The Modern Job Search Part 2: 7 Tips for Adjusting Your Search to Today’s Job Market and Resources to Help
This is part two you can read part one of this article series here.
The face of the job search market has evolved dramatically over the last decade, and job seekers have had to adjust in order to find the perfect position. Here are seven tips from a career expert to help you achieve success in your job search, along with resources to get there.
Find Your Passion
The first thing job seekers need to do to be successful is to determine what they are passionate about by taking a self-inventory, said Chelsea Kerwin, a certified job search professional and client services manager at Great Resumes Fast. Ask yourself what your dream job is and what industry you want to work in.
“This is a great jumping-off point for creating a target job list and resume tailored to what they are interested in,” Kerwin said. “It’s also important for people to know they have to prioritize their job search. What is most important to them? Location? Salary? Company culture? If you can figure out what is most important to you, that will help ensure your job search is successful.”
One of the biggest things you can do to advance your job search is to get your online profiles up to par. Kerwin said that although many in older generations haven’t yet embraced the import of social media, it is imperative you have visibility online including a completed LinkedIn profile. Job seekers should also ensure other social media platforms such as Facebook are cleaned up.
“If an employer can’t find you online and there’s no trace of you, that might cause some suspicion,” advises Kerwin. “If you are all over social media doing inappropriate things, that’s not good either.”
Kerwin said online profiles, particularly on LinkedIn, should highlight what you can bring to an organization.
“Companies want to see you online and research you before moving forward with an interview or job offer,” Kerwin said. “Your profile is not just for the job search, but for career management. Even if you are not actively searching for a job, it’s great for your passive job search. Though you may love your current job, LinkedIn can open up opportunities while you sleep.”
Tap the Hidden Job Market
The hidden job market refers to all jobs filled without being advertised or before they have been advertised. Instead, these positions are filled by word of mouth, referrals, internal promotions, and recruiters. Kerwin said networking (referrals, internal promotions, and word of mouth) accounts for 75% of hires in the hidden job market. That means networking is very important to any job search.
“That has always been true,” said Kerwin, “but I don’t think people realize how important it is, even with all of these social platforms and job boards.”
Network Like Mad
Networking is one of the best things you can do for your job search. By contacting someone you already know within a company you want to work for, they can greatly improve your odds of getting an interview and being hired.
“Once you get to the interview pool, referred candidates have a 20%-25% chance of being offered the job while candidates without a referral have a 1%-1.7% chance of getting hired,” said Kerwin. “Reaching out to someone in the company is worth doing.”
Stay Organized & Follow Up
To get started, Kerwin recommends making a list of 20-50 organizations you want to work for and then making a list of everyone you know, prioritizing your inner circle of champions. Touch base with the people on your list and see if they know someone in the companies you are interested in. From there, you can make connections with the second generation of your network. Most people want to help—they just need the tools to be helpful such as your target job list.
“If you give them more ways to be helpful and clear instructions on what you’re looking for, it’s a more productive way of networking,” said Kerwin, who recommends growing connections through networking events, professional organizations, and existing contacts.
You also need to stay organized and follow up, which is why Kerwin recommends using lists.
“When you can track who you have been reaching out to, when you reached out to them, how the conversation went, it helps,” she said. “With networking, I think follow-up is a huge deal. Whether you are dealing with your own connections or recruiters, follow-up is key.”
Searching for a job is now a full-time job in itself. While it can seem almost impossible to job search while working, it can be done. Think of evenings, weekends, and even lunch breaks as opportunities to expand your search.
Making time to job search while you’re employed is important because you’re in a better position to land a new job when you already have a job. When you find yourself without a job needing to pay the bills, you may take the first thing that comes your way, which may not be something you are happy with. Plus, adds Kerwin, any whiff of desperation can hurt your job search.
Supplement with Job Boards
Many people base their job search on job boards such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Monster, but Kerwin said that’s a mistake. She said there exists a 118 to 1 ratio on job boards, which means you have to apply for 118 jobs on average to get one interview.
“Only 5%-15% of hiring happens through job boards,” said Kerwin. “That is not the place to be spending the majority of your time. Use other strategies and make this a supplement to your search.”
Resources for Your Job Search
There are a number of free or inexpensive career assessment and self-assessment tools online to assist you in identifying your passions and career goals. Kerwin recommends the O*Net Interest Profiler™ for self-assessments and the infographic Making the Most of LinkedIn to help build a strong professional profile online.
You can also sign up for Google News Alerts. Simply plug in the key terms for the target industries you are interested in and Google will send you a batch of articles from a time frame you designate.
Job search coaches are also a great resource for professionals who are struggling with finding a position that is the right fit for them. Kerwin said there are also a number of books on job searches to keep you inspired and get you hired. Some books she recommends include:
- -What Color is Your Parachute? 2018 edition by Richard N. Bolles
- -The Social Media Job Search Workbook: Your Step-By-Step Guide to Finding Work in the Age of Social Media by Joshua Waldman
- -I’m in a Job Search—Now What???: Using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as Part of Your Job Search Strategy by Kristen Jacoway and Jason Alba
- -Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0: How to Stand Out From the Crowd and Tap Into the Hidden Job Market Using Social Media and 999 Other Tactics Today by Jay Conrad Levinson