Job search has changed drastically over the last few years. If you want to succeed in today’s job search, you’ll have to take a much different approach than your parents did. Here are a few things that have changed:
1. Google Has Replaced The Resume
Recruiters are now using Google and LinkedIn searches to find talent, instead of paying for job board or talent databases, like they used to do. In fact, many companies are even mandating every new application go through a Google screening process. So, that means the first page of your Google results matter more than they ever did before during a job search.
2. A Summary Is Enough
Today, the resume is used mostly in the screening process while actual decisions are made after interviews. And, because there are so many candidates competing for each job, HR people (or hiring managers if they are tasked with recruitment) often scan resumes very briefly. In fact, the average time on a resume is 30 seconds.
3. Social Proof Is A Must
Social proof, testimonials, or recommendations seriously reduce the perceived risk of you as a candidate. The most costly mistake a hiring manager can make is to hire the wrong person. Some say that if a new-hire leaves within three months, it costs the organization one and half that person’s annual salary. And with the economy as tight as it is, you can understand why hiring managers are so risk averse.
4. Resumes And Cover Letters Are Not Read On Paper Anymore
Most organizations are not receiving paper resumes and when they get them via e-mail or their application system, they don’t print them. So, expect your resume and cover letter to be read on a computer screen. This means you have to format your documents in a way that makes screen-scanning easy.
5. Relationships First, Resume’s Second
Resumes are not used as introductory documents much these days. In fact, “send me your resume” is often an after thought after an introduction is made. And if an introduction is made online, then your online profile offers much more information than a resume. So, shift your priorities from, “Oh crap, I have to get my resume done!” to, “Oh crap, where can I meet some more people today?”
6. Employers Only Care About What They Want
In years past, a resume or job application was focused on what the job seeker wanted. This is not true any more. Now, an application, resume, or cover letter must speak to what value the seeker can bring to the organization. How can you bring value to the company and how soon can the company realize that value.
7. Don’t Mind The Gap
Large gaps in your resume are not as important as they used to be. Not only do employers today realize than millions of great and wonderful people got laid off, they also appreciate it when candidates showed initiative and tried to start their own thing.
8. Nouns Are The New Currency
Screening software and LinkedIn talent searches have introduced an unexpected element to the way a resume should be written. Because these tools rely on nouns or keywords to deliver search results to recruiters, the resumes with the right combination of nouns often win.
If you want to succeed in today’s job search, make a commitment to learn how to research keywords and how to use them appropriately on the page.
9. Everyone Has A Personal Brand – Yes, Everyone
10 years ago, not many people even knew what a personal brand was, let alone was having one really that accessible. These days, even if you don’t know what it is, you still have one. And because recruiters and hiring managers are just looking for red flags, inconsistencies in your image or messaging will prevent you from passing screening. Even if you never touched a computer in your life, you have a personal brand as well as an online reputation. So, you have to decide, will you be in control of your image or will someone else?
10. Typing Isn’t A Skill Anymore
Being able to type used to be a skill people would highlight on their resume. Now, you have to know how to type just to have a resume. What really matters is well you’ve prepared yourself for the application. You have access to more information about a company than generations past. As a result, expectations for preparedness are much higher. To really shine, focus on customizing each resume and cover letter. It’s better to send off a few very targeted applications then it is to spray and pray.
Special thanks to the following people for their valuable insights for this post:
– Sean Harry, career coach and author of Careers 2.0
– Vicky Lind, career counselor and marketing coach
– J.T. O’Donnell, founder of CAREEREALISM and career coach
Photo Credit: Shutterstock