Past Issues

August 18, 2014

7 Ways Job Searching Has Changed

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7 Ways Job Searching Has Changed

Roger Wright, Change Management Consultant and Career Coach

If you haven't searched for a job recently, you might be in for a rude shock the next time you do. The job search has changed dramatically, as the Internet and the economy have both altered how employers operate and what job seekers can expect.

Has it been awhile since you've looked for work? Take a look at the following quick list to help save you some steps or even some heartache while searching for your next job.

1. Recruiting. This used to mean actively going out and finding the right person for a job. The right fit. Top-level recruiters still do that. But recruiting today is often more like sorting mail. Today it can mean turning on the virtual faucet and letting all the resumes pour in from the online job boards. Or it can mean social recruiting, where hiring managers and recruiters are searching for qualified candidates in professional social networks like LinkedIn.

2. Qualifications. There was a time, not so long ago, when the best way to get a job was to be qualified. What has changed is that employers have so many qualified candidates to choose from, simply meeting the job qualifications isn't nearly enough these days. More and more companies are turning to a multifaceted approach to search and recruit qualified applicants.

3. Automation. The comedian Groucho Marx once had a TV show where he'd say, "Say the secret word and win $100." Job search has it's own secret words. They're the key words used in resume scanning software. Use these secret key words and you will have a higher chance of being called in for an interview.

4. Age Discrimination. Public opinion polls suggest that age has now passed both race and sex as an obstacle to fair hiring. But the real stories of age discrimination are the personal stories of talented, wise and experienced people confronted by a system that is keeping them out of the workforce. To minimize the risk of age discrimination, recruiters are broadening their recruiting efforts, adding demographic variety to their hiring teams, avoiding biased comments and coming up with a structure for evaluating job candidates of all ages.

5. Networking. Served up as the cure-all to finding work, job seekers today are often hounded by the chorus of "just do more networking and you'll find work." In the past, job seekers would attend career fairs and industry events to build their network. Now with the advent of sites like LinkedIn, it's much easier to see in a matter of minutes who in your network is connected to a company you might like to apply to. In past years, you might never have found out that your sister-in-law's neighbor used to work for your dream employer. Today, the Internet makes that easy.

6. Gatekeepers. Whether it's software, a lower level employee, or an unanswered phone; gatekeepers are more enthusiastic about their own jobs than ever. Be polite and professional. Engage the gatekeeper in conversation and try to build rapport. For software gatekeepers, job seekers should focus on how a computer will evaluate their resumes. Key words are the most important consideration in resume software screening.

7. Good Fit. When the best recruiters talk about "fit" they are talking about a judgment. They are answering the question, "who is the very best person for that job?" Today's hiring process, on the other hand, is more about the data. Resumes, for example, are fashioned to be data delivery vehicles as opposed to stories of talent in action. The secret sauce of the perfect hire is someone who is a good fit both personally and professionally within the company. Do the necessary research on the companies that you would like to work for and, and when applying make sure to write about how you are a good fit in your cover letter.

Roger Wright is a career coach and author of "Finding Work When There Are No Jobs". After going through the grueling application process for some 25 positions, he still hadn't landed a full-time job. That's when it struck him that the usual advice didn't apply in the recession-era job landscape. After changing his strategy, he wound up cobbling together work for seven different clients and starting a career coaching practice that together now net him what he was making when he had a single-paycheck job.

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