Millennials are getting a lot of attention because they’re considered “job hoppers,” only staying in a position for a year or two.
And while it’s true that older workers generally stay at a job longer than younger ones, these days, few workers retire from the same job they’ve held their entire career.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics published the results of a long-term study of younger baby boomers from age 18 to age 48 and found that they held an average of 11.7 jobs during those 30 years.
Research from the United States Department of Labor’s Current Population Survey found that workers have been with their current employer for a median of 4.6 years.
When you haven’t looked for a job in a while, a job search can be intimidating.
What To Consider When Starting Your Job Search
One of the biggest things to consider is how much the job search has changed since the last time you looked for a new job. If it’s been five years, 10 years — or more — since your last job search, there are some things you need to know to conduct a modern job search.
Job search methods have changed dramatically, especially in recent years.
Think about how much your life has changed in the past few years.
Remember what your life was like the last time you searched for a job.
If it was 10 years ago, flip phones were the rage.
The iPhone wasn’t even introduced until June 2007.
Google started working on the self-driving car in 2009. If you think back to how much has changed in your life since the last time you looked for a new job, it’s no wonder that the job search has changed as well.
Whatever your reason for making a change now, you will find lots of conflicting advice online about resumes and the job search.
Has The Resume Been Replaced? What’s The New Resume?
Some articles will tell you that the resume is dead and Google or LinkedIn are the “new resume.”
That’s not entirely true.
The vast majority of recruiters and hiring managers still rely on fleshed out resumes in the hiring process.
And from the jobseeker’s perspective, the work you do with a professional resume writer to develop the resume is instrumental in identifying the value you have to offer to a prospective employer and coming up with the content that will populate your LinkedIn profile.
Will You Need More Than a Resume?
So you probably need a resume and a LinkedIn profile or some other type of online presence.
Speaking of LinkedIn, it can be an important job search tool, helping you be found online by recruiters and hiring managers looking for someone with your specific skills and experience.
A “complete” LinkedIn profile — that includes a current photo, targeted Headline, succinct Profile, and full content in the Experience, Education, and Skills sections — is important. But it doesn’t replace the resume.
How Have Resumes Themselves Changed?
The old “objective” statement at the top of the resume has been replaced with an “executive summary” or “qualifications profile” that immediately showcases who you are and what you have to offer a prospective employer.
Objective statements were about what you wanted; the new resume summary shows purpose and pizzazz and is about what you can do for the employer.
The days of the “generic” resume are also gone. Instead, your resume must be specifically targeted.
A resume that is not tailored towards a specific type of position is a “career obituary” and tells the story of the past — not the potential you have to offer to a prospective employer and how your specific experience, education, and skills can benefit the company or organization.
An interview-winning resume spells out the specific value that you have to offer the prospective employer without including additional, irrelevant experience.
To create such a document, it is important to understand the specific needs of that particular role — and, in many cases, tailoring the resume for the needs of a specific company.
Need Some Secret Sauce? Here’s How to Write a Better Resume.
With this in mind, it is important for you to identify a specific job title that you are pursuing, and even more helpful to collect 3-5 job postings for this type of position, even if these job postings are no longer active and even if you do not wish to apply to this specific company.
Being able to incorporate relevant keywords while describing current and past work experience is one way to demonstrate value to a prospective employer. An analysis of relevant job postings helps make this possible.
Not surprisingly, the biggest thing that has changed in the job search is the impact of technology. The ability to apply online for a position has contributed to a substantial increase in the sheer volume of applications that companies receive for open positions. It takes literally seconds — and costs almost nothing — for a jobseeker to apply for a position online.
Consequently, companies are inundated with applicants for job openings. Some companies receive more than 20,000 applicants for each advertised position.
In response to this deluge of applications, companies are using technology to handle the resumes and help identify candidates to interview.
Intro to Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) — How ATS Systems Have Changed the Resume Screening Process
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have changed the application and resume screening process, particularly in mid-size and large companies. The ATS software allows companies to determine which candidates may be a match for a particular position, based on their resume.
Companies with more than 50 employees are most likely to use some kind of applicant tracking system software to screen applicants. If you’re applying online for a position — whether through a company’s own website or a portal like Indeed or Monster — it’s likely that your resume and application will be entered into a database.
Only if you have the specific qualifications outlined in the job posting will your resume ever be seen by a human being — and even then, the amount of time spent reading and reviewing each resume has significantly decreased.
Also due to ATS software, resume length is not as important as it used to be, as many resumes are first assessed by a computer, not a human being. Whether one page or two, the most important factor is having the right content to attract the interest of the hiring manager but also including the keywords to be found in a query of the company’s applicant tracking software.
Your resume must be written to appeal to both the computer software and the human reader.
One advantage for jobseekers applying through an applicant tracking system is that some systems automatically notify candidates whose resumes don’t meet the position requirements as identified by the ATS software.
Many years ago, companies would let applicants know if they were not a fit for the position.
However, that became rarer as the volume of applications increased. Consequently, notification by the ATS that the application has been rejected allows the candidate to pursue other opportunities to be considered for the role (i.e., using networking contacts), to tweak the resume, or to simply move on.
But don’t be discouraged.
One thing that hasn’t changed: People still hire people. So it’s more important than ever to focus on how you can add value to a prospective employer and get your resume in the hands of someone with the authority to hire you.
The Least Effective Way For Finding a New Job
The least effective way to find a job is to apply for advertised openings, sending your resume online through a company employment portal or a third-party website. You are just one of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of applicants, and even a standout resume will have a hard time cutting through the clutter with a large pool of applicants.
To increase your chances of securing an interview, you need to bypass the company’s Human Resources department and get your resume in the hands of the hiring manager.
The hiring manager is the person in the company with the ultimate authority to offer you the job. In a small company, it might be the owner or the individual who reports to the owner. In a larger company, it might be your future direct supervisor or a specific department manager.
While technology may impact how you connect with a hiring manager and how you apply for a position, you’ll still need to make your case for why you should be hired.
And if you’re not a perfect fit for the position, try to find a way to connect with the hiring manager directly in case your resume doesn’t make it out of the ATS. Technology has actually made the process of getting directly to the hiring manager easier.
Even a few years ago, the best way to find out the name of the hiring manager was to call the company and ask.
These days, you can look at the company’s website or use Google and/or LinkedIn to identify the specific person to contact.
There are two ways to get your resume directly to the hiring manager — by email or by snail mail (postal mail). It used to be effective to fax your resume to a hiring manager, but not anymore. In many cases, you should actually email the hiring manager and send your resume and a customized cover letter to the hiring manager via mail.
Although you may be tempted to skip this step, or only send an email, you’re going to get more attention as a candidate if you put in the extra effort and actually mail a hard copy of your resume and cover letter. Few applicants will go to the trouble to do so, so it can really help you stand out.
Another way to get to the hiring manager is through the people you already know — and/or the people they know. In addition to helping you connect with hiring managers, networking can also be a way to identify unadvertised job opportunities — accessing the “hidden job market.” (The “hidden job market” refers to jobs that are not advertised publicly. These positions may be filled through employee referrals, recruiters, or direct contact with hiring managers through networking.)
Research consistently indicates that more than 40% of jobseekers identify networking as the reason they found their most recent job.
Networking is actually more important in a modern job search than ever before. It really is “who you know” more than “what you know.” But that doesn’t mean you have to have hundreds of friends on Facebook or attend networking events each week. Instead, you need to be strategic about making connections with people who can help you get the job you want.
Whether that means creating a LinkedIn profile and connecting with previous co-workers and participating in LinkedIn Groups for those in your industry or letting a close circle of friends know that you’re looking for a new opportunity, it’s not about broadcasting to the world that you’re looking for a job — it’s about identifying the people you already know who can help introduce you to the people you need to get to know in order to move forward with your job search.
The first step is to identify who is in your network.
This can include: friends, relatives, parents of children’s friends, parents and relatives of your friends, club members, cousins, neighbors, current and previous co-workers and managers, suppliers, professional association contacts, your community contacts (civic leaders, clergy, etc.), and your doctor, financial advisor, or attorney. Your holiday card list, if you have one, can be a good starting point for identifying who is in your network.
If you don’t already have a list, start one! Make a list of all of your contacts — past employers, vendors, customers, colleagues, competitors, bankers, and others. You never know who may have a great lead or know of an unadvertised opportunity.
Technology has also made an impact on the hiring process — specifically, the pre-screening interview.
The Internet makes it easy to apply for a job anywhere in the world, but the company is not going to incur the expense of an in-person interview unless the candidate is a good fit — and often that is determined through one or more virtual interviews.
In the “old days,” you’d likely receive a face-to-face interview with someone from human resources before meeting with the hiring manager. These days, you might have a 10-minute phone interview or a virtual interview over Skype before you meet with anyone in person.
Traditionally, virtual interviews (usually phone interviews) were used to conduct a pre-screening for an in-person interview and to answer any questions not addressed in the resume. But, today, phone interviews are also replacing some in-person “first interviews.” You may be asked the same questions on the phone you might have expected would be asked in a face-to-face interview.
Virtual interviews are generally shorter than in-person interviews — they may be as short as five minutes, or last up to an hour. The typical phone interview lasts 20-30 minutes. When the phone interview is scheduled, ask how much time to allow — and then add 30 minutes to it, just in case.
In-depth phone interviews are also more common in management and executive positions — especially when relocation is required. For these types of positions, one or two phone interviews may be conducted before an invitation is made for a face-to-face interview.
One thing that has changed for new grads to long-term employees looking to change jobs— or a new career path — loyalty is no longer rewarded. If you’ve been working at the same company for 10, 15 or 20 years, employers may be reluctant to hire you, thinking you will have a hard time adapting to a new company culture. For this reason, it is especially critical to have a story about why you are looking for a new job.
And remember to tie this story to the value you can offer your next employer.
It’s also crucial that you demonstrate that you can succeed in a technologically advanced world.
That means no AOL, Hotmail, or Yahoo email addresses.
Use Gmail … or, better yet, your own name as your domain name with an email address that incorporates it (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are going to be applying for positions online, set up a separate email address that you use only for your job search. That way, if you sign up for job alert notifications, you won’t have to unsubscribe from them when you land your new position.
However, once you’ve landed your new position, keep in mind that it’s unlikely you’ll be in your new job as long as you were in your previous position. The modern job search means that you always have to be ready for new opportunities.
Another thing that has changed is how you use your resume in the job search.
You don’t need to print out more than a handful of resumes. In the old days, you’d print out dozens of copies of your resume on linen or cotton paper. This time around, you may only need 10-15 copies. You will want to have a few copies of the print versions to give to your references, to mail to hiring managers you’ve already contacted through email, and to give to the hiring manager in the interview.
Otherwise, you’ll probably mostly be emailing your resume.
When you haven’t looked for a job in a long time, you’re also more likely to be a target for scams. Scammers sometimes put together job postings that look like they’re from real companies.
They might even use the real company’s name and logo, but the e-mail address it comes from is from a Yahoo! or Gmail account. Some of these scam opportunities are also coming through disguised as LinkedIn connection requests or job postings. You have to look very closely at the details in order to determine that it’s actually not a legitimate opportunity.
Some scammers don’t even bother to make it look like the job opening is with a major company — instead, they’ll just make up a job opportunity in the hopes of hooking unsuspecting jobseekers.
This take on “catfishing” (where an unsuspecting individual pursues a relationship with a fictional boyfriend or girlfriend) is popular because it costs the scammer little or no money, and is very effective.
The purpose of these fake listings is to collect the jobseeker’s Social Security number, credit card information, and/or bank account information, which is then used to access your bank account or steal your identity. This is sometimes done by requesting that the applicant pay to have his or her credit score checked or a background check done, and you are directed to a scam website where your personal information will be harvested and stolen. Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
One of the best resources for you in a modern job search is your resume writer.
When in doubt about something you’ve heard, or read about, ask!
While it can be tempting to ask friends, family members, or others who have recently gone through a job search, a more reliable source of information is a professional resume writer who is committed to staying on top of the changing world of work, including trends and technology that will impact your ability to successfully secure your dream job by helping you navigate through the modern job search.