The New Normal of Job Search and How You Can Compete

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“There is nothing so stable as change.” --Bob Dylan

During my time working in staffing over the last 13 years, I have seen many ups and downs in our business. Largely driven by the economy. The economy is strong with the Dow over 18000.00, an unemployment rate at 5.5% and mortgage rates at 3.39%. It is undeniably a good economy. 

It’s also a candidate’s market. However, this doesn’t mean that jobseekers waltz in and secure any job their hearts desire. Landing a job has become exponentially more sophisticated than it was ten years ago. And even though there are more jobs and opportunities at the moment, the process is complex, competitive and doesn’t result in everyone getting a job just because they meet most of the requirements.

Here are a few things to do to increase your opportunities and offers in a market like this.

  • If you’ve been looking for a job for a bit, take a hard look at what you’ve been doing. Start with your resume. Have someone (preferably a professional) review and provide suggestions on how you might adapt to better showcase your skills and experience. 
  • Get real and ask yourself—How well do I interview? Have I done my homework on the company and role? Do I talk too much? Do I have strong responses prepared for the obvious questions? First impressions are critical. If you continue to interview only to lose out on opportunities in the final stages, it might be time to change your technique.
  • Bring your A game. Present yourself well. Speak clearly. Focus on how your experience aligns with the job you’re interviewing for. Send a thank you note.  (This should go without saying, but I am seeing more and more people not send a note or just shoot off a quick email. If you want the job, send a thank you note.) 
  • Take full advantage of LinkedIn. Here’s a quick 101.

o   Follow the companies you’re interested in/would like to work for.

o   Join groups that are relevant to your industry. 

o   Join groups that people you want to connect with belong to.

o   Make sure you have a professional profile picture. (Not necessarily shot by a professional, but not your wedding photo or you at a party with your friends cropped out either.)

o   Create a profile that is clear and focuses on your recent, relevant work experience. Go light on course work and no need to dedicate three paragraphs to your volunteerism.

o   As Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues.” What do the LinkedIn profiles of those who have the job you want have in common? What do their profiles look like? What are the common threads?

o   Keep in touch with your network and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.

The economy is strong and there are jobs aplenty, but those who think they will receive offer upon offer just for forwarding their resume and having one or two interviews are sadly mistaken. Bring your best to every opportunity. It’s competitive and always changing out there.