Are You Keeping Up?
by Holly G. Green
A colleague sent me an interesting report the other day – 125 Linked-In Job Search Tips. It’s a great read that got me thinking about how much things have changed in the employment landscape since I started my career. It also reminded me of how critical it is to keep up to date on changing trends, practices, and approaches.
Remember how we all cringed when e-mail burst upon the scene in 1999? Just when everyone was getting tired of voicemail, along came this new technology that made it even easier for others to intrude upon our attention. Nowadays we can’t imagine living without e-mail, although I suspect most of us would love to. Which reinforces the point that unless we keep up with evolving employment trends and technologies, we may find ourselves perennially un- or under-employed.
In the “old days,” getting a job depended upon three things: the people you knew from face-to-face relationships, newspaper ads, and (if the first two failed) the willingness to knock on a lot of doors with resume in hand.
I found my first job through a newspaper ad, which is like saying my first TV was black-and-white. Today’s younger workers can’t even imagine it! I hand-delivered my resume, printed on “nice” paper, and sent a handwritten thank-you note after the interview (a tool that still works well today). No online applications. No resumes in .pdf format to upload. No emails to send.
I didn’t know much about the company I applied to, and had no real way to find out. These days we spend a few minutes online and learn just about everything we need to know about the job and the company. I remember proudly including on my resume that I had basic computer proficiency. Today that would equate to boasting about my ability to walk and chew gum at the same time.
The biggest difference between then and now?
Rather than waiting for your resume to drop into their in-boxes, today’s employers are actively looking for you. Landing the ideal job requires networking through as many channels as possible, including face-to-face, to make it easy for employers to find you. If you don’t show up on their radar screen (which includes their “priends,” or pretend friends) you get lost with all the other old-fashioned needles in the haystack.
That’s where the LinkedIn report comes in handy. It talks about how to create an appealing profile, how to use the various LinkedIn applications, how to build connections through the site, and how to get good recommendations. It also lists a series of e-books containing more job search and career change information.
In the meantime, here are some of my thoughts on how to enhance your job search efforts.
1. Customize your resume.
If you had one resume in the past, you were good to go. Today’s highly specialized job markets require customizing your resume so that it speaks directly to each position you apply for and the company offering it.
2. Protect your brand.
If you’re active in social media, your personal brand is available to anyone online. Potential employers will google you to see whether your brand aligns with who you say you are. Be careful about what you make available to the public on Facebook and other social media forums. Many younger job seekers are learning the hard way that employers pay attention to their online behavior.
3. Job movement is good.
Not too long ago, employers looked for job stability and longevity. Today, five years or more in the same position could indicate a lack of ambition, out of date job skills, or both. Don’t be afraid to list multiple jobs and employers, especially if they indicate upward movement. If you’ve stayed in one place for a while, show growth through promotions, new projects, and the acquisition of new job skills.
4. Sell your ability to produce results.
Employers used to look for people who had done exactly what they wanted to hire, as evidenced through job titles, skills sets, and experience. However, many of today’s jobs are so new that no one has done them before. As a result, companies are starting to value talent and ability over similar job experience. If you have a track record of producing results, don’t avoid a promising position just because you don’t have any direct experience with it.
Why waste time sending your resume in response to want ads? In many cases, the jobs don’t even exist. Instead, focus on creating a personal brand that will attract employers who need what you have. And get comfortable using social media. Because when it comes to finding a job, the times have definitely changed and continue to keep changing!
Holly is the CEO of THE HUMAN FACTOR, Inc. (www.TheHumanFactor.biz) and is a highly sought after and acclaimed speaker, business consultant, and author. Her unique approach to creating strategic agility, helping others go slow to go fast, will change your thinking.