In today’s business world, a college degree does not automatically lead to a great job the way it typically did in the past. Today, in addition to that college degree, one has to learn how to find a job—and be good at it. This additional challenge represents a significant barrier to some job seekers and especially to more-mature people who have a hard time keeping up with fast-developing technology that requires new skills. So, following are a few tips regarding both what to do and how to do it.
Online and in-person networking
Beyond LinkedIn, recruiters use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to find, select, and qualify talent. Those new tools—which over 10 years ago were either nonexistent or in their infancy stage—are absolutely essential for today’s job seekers to be familiar with. A job seeker who does not show up on recruiters’ screens is simply ignored. This is a huge punishment for those who need a job. To be found and deemed qualified, candidates must learn how to use social media—and then use it extensively—beyond the three mentioned here. Social media are not only the venues for finding jobs but also tools that establish a positive reputation and credibility. Just remember that there are many, many applicants for just a few openings.
In-person networking supplements other social media networking. In-person networking should be considered a business transaction and not just social interaction the way many job seekers practice it. When networking in person, ask for opinions, introductions, and referrals. Don’t be bashful; be slightly aggressive but still tactful. Most people are willing to help if asked.
Tools for job seekers
Because technology has changed the job search system for both employers and job seekers, the latter group needs to quickly catch up. Employers use technology to source for talent. The majority of medium-size companies use some type of recruiting management system. Companies were forced into using such systems so they could become able to deal with larger and larger volumes of applicants, so they could save money, and so they could speed up the process. Most of the different kinds of applicant-tracking systems (ATSs) have become Web based, which extends access to the system by anyone in the organization who’s involved with the hiring process. This means that job seekers need to appeal to those people in the organization and not exclusively to human resources as in the past.
Regardless of which system recruiters use, job seekers need to improve their ranking in order to be found. Think about a Google search. Here are a few tips for improving ranking:
- Use TagCrowd.com to visually match your résumé and the job description.
- Match your résumé to the keywords used in the job description.
- Use Microsoft Word to format your résumé, and avoid textboxes, tables, and graphics.
- Under the heading PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, list first the name of the company where you most recently worked; then, to the right of that, the dates of your tenure there; and then under the company name, the name of the position you held. Add a line or two of responsibilities or job duties, and then a bulleted list of a few specific and preferably quantifiable accomplishments. Then do the same for the job previous to that one.
The new ATSs incorporate social media tool functionality to reach passive candidates, to advertise job opportunities, and to build talent communities for specific industries. Therefore, to generate multiple options for themselves, job seekers must at all times deploy diverse approaches to job seeking. Candidates need to learn how various ATSs work in order to get high enough scores to be found by a particular company’s system. A description of familiarizing oneself with the systems is vaster than can be accomplished here and will be the topic of one of my future articles.