– by Ainsley Lawrence
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer with an interest in the way business, technology, and education intersect with the personal. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book.
There’s no denying that job hunting can be an exhausting process. It’s one of the reasons people stay in roles no longer serving them. The thought of putting together a new resume and attending interviews can be daunting. But hesitancy here can stop you from making the kind of career move you might find genuinely fulfilling.
Nevertheless, it’s important to understand how times have changed. Simply adding your latest job to your resume may not get you the opportunities you deserve. There are aspects of job hunting you’ll need to step up your game on. You shouldn’t be overwhelmed by this, though. A little practical guidance can help ensure you make a positive impact.
So, let’s take a look at elements other than your resume you need to update. Why can these have an impact and what’s the best way to address them?
Your skills are among the most important elements potential employers pay attention to in a job application. When they look at your resume and cover letter, recruiters are establishing the value you’ll bring to the organization. It can be wise to update your skills to reflect those employers find most attractive.
From a technical skills perspective, it can be wise to focus on market gaps. Look at professional attributes your preferred target industries need now and in the near future. This may involve you taking courses to gain certifications in advanced automation technologies manufacturers are prioritizing. It could be gaining self-driven education for programming or web design abilities corporations value. If you’re uncertain how to best highlight these new skills on your resume, you can collaborate with our #JobSquad experts. They’ll help you communicate how your abilities serve recruiters’ skills gap priorities.
Alongside your technical skills, it’s important to keep your soft skills up to date. This includes aspects like empathy and problem-solving. The industry you’re targeting may have priorities, too. For instance, the healthcare industry needs professionals with experience managing emotional labor. In essence, this revolves around how well you keep your feelings in check around highly stressful environments. Unless you’re already in the industry or other high emotional labor professions like teaching, your abilities here may not be current.
As such, it’s important to identify experiences to help you build relevant soft skills. This could involve volunteering opportunities. In your applications, make sure you take the time to describe the soft skills you used in these scenarios and how the project benefited from them.
Your Hunting Methods
The recruitment methods organizations use develop over time. New technology comes into play as do fresh platforms and processes. By updating your knowledge of job hunting techniques, you can ensure you capture the attention of those who can offer career opportunities.
Firstly, you should understand that 75% of resumes are no longer first read by humans. Recruiters are increasingly making use of application tracking software (ATS) and related platforms. These scan applications and sites hosting resumes for the most relevant keywords for the candidates they are seeking. As such, if your resume shows you have a lot of great experience but doesn’t include the terms being searched for, you may slip through the net.
Look at job descriptions for the roles you want and look at the words and phrases used for the most important attributes wanted. Look at the websites of organizations you want to work for and research their descriptions of cultural aspects that are important to them. It’s worth making sure relevant keywords are incorporated into your application materials.
Alongside your applications, updating your job search techniques also applies to your networking approach. Don’t just rely on word-of-mouth from people you’ve worked with and met. The digital landscape is one of your most important and effective tools for making career connections.
Join professional groups on LinkedIn and engage in industry-related discussions on your social media accounts. Business summits and conventions are not limited to in-person events anymore. You can attend events virtually, join breakout sessions, and extend your professional network globally. As with in-person networking, though, it’s still important to make sure your approach is based on wanting to build genuine relationships.
The working environment has been steadily changing over the last couple of decades, though this has taken a bigger leap during the pandemic. More businesses have recognized the benefits of allowing employees to operate remotely. As such, both roles and the interview process can be performed virtually. Not everyone is well-suited to this. It’s important to update your practical knowledge here.
Get to know the challenges of working from home. Speak to friends, colleagues, and family to understand what their day-to-day activities and environments are like. Compare these to the self-knowledge of your working attitude and preferred processes. If there are aspects you think you’ll struggle with, identify solutions or think about resources you’ll need from employers so you can be most productive.
When you get interviews, it’s important to remember this isn’t the same as a casual Skype chat with your friends. Certain forms of etiquette are expected by recruiters. Even the background of your video call needs to have decor that reflects your professionalism. Neat desktops and shelves can suggest you’re well-organized. Having good quality light around you can also make it easier for interviewers to positively connect with you.
You may also find you need to update your behavior for interviews. They’re very different from in-person meetings. Seemingly small mistakes such as failing to maintain engagement or slouching can derail your chances of getting hired. Whenever possible, perform some practice remote interviews with friends or family. Get their feedback and record the sessions so you can review areas for improvement.
It is, of course, important to update your resume before applying for jobs. But there are also other key areas where some targeted improvements can boost your chances of success. Consider how you can bring your skills more in line with industries’ changing needs. Gain a better understanding of the techniques recruiters are using to identify good candidates. Remember that the current climate requires employees with experience in remote environments. With some commitment and research, you can put yourself in a great position for a rewarding career move.