The job market has turned for the better. Employees are feeling more confident about the economy and are changing jobs for greener pastures. This leaves 5.5 million opportunities open for job seekers in the U.S. There is still competition, however, and a person searching for a job needs to be ahead of the game. Here is a guide to finding a job in 2017.
Next evaluate your skills. Are your skills up-to-date? Employers are looking for certain expertise and will quickly reject those that do not have what they need. Browse job postings and read what the qualifications state. Even if your job is not in information technology, you will probably need some tech knowledge. If you cannot glean which skills or certifications you need from job postings, ask those who are already in the industry.
Take any classes or courses that you need to get up to speed in continuing education at community colleges, vocational schools, or business universities. There are even free online college courses such as on the websites Alison and Saylor Academy.
Now that you have your education complete, start building your unique identity. Firstly identify what makes you a great employee. Are you able to lead well, problem solve, communicate with ease, or multi-task? You can differentiate yourself by becoming involved in industry forums, associations, blogs, magazines and social media.
Speaking of social media, 60% of employers look for job candidates on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. It is especially important to have a professional looking profile on LinkedIn when applying to higher level positions. You should include your work history in your biography along with your skills. You can also add links to any portfolio or examples of your work. A personal website might be another way to flaunt your abilities. Add testimonials, pictures, articles in which you are mentioned, and samples of your work. Additionally, consider using networking apps such as Shapr, Switch and Jobr.
Besides participating on social media, your job search can really be expedited through your personal contacts. Referred applicants are 15 times more likely to land a job than those who apply without any introduction. Even if you do not have anyone to refer you, you can make yourself familiar to recruiters or human resource professionals. Go to community events and have your elevator speech ready. Meet people on social media. Participate in conversations with interesting facts about your industry.
If you are lucky enough to land an interview, bring your resume. Have you seen resumes lately? They have changed. A 2017 resume does not have an “Objective Statement”. Instead it has a “Professional Summary”. Skills have become an important part of the document and are highlighted near the top or down the side of the resume. Another important category is called “Highlights”. Here you can include notable accomplishments from your career history. Fortunately, there is a lot of help online about how to format your resume. There are also free templates and paid software that you can use if you are not good at formatting in Word.
The bottom line to standing out above the sea of applicants is to have the hard skills, experience, and soft skills that the employers want. It also helps if you are looking within the pay range that the companies are offering. You can check salaries on websites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor and Payscale. Finally, your killer resume will help you avoid the trash pile of discarded applicants.