The job search process, along with everything else it seems, has undergone an enormous amount of change in the last ten years. Job Seekers absolutely must rely on the Internet and mobile technology and this can be disconcerting for someone who is entering the job search realm after several years of being out of it. Being aware of the changes that have significantly impacted the job search is essential to maintaining candidate relevancy in the job market.

  • Hiring Managers are looking for the perfect person, which means more interviews and more scrutiny. The “burden of proof” lies with the candidate; which means it is now up to you to prove to the hiring manager why you are the best candidate for the position, as well as show her how you can contribute to the company.
  • Personalizing resumes and cover letters is more important than ever. A large percentage of companies utilize an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to track and screen applicant resumes and cover letters as they are submitted to the company. These systems often work by filtering submitted materials for specific keywords where the keywords searched are directly mentioned in the job posting or description. In theory, using an ATS can save hiring managers time in the hiring process; however, this also means that highly qualified job seekers can be overlooked if important keywords are missing from their resumes or cover letters.  To be ‘found’, job seekers must be careful to include relevant keywords in resumes and cover letters, and this can easily be accomplished by scanning job descriptions for explicitly mentioned skills or competencies, and making an effort to include those skills and competencies as applicable. While it is impossible to know which keywords an automatic system may be scanning for, job seekers can still work (and beat) the system by personalizing their submitted materials for every job they apply to! Whether the employer uses an ATS or not, it is even more imperative with the incorporation of screening software.
  • Social Media is no longer “just an option.” Most interactions you have with hiring managers are now online, which assigns significant importance to cleaning up your digital footprint. Social media provides an easy and efficient way for hiring managers and HR personnel to scan through and evaluate candidates and their qualities. Facebook is the easiest way for hiring managers to search and learn about your personality and interests. Knowing this, be sure that your Facebook profile is not offensive and that what you share is something you would want to reveal to potential hiring managers. LinkedIn is perhaps the best social media/job search/professional networking tool available. However, It is not as simple as just creating a LinkedIn profile. Often, a hiring manager’s first impression is your LinkedIn profile, so be sure to avoid the common LinkedIn mistakes many job seekers make, and instead, ensure your profile is accurate and fleshed out. For example, make sure your profile mirrors your work history so when hiring managers find your profile, they will be impressed. List all relevant current and past jobs as well as detail your accomplishments, experiences, and special projects.  Highlighting the most impressive parts of your resume on LinkedIn can be a game-changer when competing with other highly qualified candidates.
  • In the post-pandemic world, face-to-face interviews have consistently been replaced with video interviews. We have also seen a significant increase in presentation interviews Not being prepared for these unique interviews may cost you…and it would be silly to lose a job opportunity due to interview skills when you have the position qualities and competencies to be an excellent candidate. 
  • And don’t forget the details. An unprofessional email address can stop hiring managers in their tracks. Be careful of pictures and YouTube videos posted. Also ensure your likes, shares, and comments on posts are thoughtful and professional.  Effectively creating a sound and professional digital identity that successfully represents and markets your credentials and character to hiring managers is an essential skill in navigating today’s market. 
  • The passive job search is a thing of the past. Fifteen, twenty years ago, it was not uncommon for professionals between jobs (and even while employed) to be recruited and wooed by companies and hiring managers. This is not the case today. Being proactive is essential when trying to find a new job, as you must take the necessary steps to get your resume in front of hiring managers. Consider creating your own ‘branded’ website and in addition to leveraging LinkedIn, take advantage of job posting websites like Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder. Having your resume and/or cover letter available online will allow you, as a candidate, to easily apply to job postings. It will also help hiring managers ‘find’ you. 
  • Education, certifications and other developmental resources are more readily available than they’ve ever been before. While the price of traditional education has nearly doubled since 1980, there are now more reliable alternatives available, making it possible for almost everyone to gain the education and resources they need to compete in their respective fields.
  • Networking is more important now than ever.  You’ve probably heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” and this has never been more true. According to HubSpot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking.  Additionally, according to CNBC, 70% of jobs are never publicly published. . Knowing someone in the industry or in the company can ensure that your resume gets in front of the right people. Join professional groups, participate in online discussions and forums, and attend social gatherings to meet new professionals and get your name out there. LinkedIn has hundreds of professional groups that make getting connected in the industry much easier than before.

The changing job market is no reason to lose your relevance. Most of the changes, especially the ones concerning the growth of importance assigned to your digital footprint, have made it easier than ever for job seekers to find and apply to open positions. Making sure you are aware of the ways in which the job search process has changed will enable you to make the necessary changes to stay fresh in the job market.