How The Job Search Has Changed

It’s a cliché of course.  One of the oldest even.  Time flies and things change.  It’s sometimes fascinating and always interesting to look at the ways in which we have evolved over the years.  Things change and we rarely question why.  It’s only when you compare the old with the new that you begin to see how much we have changed and then wonder at our advancement or perhaps start to question if it was really for the best?

These days, nearly everything is technology based.  Businesses are trying to cut out face-to-face interaction with internet banking, scan your own at supermarkets and customer service via internet chat. We are slowly but surely cutting out the ‘personal touch’.  Is there a real danger that, over time, we will forget how to interact with people altogether?  

If we turn back the clock and take a look at how job hunting 30 years ago what do we see? 
  • There was plenty of work and less competition.  There was no need for third level education for the majority of jobs as you were more than likely trained on the job.
  • People left school at a younger age, usually around 15 years of age and usually found a job straight out of school.  
  • There were lots of apprenticeships.
  • A lot less pressure to excel in the job due to less competition.  Employers retained their employees and job security was higher.
  • You usually found a job through a contact of yours or another family member, or even through the classifieds in a newspaper.
Today, when it comes to job hunting, it is not even necessary to leave the house.  All that you need is access to the internet and every job vacancy imaginable around the world can be found with ease.  What are the other major differences job seekers encounter today?
  • Today there is much more competition.  Companies can afford to be selective so a third level education is practically essential.
  • Those who leave school prematurely will find it extremely difficult to find employment. Companies want skills and they want experience.
  • There are far less apprenticeship opportunities in today’s jo market and the recent recession reduced job opportunities in many sectors.
  • Competition in the workplace is extremely high; employers know that there are plenty of other people out there who are qualified to do your job.  There are even 90 day work trials so there is added pressure on employees if they want to achieve job security.

Job hunting has changed significantly even in the past 10 years and even if the last time you were looking for a new job was only a few years ago, it is necessary to reacquaint yourself with how things have changed.

The Internet has shifted the way in which everything works. There are aspects of your resume and online profile that can easily date you if you don't take steps to update your approach. This puts you in danger of rejection before you even manage to get an interview.

The CV: Employers are spending little time reviewing CV’s nowadays. Since many companies cut personnel to save on costs, hiring managers and human resources departments have less time these days. This has increased workloads, which sometimes pushes the hiring process farther down the list of priorities. Because of that, you have about 30 seconds to make an impression on your CV.

Career Summaries: Provide a specific summary of your top skills and achievements. Think about what you've done and where you've worked. What stands out the most and what are you recognised for as a professional?

Job Descriptions: In the past, you could simply list your duties on your resume for each position, basically mirroring your actual job description. This no longer works. Instead of stating your past, you need to take the employer's viewpoint. What about your work would they be most interested in? Focusing on the company's perspective allows you to demonstrate what you can do for them, which is what they care about.

Keywords: These are typically nouns or phrases that you see repeatedly in a job posting or under "Qualifications" or "Requirements." You may think it's clear in your resume that you possess those skills, but you need to carefully cross-reference it with the posting. Have you used the exact words in your resume that apply to your background? Every time you apply to a job, you need to perform this check. Do not use the same resume for every submission because it won't help you get in the door.

Categories: In addition to a career summary, basic information, such as your work history and education, are just as important. However, listing information, such as basic computer skills and "references available on request," date you quickly. Unless these elements are requested in a job posting, you don't need them.

Gaps and short employment periods: While these are no longer uncommon, you need to be transparent. If it's not apparent why there is a big gap in your work history, you should consider how to address it because an employer may just move on. Their time is valuable, so make your resume worthwhile. Give them the information. You don't need to go into excruciatingly personal detail, but it's a good idea to address layoffs if you've had a series of them and personal issues that have resulted in work gaps.

Internet. If an employer likes your resume, they may do a Google search to make sure that what they see is positive, and that you are active and professional online. In order to proactively tackle potential issues, do yourself a favour and Google your name. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is showing up high in the list of search results. If it's not, take a look at your profile and make sure you're using keywords throughout it that apply to you and your field.

Networking. Many years ago, most job seekers applied blindly. Now, you should approach your search by applying to job postings and networking. If you only take the former approach, you are probably missing out on opportunities. You need to do both. Networking isn't for everyone, but a lot of it can now be done online if you're not inclined toward in-person events. Find people who are doing what you want to be doing and talk to them about what they do. Ask for introductions if you need to. This is considered normal now.

LinkedIn. If you're not already using LinkedIn, it's time to get on board. And it's no longer enough to create a bare-bones profile. Complete it because people will notice when they search for you via Google or on LinkedIn itself. This medium helps you establish a personal brand beyond your resume and can include additional information that doesn't belong or fit on a resume. Write a summary that highlights your professional accomplishments and shows your personal side. For example, why did you choose your career path? Get recommendations as these add credibility and can result in interviews. It's like an easy reference check before calling you in to interview.

Cover letters. These are not as common anymore but they are still used in certain fields and by some companies. They are mostly used for entry-level jobs, as well as some midlevel roles. Unless you're applying to a very conservative organisation, or in a traditional field, write less than one page and use bullet points to offset the skills and value you offer. Instead of listing what you've done, summarize relevant examples from your work history. It should not repeat your resume. It should offer new information or dive deeper than your resume.

Over the years, and with the growth of technology, many things about job searching has changed. If you want to be successful in your job hunt, you need to use tools and resume guidance to ensure your approach is sound.  The internet offers a wealth of information and opportunity and social media sites, job boards and forums can be indispensable as can recruitment agencies like KHM Recruitment Ltd .  

For more information on how to maximise your potential and land the job you are looking for, give the KHM team a call today on 01763 248337.