Many people get caught off guard if they suddenly find themselves in a job search. If they haven’t been in the job market for the past 5 or 10 years they may not realize how things have changed. We asked several career experts what they think you need to know about the job search process. Read this before you do anything else.
Julie Desmond, IT & Software Engineering Recruiting Manager at George Konik Associates says just start. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there”. Here's her tips;
· You still need a resume and it still has to look good; but it will never be printed on a piece of paper, so it doesn’t matter how long it is.
· You still need to apply for positions you are qualified for; this is more important than ever, because companies today have no budget for an “I can learn that” candidate.
· DON’T fill your resume with personality words: hard worker, driven, multi-tasker… who isn’t?
· DO save space for words that describe what you can do: “Developed an application through full SDLC including requirements gathering, design,coding, implementation and user testing.”
· DON’T think you have to rely on the major job boards; your online social profiles will help recruiters and hiring managers find you.
Today’s job search is about show, not tell. Demonstrate what your skills are through descriptive words and phrases. When possible, include a sample or link to your work online.
And dont forget about social media. Howard Davies, a certified resume writer reminds us a Linkedin profile is a MUST. “LinkedIn now advertises more job opportunities than any other free to access channel. By setting up a LinkedIn profile and utilizing the full range of functions available, you can significantly increase your chances of finding work. (97% of recruiters vet candidates from LinkedIn)
Hiring managers regularly admit to having researched applicants online by checking facebook and other social media accounts. It's paramount you maintain a wholesome online presence by controlling your social media account settings, and monitoring which posts can be viewed by the public. Always think twice before commenting on videos and photos - especially if you tend to be quite outspoken or have strong opinions.
If you are an active participant on social media try a social resume to aggregate all your accounts onto one page. And don’t feel like you have to be on all of the sites, just pick a couple and focus on them.
Zach Brown, a recruiting consultant for David Brown International says Personal Branding is the thing. “It is made up of your social media presence, your personal website (if you have one), right down to the profile photo that you choose to use. Put your best foot forward and spend some time learning what it means to make your personal brand shine and employers will take notice.
Zach also encourages you to take a hard look at your resume. “Like everything else, resume formatting has trends and they are always changing. Simple things that used to be accepted at the standard on a resume like and ‘Objective Statement’ might portray you as ‘behind the times’ or ‘out of touch’ by today’s standards. There are a ton of resources out there online to help you find great examples of solid resume formatting. Of course, using a great resume writer doesn’t hurt either.”
Artie Lynnworth the author of several self help books tells job seekers to always focus on the skills critical to success in the new job, and be able to show that he or she has experience and favorable results using these skills in the past.
"The only difference between someone who's been working recently and someone who has been away from the workforce is that the person who has not had recent work experience may find it more difficult to have recent examples where those skills were utilized. I'm not talking about things like high-tech devices and new software, although that is important too.
However, I am talking about skills such as attention to detail (key for an accountant, for example), ability to build rapport quickly (important for a sales person), or ability to manage time well (such as for a project manager or a job where there is a lot going on at one time). Every job has critical skills needed for success. The first step in preparing to find a job it to fully understand what skills are vital to success in that job and then prepare to share your history of experience in those skills.
So what can a person away from the workforce for 5 or 10 years do to prepare for a job interview and update a resume? First of all, analyze which are the key skills of interest. Then build short-stories for each life-example they can think of, from years ago and more importantly those activities that are more recent. The skill can be demonstrated away from a work environment and still be valid.
For example, a volunteer for a service organization can build mini-stories (2 minutes or less) that include the typical STAR format needed for behavioral interviews (where STAR stands for situation, task, action and result). Build your stories around real events with real challenges where the key skill(s) were needed to achieve a successful result. This preparation will translate to a strong resume and good preparation for the interview.
Of course, if the skills needed for the job sought are those that have been idle for a long time, then start now to seek ways to build current performance history. Read books on the topic, volunteer (volunteer and volunteer some more) so that you can get exposure to these skills and show your capability. I discuss resume writing and interview preparation in my books on leadership and interviewing, based on my successful 40-year career in corporate leadership."
There are now hundreds of new tools and apps that also can aid your job search. Most big job sites have their own app so its much easier to job hunt on the go wherever you happen to be. So its important to leverage these tools as much as possible. Set up email alerts on ALL the major job boards along with the local and niche ones for your industry. If you aren't sure where to find these sites use our Jobmaster app to identify them. For example in addition to Indeed.com there are several other job search engines worthy of checking out including SimplyHired, Juju.com and Jobs2Careers.com.
Learn about Applicant Tracking Systems, the robots that are now reading your resume and making the initial pass / fail decision.Understand these systems are programmed with keywords. Research the keywords (hard and soft skills) pertinent to your industry, role and target employer / position. Incorporate those keywords or key phrases into your resume.Have a Google presence. For some other “beat the ATS” secrets listen to this recent podcast.
At a minimum, establish a LinkedIn profile and add content to as many sections as you can, says Brenda Collard-Mills from Robust Resumes. Make it engaging to the reader and ensure it tells the same career journey (employers, job titles, dates) as your resume.Google your references to ensure they are free from "digital dirt".Understand companies now use social media to post job openings including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.Get rid of the outdated Objective statement. Research and replace it with a Personal Branding statement or summary.Use a font compatible on mobile devices. Good choices include: Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Verdana, and Trebuchet.