You *will* get a new job

You *will* get a new job

I work with job seekers every day, and I’ve noticed a pattern. They each have a list of reasons why someone *won’t* hire them, why they’re *not* qualified, and how the lack of response to their applying to many jobs is a clear reflection of their qualifications. “I don’t have 7-10 years of experience,” “I don’t have PMP certification.” “My background is in the wrong industry.” If you don’t think you are worthy of hiring, why should anyone else?

Those who are unemployed have a tendency to spiral downward, and by the time they do get an interview, they’re so down on themselves, they don’t perform as well in interviews. Their negativity and defeat may also show through to hiring managers, despite their forced enthusiasm. The biggest challenge isn’t getting an interview, it’s remembering why you’re worth hiring in the first place.

Why Robots Screen Your Resume

The job market is quite good, but that doesn’t mean finding a job is easy. Many people with existing jobs are out looking for a new one, which means there are many applicants for a single role. Which means much more screening is required to sift through the applicants, which is why automation is used.

Because there are so many candidates, many applicants may make it through the applicant tracking system (ATS), the automated filtering process, which means humans are now left to sift through those candidates who remain. More applicants to review means HR screeners take longer to plow through them. Hiring managers must interview more people, and others must interview candidates who make it past the first round of interviews. All of which takes longer than you might expect, despite the urgency of filling a position. The bigger the company and the faster the growth, the slower the process. Seems counter-intuitive, right? Are you surprised? Set your expectations accordingly. Be in it for the long haul.

What Do You Really Want?

Most people focus on a job posting’s requirements rather than their own. The first step is to figure out what makes you happy, what your key talents are, and how you want to spend your days. What are your “non-negotiables”? What are your nice-to-haves? Searching for a new job is a great opportunity to fix what’s broken and enjoy more of your time. You only live once.

It doesn’t make sense to craft a different resume for every job posting. Ideally, your core skills, interests and experiences remain. If you target the right type of role and are specific in why you’re a good fit, the rest takes care of itself. By trying to be all things to all people, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Why Keywords Matter

Every applicant has something unique to offer, yet many won’t make it through automated screening because they’re not keyword experts. Some people include every task they’ve ever performed, which can crowd out their skills and accomplishments.

Hiring managers typically want to see someone who has already performed successfully in the same role, so the keyword matching process makes sense to a certain extent. Someone who needs training will take longer to get up to speed than someone already proficient and experienced. For an employer, investing the time and effort to train someone is less appealing in a market where workers won’t stay more than two to three years in their role, especially when plenty of quality candidates are out there.

Those who write job descriptions include critical keywords that are directly related to automated screening. By reviewing several job postings, you can see a pattern of those keywords and can include them in your resume as appropriate. Think of a job posting like a personal ad. If the poster reveals they love dogs, don’t ramble about how much you love cats; mention several great stories about dogs.

Don’t be a Job Hopper

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers age 25 to 34 stay at a company an average of 3.2 years. In contrast, those over age 65 stay 10.3 years. Initially, job hopping may get you a better title and salary, but over the long run, once you show a pattern of job hopping, employers will be less likely to hire you, thinking that you’re using them as a stepping stone to another role.

Perhaps you have a buddy who left your current company and is now thriving at his new one. He calls you and tells you about a job “you’d be perfect for.” Having little money in your savings account limits your options, and makes you feel like you have to take a job if one is offered to you. If at all possible, don’t settle. There are enough jobs out there.

Don’t let your immediate circumstances, fear of failure, or someone else determine where you land. Be the driver in your journey toward your next role, not a passenger. Yes, it’s easy to react when someone brings you an opportunity, but think in terms of the long game. “If I don’t like it, I can always leave…” Sounds plausible, but you do you really want to set yourself up for job hopping? Think it through. You only live once.

Who’s Going to Want Me?

Layoffs are so common these days, they don’t have the stigma that you may imagine they do. Most people I know who have been laid off (“restructured,” “RIF-ed,” “reduced,” or whatever) are strong performers, typically with a long tenure, and always get another job.

The key is to remain confident and positive. Your skills and accomplishments are there. It’s OK to take time and lick your wounds, but don’t wait too long to start your interim job: job hunter.

Don’t throw yourself a pity party. Remind yourself of your accomplishments, struggles you overcame, compliments you received. Surround yourself with positive people. Ask people for informational interviews. Most people love giving advice. Ask for it, then take it.

The Big Picture

Once job seekers understand the different aspects of hiring, they can see that much of the process is outside of their control, and not a reflection of their individual skills.

This is where a professional resume writer and career coach can help you break through. If you choose several job listings you’re interested in, your coach can see a pattern of the work you like to do. Then they can review your job history and discuss the best examples that demonstrate “proven success” doing that type of work, perhaps even with a measurable result. They then craft a resume that uses the appropriate keywords to highlight your skills in a way that more closely matches the jobs you want, and repositions, removes, rewrites or reduces references to roles that don’t reinforce your ultimate goals.

Leverage Your Network

Your best bet at that point is to leverage your network to identify contacts in companies where you want to work. Having someone inside the company put in a good word for you is always an advantage. While many people get their next roles through a personal contact (“Hey, send me your resume. A role is opening up in our engineering team…”), I do see people uploading resumes to individual companies getting contacted, but only after their resumes are crafted by an expert writer. The longer it’s been since you’ve looked for a job, the more important it is to get help. So many aspects have changed, even over the past five years.

Call the Plumber–I mean Career Coach!

These days, hiring a career coach is the equivalent to hiring a plumber when your dishwasher breaks. You can only do so much on your own, no matter how many repair videos you watch. Oddly enough, people remain more confident of their potential to fix their own dishwashers than their ability to be successfully land their next job, even though evidence points to the opposite.

Keep Your Chin Up

There are many ways to be inspired these days, between friends, family, events, travel, networking, hobbies, TED videos, books, etc. Don’t give up and turn on the TV. Get out there and get inspired. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you’ll be successful or not, you’re right,” so stay positive. Your next role is out there. Set your expectations for six months of searching. Make a structured plan to network every day. Leverage LinkedIn, document your successes, get help from an expert as early in the process as possible. If you get hired sooner, celebrate. The higher your job level, the longer it takes, so adjust your mindset for the journey ahead.

If you need help finding your next job, fixing your current job, positioning your skills, rebranding yourself, rewriting your resume, etc., Cary Communications can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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