By Randy Wooden, Director, Professional Center by Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina
Technology has changed our lives in many ways, including how we conduct a job search. I have witnessed a number of recruiting and job coaching changes in my 30+ year career. Most – but not all – involve the use of technology. This week I will examine a few non-technology changes.
#1. Whether due to downsizing or a worker’s desire for a new challenge, today’s workplace sees more turnover than ever before. All this change means it is important to keep your resume up to date and be a lifelong learner to remain competitive with constantly improving and expanding skills. Take a class. Earn a certification. Do what you can to best position yourself with market-relevant skills expected by today’s employers.
#2. While networking has always been part of the search process, I would argue it is more important than ever. The days of walking into a company, shaking hands with the hiring manager and having an unscheduled conversation are largely over. Technology makes it easier to locate and apply for work and human resource departments are overwhelmed with applicants. Some companies have responded by building digital barriers to protect their time. You may be qualified for the position, but, if you are one of 300 applicants, personal referrals can improve your chances that the employer will choose to speak with you rather than other candidates.
#3. Employer expectations and what you can do to meet them have shifted. I am seeing companies place more emphasis on soft skills and cultural fit than ever before. For many jobs, you will be required to take an assessment or two. You may have the skills and experience to perform the work, but if your personality does not mesh with that employer’s desired target, you may not get the job.
Employers expect candidates to be prepared; technology allows easy access to information about the company. Online resources help answer interview questions. Doing your homework – being prepared – is more significant than ever.
Technology is a tool. Use it and know you need more than a search and a few clicks to get the job. Good luck!