Ten Ways Job Searches Have Evolved in the 21st Century
Some major differences exist between today’s job search and job searches of the past; many are the direct result of increased use of social media.
The first page of Google has become your new résumé. Recruiters are now using Google searches to find talent, instead of paying for job-board or talent databases like they used to. In fact, many companies even mandate that every new applicant go through a Google screening process. So that means that the first page of your Google search results matter much more than they ever did before.
A summary is enough. Nowadays, you no longer need a multipage résumé that includes lengthy, bulleted lists of all your past working experiences. A paragraph-long summary at the top of a one- to two-page résumé or in an online profile is more than enough to get by in the modern job-search market.
Social proof is a must. Social proof, or the notion that if others think you’re cool then you must be cool, is essential because it seriously reduces the perceived risk of you as a candidate. Social proof for a job seeker can be LinkedIn recommendations or even testimonials from ex-bosses.
You can set hiring managers’ minds at ease that you’re a low-risk prospect by offering social proof on your résumé and LinkedIn profile. A good standard is to have the number of recommendations equal to 10 percent of the number of contacts in your network.
Résumés and cover letters aren’t read on paper anymore. Most organizations aren’t receiving paper résumés in the mail anymore. Instead, they’re getting them via e-mail or their application system. Instead of printing and reviewing résumés on paper, most organizations review them on-screen. So expect your résumé and cover letter to be read on a computer screen and format accordingly.
Relationships come first, résumés come second. Thanks to the popularity of social media, your résumé may not be the first thing a potential employer sees about you. As more and more people connect with each other online through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, a potential employer is far more likely to see your online profile before ever setting eyes on your résumé.
Employers only care about what they want. In years past, a résumé or job application focused on what the job seeker wanted. Now an application, résumé, or cover letter must speak to what value the job seeker can bring to the organization. As you write your online profiles, be sure to communicate how you can bring value to a company and how soon that company can realize that value.
Gaps in employment are okay. Large gaps in your résumé aren’t as important as they used to be. Not only do employers realize that great and wonderful people get laid off, but they also appreciate when candidates show initiative and volunteer, take a temp job, or try to start their own business or blog. (Some analysts even predict that by 2020, most professionals will use the Internet to generate multiple streams of income in addition to their day job.)
Nouns are the new currency. Screening software and LinkedIn talent searches have introduced an unexpected element to the way a résumé should be written. Because these tools rely on nouns or keywords (rather than verbs) to deliver search results to recruiters, the résumés with the right combination of nouns often win.
Everyone has a personal brand and an online reputation. Ten years ago, not many people knew what a personal brand was or really had much of an online reputation. These days, even if you don’t know what a personal brand is or even if you’ve never touched a computer, you still have a personal brand and an online reputation.
Because recruiters and hiring managers are looking for red flags to help them narrow down their candidate pools, inconsistencies in your image or messaging and a sullied reputation may prevent you from passing screening. So you have to decide whether you’ll control your image or someone else will.
Employers expect you to be prepared. Thanks to the Internet, you have access to more information about a company at your fingertips than generations past. As a result, companies’ expectations for preparedness are much higher. To really shine, focus on customizing each résumé and cover letter for the company you’re targeting.