Job searching has changed dramatically over the past few years. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to take a much different approach than you did previously. Here are 10 things today’s job hunters need to know:
1. Google has replaced the CV. Recruiters are now using Google and LinkedIn searches to find talent, instead of paying for job-board or talent databases. Many companies are even mandating that every new application go through a Google screening process. So that means the first page of your Google results matter much more during a job search than they ever did before. I’ve written an article showing how to increase your rank in Google and attract the attention of hiring managers.
2. A summary of your work history is enough. Because there are so many candidates competing for each job, HR people (or hiring managers, if they are tasked with recruitment) often scan CVs very briefly. The average time spent on a CV is 30 seconds.
3. Social proof is a must. Social proof — the testimonials, endorsements and recommendations of your abilities that appear on social networks — seriously reduce the perceived risk of you as a candidate. The most costly mistake a hiring manager can make is to give a job to the wrong person. Some say that if a new hire leaves within three months, it costs the organization one and a half times that person’s annual salary. And with the economy as tight as it is, you can understand why hiring managers are so risk averse.
If you don’t have many endorsements and recommendations in your LinkedIn profile, get some before looking for a job.
4. CVs and cover letters aren’t read on paper anymore. Most organizations are not receiving paper CVs — and when they get them via email or their application system, they don’t print them. So expect your CV and cover letter to be read on a computer screen. This means you have to format your CV and other job-search documents in a way that makes screen-scanning easy. I’ve written an article that shows you how to format your CV properly.
5. Relationships come first, CVs second. CVs are not used as introductory documents much these days. In fact, “send me your CV” is often an afterthought once an introduction is made. And if an introduction is made electronically, then your online profile offers much more information than a CV.
So shift your priorities from “I have to get my CV done!” to “Where can I meet some more people today?”
6. Employers only care about what they want. In years past, a CV or job application was focused on the job seeker’s needs. This is not true anymore.
Now an application, CV or cover letter must speak to what value the prospective employee can bring to the organization. So be sure to demonstrate how you can help the company and how soon it can expect to benefit.
7. Work gaps aren’t big problems. Large gaps in your CV are not as important as they used to be. Not only do employers today realize that millions of great and wonderful people got laid off, they also appreciate it when those candidates have showed initiative and tried to start their own thing, even if that took time and resulted in a period of unemployment.
8. Nouns are the new currency. Screening software and LinkedIn talent searches have introduced an unexpected element to the way a CV should be written. Because these tools rely on nouns or keywords to deliver search results to recruiters, the CVs 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 use them appropriately.
9. Everyone has a personal brand – yes, everyone. Ten years ago, not many people knew what a personal brand was and having one wasn’t easy to explain. (Your personal brand is what sets you apart as a job candidate.) These days, even if you don’t know what your personal brand is, you still have one – as well as an online reputation revealing it.
And because recruiters and hiring managers are looking for red flags, inconsistencies in your image or messaging will prevent you from passing their screening.
So you have to decide, will you be in control of your image or will someone else? I think the Brand-Yourself.com video tutorial is the best tool out there to help you establish your brand.
10. Typing isn’t a skill anymore. Being able to type used to be a skill people would highlight on their CV. Not anymore. What really matters is how well you’ve prepared yourself for the job that’s available. To really shine, focus on customizing each CV and cover letter to the position you’re trying to get.
It’s better to send off a few very targeted applications then it is to spray and pray.