For many of us, staying with a company long-term can be a blessing. We know and love our organisation. We’re given opportunities to learn and grow, if we want them. We have the ability to accrue benefits such as long-service leave. We’re comfortable, and above all else, we’re happy. But with the troubling news that the economy may be on the brink of a recession, our once-stable jobs may not be so stable after all. And then – what next?
If you’ve been fortunate enough to not have to look for a job for a while, things might look a little different if you suddenly find yourself having to do exactly that. Paper resumes are a thing of the past – now, you apply almost exclusively online. And often, jobs find you. But how?
If you’ve been out of the job market for a while but you suddenly find yourself needing to look for a job, here’s what’s changed since you last applied – and how you can catch up and find that new job you need and deserve:
Online job boards
Anyone who has been with their organisation for a decade or longer will remember the good old days of job searching. You saw a vacancy in a newspaper, posted (or later, faxed) your resume, and then hoped for the best. Alternatively, you found a job through your family, friends or community (80 to 85% of all jobs were found this way).
Nowadays though, everything’s online. Most jobs are advertised through platforms you’ve probably heard of, including Seek, Jora, Adzuna and Indeed. Some of these platforms, such as Adzuna, are more like job board aggregators, where they scrape jobs from other platforms and amalgamate them all in one place.
Applying for jobs through job boards can be time consuming, especially if you are tailoring your resume to each vacancy (this is certainly recommended). But to make the most out of them, you should:
- Ensure you have an up-to-date resume. You can download a resume template from Seek, or for a more creative option, try Canva.
- Make sure you’re up to date with what’s required for cover letters. For cover letter examples in almost all industries, check out Kickresumes.
- Track what jobs you’ve applied for through various platforms. The last thing you want is for a recruiter to call and you can’t remember what role they’re asking you about! Career Money Life as a free job search tool that can help you do this.
Now, just as 20, 50 or 100 years ago, jobs are mostly secured through networking. The only thing that has changed is how you network. Networking still takes place in person, with lots of coffee catch ups, but often you create those connections online first these days. A great deal of these connections happen through the professional networking site LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has come a long way since its inception in 2002. Currently, the professional networking site boosts 575 million active users, with a staggering 14 million open jobs advertised on it every month. 90% of all recruiters use it, and 35.5 million people receive a job offer through it every year. So it’s fair to say that if you’re not on LinkedIn or not actively using it with your job search, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities.
Getting set up on LinkedIn takes a few hours, but is well worth the effort. To make the most out of LinkedIn, make sure you:
- Create a detailed LinkedIn profile, including a description of your past roles, career achievements, and goals. For tips on how to create a best-practice LinkedIn profile, see here.
- Choose a professional picture for your LinkedIn profile. Here are 10 tips for choosing the right profile picture.
- Select relevant skills on your profile, and make sure your colleagues/past managers endorse you. Doing so will show potential employers you have these skills, and will also ensure that recruiters looking for people with your skillset find you. Here’s how to add skills and make sure you’re endorsed.
- Strategically network. This can include adding potential employers/hiring managers, adding colleagues, or even adding experts/thought-leaders in your industry. While LinkedIn used to be exclusively for networking with those you had met, the rules on this have been relaxed over the past few years as most professionals know they can benefit from having a large network.
- Make sure you let recruiters know you’re open to new opportunities. You can do so by following these instructions.
- Post relevant content. A great way to get noticed on LinkedIn is to post thought-leadership content relevant to your industry. Here’s a quick guide on how you can start publishing on LinkedIn.
Applying for jobs and getting shortlisted
When paper job applications were still common, jokes abounded on what exactly recruiters did with the ‘pile of resumes’ they received. Fortunately, this is no longer an issue – most job applications these days are received – and then shortlisted – through online tools called applicant tracking systems (ATS’s).
ATS’s have many benefits for jobseekers. They make it possible to always understand where you’re at in the job seeking process – recruiters can tag you as either having progressed or not, and you may receive automated notifications as a result. But as applicant tracking systems can also do shortlisting, it’s important to prepare your application in a certain way. Here’s how to optimise your application to ensure you’ve got the biggest chance of getting through to interview stage:
- Make sure you’ve aligned your experience with what’s required as per the job advertisement. Many ATS’s will scan your application against certain criteria to ensure it makes the first cut.
- Include relevant keywords (for example, systems you’ve used). ATS’s also scan for these keywords in the initial shortlisting process.
- For more information on how you can ‘beat’ ATS’s, see here.
Thankfully, jobs are still usually secured via an interview! But what happens in the lead up to a person-to-person interview may be quite different from anything you’ve experienced in the past. Specifically, numerous companies now using video interviewing to shortlist candidates.
Video interviewing can take two forms. Firstly, a recruiter may want to simply conduct an online interview through a platform such as Skype or Zoom. If this is the case, it’s just like a normal interview, except it takes place online. The second type of video interview is an automated interview through platforms such as Sonru, Wepow or AsyncInterview. Using these platforms, you’ll be prompted to answer certain questions, usually in a specified amount of time. These types of interviews can be a little more daunting, and some preparation helps.
Here’s how to succeed at both types:
Tips for succeeding at Skype/Zoom or prompted video interview
- Set up your laptop/webcam professionally. In order to do this, make sure you’re in a distraction-free, quiet room. Check what’s in the background of your view, and make sure you are happy for the Recruiter to see that.
- Test your webcam and computer audio. There’s nothing worse than starting an interview, and your equipment doesn’t work! Make sure you test this prior to your interview.
- Dress professionally. Even though you aren’t interviewing in person, make sure you still dress professionally, as at least half of you will be seen! Avoid bright colours (including white) as they can be distracting.
- Make eye contact and don’t fidget.
Tips for succeeding prompted video interview
- Prompted video interviews can take a bit of getting used to, so even if you don’t know the questions you’ll be asked, practice answers looking at your webcam, so you get used to using it.
- Most prompted video software allows you to re-record at least some of your answers. Use this opportunity to practice as well.
- For more tips on how to succeed at video interviews, see here.
As data has enabled our forecasting to get better and better, companies are now able to better prepare for what roles and skills they’ll need in the future. As such, talent pipelining has become quite common. If you haven’t heard of talent pipelining, it’s where recruiters create pools of candidates who have the skills they need, even if they don’t have an opportunity for them right away.
In order to fill these pipelines, companies may advertise roles that don’t yet exist, or proactively reach out to people via LinkedIn.
As pipelining is led by recruiters, it’s hard to ensure you get included in pipelines. However, to make sure that recruiters can find you when they’re undertaking this process, ensure you:
- Create and optimise your LinkedIn as described above, as well as showing recruiters that you’re actively interested in roles
- Let recruiters you meet know that you’re interested in being placed in talent pipelines.
- Join talent communities for the companies you would like to work with so you get on their radar. You can join these communities via LiveHire.
Securing work in the digital age
There’s no doubt that in the last one or two decades, job searching has changed irrevocably. But what hasn’t changed is that companies still value skills, experience and wisdom and seek these out in the hiring process.
Catching up may seem daunting, and it certainly involves a couple of hours work and a bit of getting used to. But with the right tools, including LinkedIn, an ATS-optimised resume, and a bit of practice with video interviewing, you’ll be well-equipped to find and succeed at your next role.
Are you reentering the job market for the first time in awhile? Career Money Life can help. Our digital careers platform enables you to access hundreds of career coaches and LinkedIn and CV experts. Our free platform also has a job search management tool tailored specifically for experienced professionals new to the job search market. Using our tool, you can manage and track your job search activity and be notified of new roles that suit your experience and skills.