Richard N. Bolles, guru of the job search and author of best selling job-hunting book, What Color Is Your Parachute? died this April at ninety. His book has sold more than 10 million copies and translated into 20 different languages. My mom even read the book when she graduated in 1979. Bolles’ book is updated each year to reflect the changing times. According to What Color Is Your Parachute‘s 2017 edition, your job hunting style may be completely outdated.
“Let us put the matter simply and candidly. The whole process of the job hunt in this country is Neanderthal,” writes Richard N. Bolles.
Although we recovered from the great recession of 2008, it forever altered the economic landscape and changed the way employers search for potential candidates. But job hunters have not caught up and they need to start thinking more like employers in order to stay in the game.
Most employers hunt for job seekers the exact opposite way in which most job seekers search for them.
What can you do to stay current and beat the competition?
Google is your new resume. Before the internet, the only way an interviewer learned about you was from a piece of a paper. Now however, anyone can search for your name online and find you on Facebook, LinkedIn, or a myriad of different sites.
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Job hunters and employers have completely different values. Job seekers hope that an employer will find them via their resume because it’s time efficient. For employers, their main concern is to mitigate risk which makes Google their new best friend. Many companies are now requiring recruiters to screen every applicant through Google.
See this as an opportunity to polish your online presence. Go through your Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and especially your LinkedIn account. Edit and remove inappropriate pictures or comments, and especially those that might pop up in a Google search.
Make your LinkedIn as detailed as possible. Not only include a picture, but send links to any published online projects, articles, or blogs you have accomplished.
A Resume is not enough. Relationships come first. Leading only with a resume, whether it’s posted online or in print, won’t get you far. HR staff or hiring managers scan a resume for an average of only 30 seconds. A resume won’t help you stand out like it used to.
In fact, most resumes are often considered only once an introduction is made. Instead of uploading and sending your resume through online channels, network your way in!
Besides asking individuals to meet up for coffee or a drink for an informational interview, there are many ways to expand your network. Message others on your LinkedIn network. Go to a conference or event in the the career field of your interest.
Also consider gaining the company’s trust by becoming a temp, contract worker, or consultant first. Employers like to hire people whose work they have already seen.
Don’t be afraid and ask for online recommendations. Social proof, especially on sites like LinkedIn, is necessary. Today, recruiters will judge a LinkedIn profile based on a person’s recommendations. Although they look for a strong correlation between a person’s connections and recommendations, too many endorsements can also look bad. Many recommendations look suspicious - quality always matters more than quantity.
Always prioritize. Don’t waste your time by sending your resume to a wide net of employers. You will be more successful if you prioritize your interests and try to find a job that fits you rather than shaping yourself to fit a job.
This may sound simple, but it can sometimes be hard to know yourself well enough and lose focus. If you have a purpose, prospective employers will recognize that and be more attracted to you.
Furthermore, prioritize companies you want to work for as well as the kind the job you want. Even if there are no known vacancies in an organization you really like, go after them. Don’t wait until a position is open when there will be lots of competition.
Ask for the job at the end of an interview. For many, this may seem too forward or too obvious that you forget to actually ask for it but experts say it works. Instead of saying, “When can I expect to hear from you?” ask, “Considering all that we have discussed here, can you offer me the job?”