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Monthly Archives: July 2018

Some Mistakes from Job Seeker

Underestimating LinkedIn

While the online landscape has complicated the application process, it has also served to benefit job seekers with the introduction of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the place to be because it offers a ton of benefits regardless of profession, level, goal or job search status (even non-job seekers need to have an optimized profile). For job seekers, this is the largest talent database, which translates to: “the place 100% of recruiters and hiring managers go to find their next hire.” For non-job seekers, LinkedIn is important because it allows you to be found for opportunities you least expect. LinkedIn is also a great resource for researching companies or career paths and managing your professional network. You don’t need to join every social network but trust me – you do need to be optimized on LinkedIn.

Not Communicating Your Brand

Professional brand strategy is probably the number one area for improvement when job seekers in need, contact me. Many job seekers think of a resume, cover letter or LinkedIn profile as a work history and tend to communicate a very standard, dull brand with every application. However, your application documents should be viewed as marketing materials used to paint yourself in the most desirable picture for your reader. The job market is competitive so taking time to carefully customize the best message for each application is critical for standing out in the crowd.

Try Viewing Your Profile from the Hiring Manager’s Perspective

Consider your resume valuable marketing real estate, only including that which is necessary and compelling for each application. Try adding a brief headline to immediately summarize what you do and always guide your reader to the info most relevant to his/her needs.

Overlooking Job Descriptions

Creating a strong brand in many ways is driven by the hiring manager’s needs as expressed in the job description. It’s not enough to identify a job that’s a perfect fit and assume the reader will also see your fit. You must tailor your brand to the job description and that means really understanding the need the company is trying to fill. Every job description is unique and every resume you send should follow suit. Identify keywords and skills within the job description and mirror that language in your resume. Aim to communicate one message: “I am the solution to the problem you need solved.”

Starting Too Late

Many people assume the job hunt is a quick process but the reality is, it can last upward of six months. Even if your job search is a few years out, never be afraid to test the market or throw your hat in the ring when an opportunity comes your way. The worst that can happen is an interested employer refuses to wait until you’re ready to start. The upside is you are able to test your brand against your target role, practice interviewing, take greater risk when negotiating with interested parties, and potentially end up in an even better opportunity.

Workforce Shortages

At an individual level the college student trying to select a major, the college graduate attempting to launch a career, the established professional looking to make a career transition, and the entrepreneur seeking lucrative opportunities are among those who may benefit from an analysis of where the workforce shortages currently exist and where employment projections are anticipated. Although such knowledge and considerations are not necessarily paramount determiners of one’s career development they are worth investigating to see if an alignment exists between these trends and one’s enduring or potential value proposition.

There are several reasons for the decline of qualified workers with demographics being the big one. The aging of Baby Boomers is naturally leading to more retirements and domestically there aren’t enough replacements. Ten years ago 400,000 workers per year retired. That number has risen to 1.2 million today. And the older population creates increased demand in fields such as healthcare where more workers are needed than in the past. For example physical therapists, occupational therapists, and even doctors are already in short supply and are still expected to be in the future.

However it isn’t just in healthcare where shortages exist. To be honest it does not appear that labor deficits are confined to just several industries but rather that it is a more widespread phenomenon. Even declining industries, such as manufacturing are experiencing acute scarcities. Of course not having enough workers trained with specific skills sets compounds the problem, but largely it is coming down to some basic math. Our bench is not populated enough to fill the number of vacating positions.

This should be good news for working-aged people. It suggests there could potentially be many fields and openings to pick from. Other benefits over time should include rising wages and continuously improving working conditions to retain talent.

To best position yourself to take advantage of this general opportunity some other trend lines should be considered. The Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees service sector jobs capturing 95% of newly created positions between now and 2024. Healthcare as mentioned above and social assistance jobs together will become the largest area of employment, surpassing government and business services jobs.

Technical occupations will also grow in number and demand looking forward. Automation will eliminate some jobs to be sure, but more likely is that technology will transform jobs that still need a person involved. The energy, transportation, and data analysis sectors are among those in need of technically trained people who can interact with and leverage technology productively.

Start Job Search

Get Focused on What You Want

It’s all about your target. What are you going after? Without this, watch out for endless job board roaming (yikes). When you actually do find what you want, you risk confusing the hiring manager with your lack of focus. They’ll want to know you are in it to win it ONLY with them. Spend some time getting focused on your target.

Get Clear on Who You Are

It’s all about your professional brand. Those in a position to hire must perceive you as the best person for their job – simple as that. One way to know if it’s a branding issue is if you’re not hearing back from the online application process OR your network. It’s very likely that they just don’t know how to help you because you are not aligning your fit to your target.

Identify the Best Tools to Support Your Job Search

There are more tools than ever available to job seekers depending on the bite-sized part of the search they are focusing on. If it’s the online job search and finding jobs, try job boards.

One of the most powerful professional branding tools ever is LinkedIn since most hiring managers will likely stumble upon your profile before they ask for your resume. As a rule of thumb, you should be appearing in hiring manager searches and receiving connection requests from your target industry. If you aren’t, you’ll want to consider spending more time on profile optimization. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the other features/benefits available via LinkedIn.

Another tool I’m loving is Jobscan. This tool is designed to scan your resume for keywords so you know how to optimize your resume for ATS systems (in case you find yourself being lost in the job board black hole). If you’re not sure about your resume keywords, I STRONGLY recommend you give Jobscan a try!

Contact Your Network

While the idea of networking may terrify you immensely, it still remains that your best chance of landing a job quick is through the people you know. This should be your entry point with every application if possible. Start by making a list of everyone you know and reach out accordingly based on the nature of the relationship. You don’t want to email blast your network but rather address each contact strategically. If you need more networking tips to feel comfortable, at least start by jotting down the names of your offline and online (LinkedIn) contacts. This is a great first step in seeing the possibilities that exist even before you head to the job boards.