…The job market isn’t what it used to be! How to make it through the applicant tracking system, and onto the “call for interview” list…
Most people troll websites (like Indeed and Workopolis), looking for job postings that match their skills and knowledge. Two things about this method: 1st: jobs postings don’t significantly change day over day, so to use your time optimally. Block off 3-4 hours 1 day per week, and surf to your heart’s content. Then, put it aside to next week. 2nd: You need to “do the math” (ie., “crunch”) the job description to see if you’re short-listable. Print up the job description, get a marker, and go to the requirements section. For each requirement, assign a rough percentage of how much you feel you match that particular skill or knowledge area. Do you have it 100%? 75%? 50%? 25%? Write the percentage down. Go through each hard and soft skill, straight through to the bottom of the requirements section, assigning a rough percentage of match to each. At the bottom, average it out. If you’re 85% overall, apply. Under 85%? Don’t bother…you’ll be outcompeted. With 85%+ match, you will fall into the “maybe” or “yes” piles, depending on your competition. Under 85%, you fall into the “no” category! You can purchase a template for this in mI’s Career Toolkit …or, call our offices and we’ll send you a copy!
Interview Trends: These days, companies are likely to organize a “screening call” prior to inviting you in. On this call, recruiters are looking to see you if hit the top requirements of the job. While they are uncovering that info, they are also assessing for “cultural fit”. They are gaging, by virtue of how you present to them, if they think you would be a good fit for that company. So prior to the call, look up the company culture, and be able to reference it. Be sure you’ve “crunched” the job description so you know where your strengths are (100%, versus lower-graded requirements, where you are under 85%). In a screening call, they will also want to know what “salary range” you are seeking, and what your current availability is.
If you do get invited to interview, don’t be surprised if you’re interviewed in a group. It’s a new trend. No pressure, right? Companies have recently begun doing collective “first round interviews” –- it’s highly competitive, but saves them a lot of time/costs, and also shows them how you operate under pressure. If you’re lucky enough to get a one-on-one interview, consider calling our offices and scheduling an “interview prep” call. Believe me, this small investment will really pay off, because we can teach you in pretty short order, how to outcompete your peers!
Growth areas: In terms of professions, tech careers ie., IT/coding/AI/software and hardware skills, are king! Followed closely by green/energy jobs, engineering, maths, sciences, health, security management, project and/or event management. Professionals in high demand include lawyers, researchers, social workers, media and social media skills, and public relations. Also in high demand are the finance, business, marketing and human resources areas. So if you’re looking to broaden your skills (please be this person!), keep the above shopping list and start building your “street creds” by taking small webinars, seminars, attending conferences, and build and list all these small “c” credentials on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Finally, soft-skills are in very high demand: leadership, people skills, social skills, communication skills, collaboration skills, agility, humility, attention/focus, reliability…
Pro Tip 1: I cannot stress enough how taking active steps to manage your career will benefit you over the long-term. You want to maintain a constant focus on your career. Most people only really take care of their careers when their back is against a wall. Don’t be that person.
Pro Tip 2: I invite you to scroll down through the blogs I’ve posted, especially the ones dealing with a) goal setting; b) personal branding c) accessing the hidden job market; d) networking; e) job search best practices. The more you review these posts, the more the information contained in them will go from short-term (read: disposable) memory, to long term (read: accessible) memory. The benefits are clear.
Keep doing your career homework! Those who don’t do their career homework waste a lot of valuable time throwing stuff at the wall and hoping something sticks. …Or, you can be prepared, informed, rehearsed, and ultimately much more targeted and much more successful. Your call!
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