Thinking of looking for a new job? Now is the time to do it. That’s what experts are saying, anyway. This past January the U.S. unemployment rate hit an 8-year low of 4.9%.
With fewer people out of work, recruiters are finding it harder to find job applicants to fill open positions. According to the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), 2016 will see an increase in that trend. All in all, these factors indicated that the power in the jobs market lies with job-seekers, not employers.
But competition for the best jobs will always be intense, that’s why job search site CareerCast assembled a list of tips from top experts on how you can put your best foot forward in the modern day career market.
Highlighted below (and in the slideshow above) are the latest nuggets of wisdom for those looking for new opportunities in an ever-changing professional landscape
Meet The New Resume
About to update your resume? Wait until you read this. It would appear that the traditional concept of a resume or CV is being replaced with something else. With new technologies to play with, job seekers have the ability to communicate their qualifications and accomplishments in more interesting ways.
Using graphics like charts and tables or other types of pictures that illustrate relevant facts, is now fair game, says Blue Fountain Media hiring manager Tom Duffy. You can even build a career history and set of goals as part of a personal website so that prospective employers can access a unique and more engaging type of resume. “If you are in a visual or presentation-focused field it’s nice to present something a little more than Times New Roman,” Duffy says.
Beat Your Fears
Fears can make you hesitate. They can make you question yourself and even dull your confidence in your greatest strengths. If you’re going to go out there into the job market, you’ve got to get your head on straight.
According to career coach Rachel Ritlop, the best way to begin facing career fears is to write them down. That’s what she tells her clients to do. “Look at those fears and ask, ‘what history or evidence do I have that reinforces this fear? When have I overcome this fear at one time or another?’”
It’s Who You Know (Seriously, It Is)
There are so many job search sites available it can be confusing sometimes. There are also more career advisers and resume consultants than you can count. Though these sources can strengthen your chances on the job hunt, they all pale in comparison to the power of a referral from a contact. If you know someone in a company at which you’d like to work, that angle has the greatest chance of getting your foot in the door.
Tom Duffy, from Blue Fountain Media, concurs. “If anybody who works at Blue Fountain Media refers someone, I’m going to call them,” Duffy says. “[A referrer is] 1) Going to know if [a referral] might have the skills we’re looking for, and 2) We communicate as a sign of respect to current employees.”
You can make valuable connections at industry meetups or events. All the top social media outlets are also good sources of connections—look for industry-specific chats and meet people. “Connect through social media,” says Tony Lee, managing editor of the Society of Human Resource Managers. “Find someone within the department who wrote a blog, and reach out through their blog.”
“Know Your Worth”
That’s Ritlop’s advice to job seekers. If you price yourself too low in order to get a job, she says, you are essentially opening yourself up to a lot of heartache in the future as you find yourself making less than you would have because your starting salary was not what it should have been when you started. Confusing? The takeaway is: don’t sell yourself short.
On the other hand, if you ask for too much in the hope that a prospective employer will counter with a lower offer, you may find yourself waiting in vain, says Duffy. The best course of action is to know how much others in the same position are making so you’re not too far off-base when negotiating salary.
Know How To Do A Job Before You Go To The Interview
For employers, training and getting new hires acclimated is a chore. If job interviewers get the sense that you know what it takes to be successful in an offered position and won’t need a lot of time to get cracking, they will feel a lot better about hiring you. “Position yourself to show you can hit the ground running,” says Tony Lee, managing editor of the Society of Human Resource Managers. “Demonstrate that you can fulfill the requirements without a great deal of training.”
According to the report compiled by CareerCast, the two most often cited skills that employers are looking for in job candidates are communication and organization. One of the things that factoid indicates is that regardless of the position you apply for, you are probably going to need people skills, or ‘soft skills.’
Sure, you can understand the physical equipment used in whatever job you’re looking for, and you can accrue experience with developing such ‘hard skills’ before you apply for a new job, but so will just about every other candidate for that position. Being able to show in a job interview that you can connect with the person sitting across from you – and make them believe that you can be organized and even a leader – you will have a better chance of making a good impression.
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