Is Your Job Seeking Strategy Behind the Times?

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Hand tapping morse code on an antique telegraph machineIt’s easy to think that a cutting-edge job search strategy is about applying for jobs using the latest technologies like social media, mobile applications, online job boards, video resumes/interviews etc. But a cutting-edge approach to the job search is about more than just technology; it’s also about adopting bleeding edge job seeking practices that are proven to increase your chance of getting a well paying job. And below I have described four of the most effective job seeking practices in the current climate.

1. Phone a friend (don’t over rely on job boards)

A recent CareerXRoads study showed that just 18 percent of jobs are filled via job boards and that most jobs (24.5%) are filled via referrals and word of mouth. So, if your job seeking strategy is completely reliant or too reliant on job boards, you are way behind the times. You need to be dedicating at least 25 percent of your job search time to networking to find potential job opportunities before they are advertised. You also need to find people who can refer or vouch for you as a Federal Bank of New York study shows that referred employees are twice as likely to be short-listed and 40percent more likely to be selected for jobs

2. Learn a second language

According to a study by Booz Allen Hamilton employers are becoming increasingly drawn toward candidates with intercultural adaptability, which is partly characterized by speaking a second language in addition to English. As a result, candidates who speak a second language can command a wage premium of up to 4 percent (Chinese, German, Italian and Russian), according to research reported in Forbes Magazine. So, why not put down Angry Birds for a moment and download a language learning app today?

3. Be prepared to work flexibly (don’t be insistent on permanent full-time work)

Permanent full-time work is a great thing to have, but the job for life no longer exists. In truth, research shows that employers are giving out less permanent full-time jobs, but are replacing these with more contingency contracts, e.g. freelance, part-time and temporary. Being prepared to only accept full time, permanent work is an out outmoded job search strategy. If you want to increase your employment chances in the 2014 market, be prepared to work flexibly on a contingency basis, be that part-time, freelance or temporary. It could even be a route to permanent employment.

4. Do company culture profiling of prospective employers and apply for those that fit

Like it or not, recruiters are placing increasing importance on cultural fit over technical/functional skill fit. This study by Kellogg Business school has shown that today’s employees are more often than not choosing to hire people who are not only technically competent but culturally similar to them in terms of hobbies, interests and personal presentation styles. So, if you really want to increase your chances of getting a job in 2014, assess the company culture profile of potential employers and target those where you have the best cultural fit

Good luck in 2014!

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Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.