This time in 2020, millions of professionals were scrambling, trying to find jobs as a result of furloughs, layoffs, and terminations brought on by the pandemic. Oh, how things have changed! The tables have turned, presenting people not only with great employment opportunities but also a world of choices in where and how they work. At the same time, experienced, qualified professionals are in extremely high demand.
What can you do to increase your chances of landing your ideal job? Here are 10 tips to make the most of your career choices in the current environment:
- Think on ways to future-proof your career: The pandemic taught us that certain sectors are less vulnerable to job erosion than others in a crisis. And business evolution has always shown us which sectors and jobs will shape the future. Your experience and skills may lend themselves to more lucrative opportunities in a related or lateral field. Do some digging into the fastest-growing jobs and careers and explore how you might tweak your direction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook lets you explore occupations based on the highest paying, fastest-growing, and other metrics. Be informed!
- Make your resume sing: Preparing a resume is the all-important first step yet one of the most mind-numbing parts of exploring the job market. People often fumble the task, not realizing its power to derail a job search. And there is another barrier to entry called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), used by companies to screen applicants. Fortunately, technology can be your friend, too. Simon de Swaan recently shared a great article, How to Create ATS-Friendly Resumes – to ensure that your resume makes it into the hands of the person or hiring manager that you need to speak to.
- Catch up with your network: In advertising, word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of persuasion, and the same can be said of networking for a job. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks to get back in touch with colleagues, make new connections, and explore jobs. Also, take advantage of business networks and professional associations that will expose you to the types of companies and jobs on your radar.
- Establish a relationship with a recruiter: No one has greater access to hiring companies and current job openings than a recruiter. In addition to clout, they are also your advocate – someone who knows your experience, skills and aspirations, and how to position you for the jobs you want most. If you choose to go it alone, look for detailed job listings and consider the fit. By ‘detailed’ listing, we don’t mean five miles long. Many job listings are voluminous, intimidating, or demoralizing to read. Who could live up to all that? On the other hand, listings can leave a lot to the imagination, with no clarity at all. Ignore these. Look for listings that are comfortable to you. You might have to wade through a lot of them, but remember there are abundant opportunities available to you in today’s market! Be confident and selective. You can take a look at our current job listings here.
- Emphasize your soft skills: Following the massive business and process disruptions caused by the pandemic, employers are acutely aware of the need for professionals with soft skills. Are you good at listening, communicating, collaborating, building relationships, and resolving conflicts and problems? When presenting yourself to an employer, through your resume or in an interview, use these opportunities to express how your performance and that of your coworkers or teams are enhanced through your use of soft skills.
- Welcome protracted (lengthy) interview processes: More than ever, as companies begin to rebuild their teams, they are keenly focused on hiring the right people. Often, this means an interview process that involves one-on-one’s with several people within the organization. If the job and company feel right to you, welcome the process with enthusiasm and bring your A-game to each meeting, whether it is a virtual or in-person interview.
- Explore higher education and certifications: Although many employers are relaxing some of their job requirements to fill talent gaps, there are many fast-growing jobs that favor professionals with higher education, including MBAs and relevant certifications. Consider pursuing these on your own over time, or focus on employers offering these incentives to employees. Either way, you will make yourself more valuable now and for the longer term.
- Keep professional development top of mind: Another big transformation companies have endured as a result of the pandemic is the need for new roles and responsibilities. As you look for job opportunities, make it a priority to identify employers committed to upskilling and reskilling their people – because these are the companies and employees with the brightest futures. A recent study by Citrix called Talent Accelerator found that 82% of employees and 62% of HR directors believe workers will need to hone their current skills or acquire new ones at least once a year to maintain a competitive advantage in a global job market.
- Culture matters – is it a good fit for you? You may have everything it takes to excel in a job, but if the company culture is wrong for you or if the environment is ruled by group thinking and squelches entrepreneurial thinking, you may want to give it a pass. Be sure to explore available resources that can give you a birds-eye view into a potential employer’s culture.
- Shoot for the moon: Whether you are on a career track or simply looking for a different lifestyle through your job, this time like no other to go after your dream job. Management consultant Peter F. Drucker once said, “There is the risk you cannot afford to take, and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take.” Don’t let hesitation or fear stop you from getting out there and staking your claim in the market. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat.
Aim high with confidence!
If you prefer to embark on this important journey with a seasoned guide at your side, Goodwin Recruiting is ready to help. We are one of the top executive and professional recruiting firms in the country. We can help you hone your resume and hook you up with leading employers and opportunities that fit your skills, experience, desires, and working style like a glove.