If it has been a few years since the last time you went on a job hunt, you need to know that things have changed. Sure, there’s advice from 2011 that still applies today – for example, networking is still a great idea. That being said, you’ll need to brush up on the latest job search strategies if you want to land a role.
One particularly important new development you should know about: Using social media to stay connected, visible, and engaged in your network is critical to job search success today.
Of course, that’s not where it ends. Here are 14 tips to help you find a new job like a modern job seeker:
1. Don’t Overestimate Tech
Artificial intelligence is a big deal in recruitment circles today, with many people claiming that chatbots like Mya will help you get your next interview.
The way I see it, unless Mya is advanced enough to laugh and cry, it isn’t likely to increase your chances of landing the job. It is still true today that nothing beats getting a referral from someone you know.
2. Think Outside the Box to Gain New Skills
Volunteering, entrepreneurial ventures, and side gigs are great ways to gain new job experiences and skills. Don’t accept “You don’t have the experience” as the final word. Go get that experience.
3. Stay Engaged
The modern job seeker remains perpetually engaged in the job search in a number ways: networking, consulting, training (as both trainee and facilitator), professional development, and social media promotion. Take every opportunity you can to build your personal brand.
4. Breathe Life Into Your Resume
According to Jessica Dillard of Dillard & Associates, it’s time to stop treating your resume like a transactional document. Instead, use your various experiences to craft stories that demonstrate your results.
Furthermore, stop treating the job search as a transactional process. At every step, try to approach your job search as a “collaborative, engaging partnership,” Dillard says.
5. Whip Out Your Phone
Your smartphone is an invaluable aid in your job search. Scanning documents, sending emails, submitting applications, completing assessments – you can do it all through your phone. You can also use your smartphone for career development purposes by accessing online courses and programs.
6. Higher Ed. Degrees: Not Totally Necessary
A higher education degree is no longer the sure bet to advance your career. Before investing in another degree, take a look at successful people in your industry or career track. Do they have degrees?
7. Build a Team
Some career coaches are open to working with groups rather than single clients. See if you can find some like-minded professionals to start a “career partnership” group and split the cost of a career coach. You and your group members can also add value to one another’s job searches.
8. Get Past the ATS
Some reports suggest that more than 70 percent of resumes are rejected by applicant tracking systems (ATSs) before they’re ever seen by a human being. To ensure your resume gets through the gate, check out tools like Jobscan, which compares your resume against the job ad and suggests ways to improve your resume accordingly.
9. Offer Social Proof
Social media profiles alone are not enough. You’ll need social proof, too – that is, proof of the value you create as an employee shared by others on social media.
Are you engaged in the conversation at large in your industry? Have you published articles or peer-reviewed research? Does the industry recognize your contributions? More than 90 percent of recruiters check out potential candidates on social media. They’ll pay attention if they see you actively engaged in your industry – e.g., sharing industry news, interacting with thought leaders, and being praised by clients and coworkers.
10. Ready Your References
Many employers will require at least three people to vouch for you. I recommend having up to seven people who are ready to speak up on your behalf. You should know what these references will say if contacted and to which of your strengths they can speak most effectively.
11. Small Is Beautiful
Big companies are not the only option. Small businesses and startups are increasingly viable options. If you’ve never worked for a smaller operation before, you might also consider freelancing with a potential employer to test drive their culture before committing.
12. Stay on Your Toes
In-demand skills change constantly today, so you’ll have to be flexible. By 2021, more than a third of the skills considered “important” for today’s workers will have changed, according to the World Economic Forum.
13. Defensive Googling Is Essential
Recruiters will be looking you up on Google – you should do the same. Google yourself once a week. Take note of any results that tarnish your image – including those that may be about other people who happen to share your name.
For some help on managing your Google results, read this article.
14. Archive Your Performance
Keep an exhaustive list of your professional accomplishments, the career development programs you’ve completed, the results you’ve achieved, and the positive impacts of your actions at work. Keep your old performance reviews and kudos emails. These things will help shape your outlook on the future, restore confidence during trying times, and build your resume.
If you ever say, “I’ve tried everything, but nothing has worked,” then you have given up too early. No job search strategy on this list – or any other list – is one and done. You may have to try targeting different people, companies, and locations until you yield results.
There are hundreds of job search tips available on the internet. Don’t attempt them all at once. Instead, try three or four at a time to see how well each works for you.
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.