How Job Searches Have Changed From the Past

· by Julie Blackmon

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Then & Now: Looking for a job 10 years ago

When working in outplacement, one thing we often hear is a comment about how long it’s been since someone last looked for a job. It’s very common for us to be working with people who haven’t looked for a job in 10, 15 or even 20 years.  So, when we are working with those individuals, it is increasingly important to educate them on how the job market has changed in recent years.

The most major change is, of course, technology!

The internet is a powerful tool, and it allows for recruiters, HR managers, and hiring managers to have a huge reach when they have available openings. But, much like everything else, there is a downside. The increased visibility of job openings means that more people see your job, and more people apply for your job.  However, it in no way guarantees that the additional applicants are qualified. In fact, I would argue the opposite. Quick online applications aren’t huge time investments. In multiple platforms, you can apply to a job with just a few clicks. No more filling out cumbersome paper applications! Which means that for every qualified applicant, you could have 10 with none of the job qualifications whatsoever. Increasingly, this means that online applications must be filtered. This can be done in a few ways:

  • By asking follow up questions on an application automatically (Ex. – Asking what types of controls an applicant has worked with for a Controls Engineer position)
  • Using an automated program to search the text of the resume for keywords and order the applicants by the frequency of keyword usage so that the HR professional is theoretically looking at the most qualified applicants first.
  • Teaching entry level recruiters or HR admins to only pass along resumes that have certain industry terms or important keywords.

In order to get around these filters, you should follow these tips to ensure your application is seen.

Obviously, only apply for jobs that you are actually qualified for. And I don’t mean, that you must meet 100% of the posted job requirements. Look for jobs where you meet at least 75% of the requirements and apply for those. I would easily overlook some job requirements for the right personality and fit within my team, so don’t let that hold you back too much. But, don’t expect to jump from an HR Admin to a Director of HR in one career move either.

Make sure your resume makes the best use of the space.

Fill your resume with industry terms and keywords and work them into the ‘meat’ of your resume. With each of your recent jobs, make sure there is rich content about the impact you had on your company. If applicable, include numbers and statistics on your performance (decreased scrap by 17% by…., shortened hiring process by 25% by……)

NETWORK! Gone are the days when you could walk into a company and fill out an application, thus introducing yourself in person.

Oftentimes, the first impression of you is a digital one. Change the game by investing your time in networking. Who is in your network? Anyone you know. Family, friends, church members, intermural league teammates, charity co-volunteers, former colleagues, professional connections. Think outside the box about people you encounter.  A few tips – make sure that when you are networking, it’s not all about you. That’s just selfish. Open your ears and hear what other people need. Offer to help them make a connection. Ask WHO they know that might be hiring someone with your skill set. Often, if a company can make a hire without having to spend money advertising a job opening, and spend time sorting through applications, it will! So, for those of you out there new to the job market, polish up that resume, and start your networking process. It’ll make a big difference in the end.

The career coaches at HTI Career Transition Services offer tips like these and more.  Visit our Career Transition Services webpage and ask your HR department about their offboarding program.