I was watching Back to the Future II the other day and noticed that “the future” on that infamous Delorean dashboard was 2015. 2015! Where are the hoverboards? Is anyone working on that? (actually, yes!) I find it hard to believe that we are in the year 2015 when 2005 feels like just yesterday.
In thinking of how quickly the last ten years have flown by, it dawned on me that this period has brought about some significant changes in handling a job search. As such, we present to you The Top Three Biggest Advancements in Job Searches, along with how to make some small changes to ensure these new developments work for you.
3) LinkedIn: It goes without saying that LinkedIn is one of the job search landscape’s biggest changes in recent years. While some regard it as the “professional Facebook” (not true!) and the profile as “just an online resume,” (also not true!) there is so much more to this significant career platform.
Scary Part: Not everyone loves LinkedIn and many more have just a very basic presence on there, believing they have fulfilled the LinkedIn requirement. Think again! People will look for you on LinkedIn and either not showing up or appearing like you don’t understand it can very easily work against you.
Make it Work for You: We suggest that you, regardless of level or sector, have a presence on LinkedIn and learn at least the basics of how it works, how hiring managers and recruiters use it, as well as a few “best practices” for effective LinkedIn profiles and messaging.
2) Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Not sure what an ATS is? Have you ever applied for a job on-line? If so (and that is the case for most at this point), your resume – and whole application – was automatically scanned by a computer program and scored based on how many key words in your application matched the key words for the job description. That score determines if your resume is sent to a hiring manger.
Scary Part: While you may be an excellent fit for a specific role, if your key words don’t match up, you are unlikely to move forward in the process (at least, if you only apply online).
Make it Work for You: Online job searches are great for researching what companies are hiring and you may have to apply online to at least be in their system. Take a second and tweak your resume to reflect their keywords before submitting it; small changes can have a big impact.
Additionally, and this is huge, go beyond applying online and connect with people directly at the organization to learn more about the role and company that can be helpful during an interview should you progress to that part of the process. The mini-goal? Start a conversation – via email or LinkedIn – with an internal source; once you have an “in,” the ATS results won’t matter!
1) Social Media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are now just the basics; Instagram, Vine, and Tumblr are all the rage and who knows what social media platform will be knocking on your digital door tomorrow? Some clients find that knowledge of these platforms are helpful for their job search and others find it to be either a hindrance or not really a source for leads…or is it that they don’t know where to look?
Scary Part: Social media can work for most in terms of finding opportunities (see “Make it Work for You” below) but everyone, everyone needs to put their profile privacy settings on high (for each profile you have) and think twice about what you post. What seems like a good idea in the moment can work against you if you forget that not all of your connections care to see what you did last weekend or are interested in your political leanings.
Make it Work For You: If you are in a sector where knowledge of social media should be on your profile (i.e., advertising, digital marketing, etc.) or are applying to a social media company (a role at Facebook or Twitter, for example), make sure to include knowledge of social platforms on your resume as well as start using said platform more frequently. Companies can track these things and do like to see organic, true familiarity with the platforms themselves.
For everyone else, source leads by identifying some companies you wish to target for your job search and start following them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (at least). Interact with the companies and see with whom you can directly connect. Social media is a beautiful thing if you actually use it for digitally – and strategically – socializing!
Bonus! Smart Phones & Tablets: Ah, my iPhone; I don’t leave home without. Know the feeling? So do most hiring managers and recruiters; hiring work is often done on the fly these days, and that includes reviewing resumes for open roles. How does that impact you? See below:
Scary Part: Most “before” resumes that come my way need formatting work in addition to content overhauls. Poor formats are tough enough to read on a regular computer or laptop; add a smaller screen to the mix and your resume will likely head to the “trash” box in a matter of seconds.
Make it Work for You: If you know your resume format is a bit lacking, make some minor modifications to ensure it is visually appealing while still conservative. Some easy changes include updating the font to a sans serif (Calibri and Arial are easy on the eyes), selectively bolding a few key words or phrases that indicate your effectiveness or accomplishments, and using darker, muted colored bullet points (like dark blue or green) can jazz up even the most boring of resumes. Don’t forget to always send a PDF – Word documents can look different from device to device but PDFs are frozen!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to find a Kickstarter campaign for some of the other Back to the Future inventions that we NEED; who’s in to fund some self-tying shoes? They would look great on a hoverboard!
Please note that a version of this post was featured on the Job Hero blog.