement on the internet, this “self-googling” is also vital to ensure there isn’t anyone else with the same name as you on the internet that may pose a risk to your job search credibility. On the flipside of these negativities, smart jobseekers are now using the internet through job blogging to position themselves as an expert in their field, leading employers and recruiters to them, rather than the other way around.
JOB SEARCH IN THE FUTURE
With changing technology it’s hard to imagine exactly what the face of job-hunting will look like in ten years time. Many career coaches particularly in the United States are already embracing the advances of online communication such as video resumes and web portfolios to deliver more impact to application presentations. Whilst in Australia uptake and acceptance of these newer methods of resume delivery is slow, as Australia commonly follows US trends, it would be wise for Jobseekers and employers alike to consider these forums as potential opportunities for recruitment.
THRIVING & SURVING IN THE NEW WORLD OF JOB SEARCH
Regardless of how the job search is conducted, one thing is for certain, social networking, technology and personal marketing will continue to remain the key axis of an effective job search strategy. Regardless of the medium, the fundamentals of marketing yourself competitively remain paramount. Know the employer and understand what they want; identify, evidence and document your unique value in terms of these dimensions; and develop skills to articulate this in person both in social networking forums and formal interviews. Finally seek solid advice from career specialists to ensure you leverage the full advantages of latest job search technologies and also remain abreast of pitfalls of these new arenas. Doing this will ensure you present well be it in an interview, video resume, or through social networking forums.
With the speed of change in the job market today it is also critical that candidates prepare themselves through a strategic approach to their job search activities. Invest in building effective marketing materials including a resume that is tailored to your job target and presented in a variety of contemporary file types (Word, ASCII, and PDF) so that you are ready for any application forum. Seek out advice and coaching in what form of resume should be used in each forum and familiarise yourself with the current styles of interviewing. In particular understand how to articulate your contributions made to past employers so you can evidence your skills and what you offer employers in the future. Finally make sure you continually stay abreast of, and are open to, newer styles of job search and networking. You will be better positioned for success if you look beyond traditional networking, and consider networking online, or social networking, as a part of your holistic job search campaign.”
Today’s job market is an increasingly complex arena. Changing technology brings a world of new opportunities and risks to job seekers today. Online technology allows greater opportunities for visibility by techno-savvy candidates wanting to get employers attention. On the other hand this visibility also means that it’s critical to ensure anything uploaded into this domain is well thought out and highly professional, otherwise your visibility may be your downfall. However embrace technology, seek solid advice and ensure you are prepared and the world can be your oyster.