Because it is a job seeker’s market, every job is temporary — at least millennials seem to think so. Last year’s Jobvite study agrees with them. You might hate the job search, but this is the time to do it!
According to the 2015 job preparedness study from the DeVry University Career Advisory Board, the job seekers who succeed in their searches today are those who target specific companies and use social media and other Internet tools to seek out the needs of employers.
Want to find a new job in 2016? Here are a few tips, based on the behaviors of those successful job seekers:
Most of the time, employers receive more applicants than they need (or desire) for their positions. Timing is everything, so the first applicant who is able to stand out (not just the first to apply) will at least get a shot at an interview. If you’re prepared to engage in a job search from your mobile phone, you can stand out in several ways:
- Take advantage of Wi-Fi whenever you can find it. That way, you can apply, contact, and network wherever you are. If there is no Wi-Fi connection, your smartphone likely has a data plan you can use to respond to or initiate inquiries. Timeliness is a factor in the job search, and if you can work from your phone, you increase your chances of being the first to stand out.
- How accessible are you? Fax machines are rare these days, but there are now smartphone apps like HelloSign and HelloFax that you can use to send and receive documents.
- In terms of contact info, it’s best to use your mobile phone for any job-related call, email, or text. This will allow you to respond to employers more quickly. Being the last to respond to a job post or recruiter email could say you’re out of touch. Don’t be that guy.
- Are you a student? Then you should be using the LinkedIn Students app to apply for jobs while on the move.
- Quality responsiveness sets you apart. How well you respond matters just as much as how quickly you respond. You need to sound well-researched and informed when you talk to potential employers. Show off your understanding of the opportunity, the employer, and the marketplace.
How quickly you move to and through different platforms can determine your job search success.
Let’s say your screening interview is changed to Skype instead of a phone interview. Are you ready? The conference call turns into a presentation on Blab, and you’re away from home. What do you do?
You say that hasn’t happened and won’t happen to you? Think again.
Let’s say you get to the in-person interview, and they ask you to do a presentation in addition to the panel interview. Your ability to adapt is critical, and you may not have as much time to prepare as you like. Your competition is always ready, and you’re not, because you haven’t interviewed in years.
How do you react when you find out you’ll need to learn new software? If you can’t adapt to the various screenings an employer desires, it will be difficult for you to move forward in the process. Then again, if the technology is your Achilles heel, it will be difficult showing employers your technology skills. Personal use of technology often (though not always) reflects your ability to use it in a professional environment.
Another negative sign is when you are quick to vocalize your discomfort with using new technology in any form. This will usually cause your standing to take a hit.
More than 60 percent of employers vet job applicants online. No online presence, no interview.
Social media is not a defensive strategy anymore. It’s not about adjusting your privacy settings to keep an employer from seeing your compromising pictures and comments. The sounder strategy is to use your social media presence to impress your potential employers.
You can increase your visibility by turning content into proof of your skills and industry knowledge. Post photos, videos, and audio from industry meetings, networking events, and presentations you give. Your updates will intrigue employers and recruiters enough to consider you (and possibly engage with you). They will also capture the attention of those who are in your network.
The little things count, too: Online and offline comments — any instance where you share your ideas or thoughts, no matter how small — can help you boost your personal brand.
If you’re not paying attention to the changes in job searching today, you will lose. Your competition does not use the traditional methods of finding a job. When I was dating my wife, she liked balloons more than flowers. I would have lost out if I kept buying her flowers because flowers are “traditionally” what you buy for your significant other. When it comes to courting employers, your attitude should be almost the same.
Ultimately, differentiation is essential to getting to the next step of the application process. If you look, sound, and act the same as everyone else does, then you’ll be treated just like they are.
Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers” podcast, and founder of the blog by the same name.