As of September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports unemployment is below four percent. Job market competition is fierce, as people are more confident about their chances of landing new positions under these conditions.
The modern job search is full of twists, turns, and turbulence. There is no magic pill to guarantee success. Instead, job seekers need a variety of strategies to navigate and succeed in any job market. Here are 14 strategies that, I believe, can lead to real results:
1. Transition to New Technology
Blockchain and cryptocurrency are so new that there aren’t many people who can claim years of experience in the field. This opens up a tremendous opportunity for those in search of a career change. Recruiters are very willing to consider newbies who can be trained. As long as you’re open to learning and adept with technology, this could be the career path for you.
Similarly, renewable energy and other green technologies are booming. If cryptocurrency and blockchain don’t seem very attractive, consider this industry instead.
2. Prepare for New Interview Tools
Over the last few years, the interview process has become lengthier and more complicated. Many companies now incorporate behavioral assessments. Video interviews are commonplace. With the arrival of AI, some companies are even implementing facial recognition technology to read candidates’ body language. Don’t get caught off guard by any of those cutting-edge technologies. Prepare yourself ahead of time.
Of course, humans still make the final decisions. In addition to getting comfortable with these tools, be sure you can connect well with human interviewers.
3. Authenticity Doesn’t Mean Compromising Your Privacy
A mistake many people make is oversharing on the internet. It’s often done in the spirit of authenticity and transparency, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about your privacy. Sure, it may feel good to help people who face the same medical and financial challenges by sharing your story, but you could also be endangering your future employment opportunities. Seventy percent of employers screen candidates’ social media profiles during the hiring process. Everything you post is open to scrutiny.
Could posting about your mental health struggles or financial woes really lead to a lost job opportunity? Regardless of the ethics or legality, the answer is yes. Just keep that in mind.
4. Keep Your Data Protected
Speaking of privacy: There are predators on job boards and social networks who prey on people who are anxious to find new opportunities. Keep your wits about you, and take some time to shore up you social media privacy settings.
One neat thing I recently learned, courtesy of IT professor Nichelle Manuel, is that you can use your Facebook account settings to make sure no one else is accessing your info:
- On your Facebook page, go to “Settings” and then to “Security and Login”
- Find the section marked “Where You’re Logged In”
- Don’t recognize one of the devices registered? You can revoke its rights with one click.
5. Negotiation Is a Necessity
Most people struggle with negotiating their salaries, asking for a raise, or winning an upgrade to their benefits packages. In this hyper competitive job market, this skill is more necessary than ever.
If you’re not a great negotiator, try taking a class on Skillshare, Udemy, or another online learning platform. You can also do what I did and read Chris Voss’s book, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It, which I found immensely helpful.
6. Put the Work Into Maintaining a Quality Network
Quality connections don’t happen by accident. A quality network has depth and produces mutually satisfying benefits for all involved.
Build your network on an exchange of value. Meet and correspond regularly with your contacts. Try to provide just as much value to them as they do to you. When your bonds are strong, people will be more willing to help you find work and vouch for you.
7. Keep Your References Warm
Part of building strong relationships with your network is staying in touch with people who will act as your references. This could be as easy as following their activity on social media, updating them on your career progress, and reaching out to see how you can add value to their own endeavors. If they are not online regularly, you have to meet them where they are. Whatever you do, don’t wait until it’s reference time to reach out. Keep the relationship warm.
8. Keep Core Values in Mind
You’re more likely to get a job with a company if you share its core values — and you’re more likely to find the work fulfilling. Most organizations these days present information about their core values on their careers pages. Be sure to do your research, and demonstrate how you share a company’s values throughout the application and interview process.
9. Find a Mentor
I, personally, never would have made the management track without my mentors. To get ahead in your career, you need the kind of wisdom, guidance, and total honesty a great mentor can offer. Remember when choosing a mentor that it’s not about finding someone who can offer you a position, but someone who can help you become the professional you want to.
10. Embrace Texting
Text messaging is growing more popular among recruiters. You will need to be ready to respond to requests for assessments, interviews, applications, and other recruiting steps over text messaging. Heck, you may even be interviewed via text!
You probably don’t need the reminder, but I’ll say it anyway: Always communicate professionally no matter the medium — including text messaging.
11. Film Yourself
Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn encourage users to create videos to reach broader audiences, and employers are doing just that. You, too, can use video to your advantage during the recruiting process.
You may want to consider buying ad space on Facebook or another social networks to get your video introduction in front of the right people. Don’t go in blind. Read up on Facebook’s ad-buying options first to see if this is the right move for you.
12. Tell Your Career Story With a Little Personality
People remember how someone’s story is told as much as they remember the content of the story itself. Stories without personality are forgettable. Plus, a personable touch allows the interviewer to better imagine working with you for eight hours a day.
When telling your career story, you want your authenticity to shine through. Weave anecdotes throughout your story to clearly demonstrate how you’ve learned, applied, and perfected your skills.
I always say companies cannot train employees to have personalities, so they have to hire them.
13. Don’t Worry About Artificial Intelligence
We’re uncertain about how, exactly, AI will change the job search, but we do know that the human element is still a factor in hiring. You, the job seeker, must continue to present an irresistible package of hard and soft skills to the hiring manager. People hire people. Don’t become discouraged because new technologies threaten to take the human element out of hiring. By building a strong networking and deepening your relationships within it, you can disrupt any new technology. All it takes is one right person to put you in front of the hiring manager.
14. Stay Engaged in the Job Market
The job you love has an expiration date. It’s going to end for one reason or another. Keep an updated list of companies you’d like to work for — even when you’re perfectly happy at work. Keep up with these companies on social media, and network with their current employees. That way, you’ll be a known entity when the time comes to make a move.
Another benefit of engaging with companies while you’re employed: It’s easier to negotiate compensation when you have a steady paycheck coming in. You can walk away from an insufficient offer without worrying about paying your bills — because you’re already working.
The job hunt is not a one-size-fits-all affair, but I hope these tips lead you in the right direction as you head into your search. There should be something for everyone in the preceding list.
Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers” podcast, and the founder of the blog by the same name.