Congratulations, you’ve decided to start looking for a new job! You might be feeling nervous, excited, overwhelmed, or all three. The good news is that people are actively getting jobs right now, in the middle of the pandemic. With the Federal Unemployment rate at 6.3%, the job market is pretty competitive, so might take a bit longer. As a job seeker, that means you should use all the tools available to give yourself a competitive advantage in this job market. We’ve rounded up some of our best tips to help you take your job search to the next level.
If you only take one thing away from this article, let networking be it. Networking is the MOST POWERFUL tool that you have at your disposal. The best part about networking is that unless the position has already been filled, it’s not too late to use it. When you apply for a job or see a posting that you’re interested in, the first question that you need to ask is if you know anyone at the company. Honestly, LinkedIn is one of the best ways to find this information out, but you can also search other social networking sites or even your email history too.
Right now, job postings are getting a lot of applicants. So many that sometimes recruiters and hiring managers can’t screen everyone manually. The intention behind networking is to have someone inside help your resume get to the top of the pile. If you have an internal employee recommending you for a position, even if they’re not in the same department or have nothing to do with HR, it can help get through the computer filters and get you in front of a real person.
So, what if you don’t have any connections at the company? Then you’re going to need to put in some work on that resume. Gone are the days of creating a single one-size-fits-all document that you can blast off at lightning speed for hundreds of jobs. While you might get a few hits playing the numbers game, you’re going to see much stronger returns if you directly reflect the job description keywords in your resume.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should copy the job description word-for-word in your resume. Try to incorporate the technical language and some soft skills as written in the posting. This customization will help you edge up higher in the ranks of applicants.
You may have heard this advice before, but here’s why it is crucial. In a competitive job market or a popular job (looking at you, project manager), there’s can be hundreds of applicants for a hiring manager or recruiter to go through. Applicant tracking systems help by sorting resumes for them and hiring managers start with the ones that the computer has determined to be the most likely best fit. The hiring manager can also filter and sort resumes based on experience, education, location, and other criteria. Still, if you don’t have the right keywords, your resume may never reach a real human.
Third: Online Interviews & Onboarding
A lot of companies have moved the entire hiring process virtually, from interviewing to onboarding. As you’re entering your job search, put some thought into your strategy for virtual interviews. There are many things to consider, and you want to be ready before you get the call from a hiring manager inviting you to interview. Check out our post on virtual interviews for more information and how to get prepared.
Congratulations! You got the job. Now, to onboarding. As many positions are currently virtual, your onboarding may look different than what you’ve experienced in the past. Building relationships with a virtual team can take more effort and energy than meeting someone face-to-face. Non-verbal communication makes up a large part of our relationships, and connections are harder to build through emails, so if possible, turn on your camera.
If you can, take advantage of social networking invitations at work where you can get some off work face time with colleagues. One word of caution, being at home can make it feel more comfortable and casual than after-hours meetups but remember you still have to work with these people. As you’re building these relationships, stay professional, and imagine that someone from your HR department is listening in.