With the new year already nine weeks young, hiring trends have hit the ground running.
As counselors to young careerists, we have learned to understand the nuances of today’s career marketplace, studying trends to help coach clients to successfully navigate job seeking. In a world where so much is automated, this should be getting easier for people to find a perfect “match” early. Right?
While technology has made the searching for job postings easier, those jobs found might not be where you want to invest your important early professional years.
Old Problems Need New Approaches
In 2019, we’ll see trends in how companies tackle talent acquisition and how college students are managing their job searches. The obstacles we’ll see are not necessarily “new” but so persistent that we believe they are worthy of attention. Early careerists who want to differentiate themselves would do well to evaluate their own approaches to these issues.
Simply stated, here are trends that we and many others are calling out. Early careerists, college students and grads need active strategies to address these developments and ensure that their behaviors do not hold them back.
Recruiting Automation: Big Deal?
There is a steadily increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated recruiting, a trend that started decades ago. The good news is that much of this continues to be applied to more senior levels of hiring. Largely, more junior positions have automated applications.
This process does not always work smoothly, so master these steps to make the best use of your time and to optimize getting your application through the system. Technology does not make it simpler — only faster for the company and more chaotic for the job seeker.
1. Tame technology obstacles.
• Job boards can be good search tools, but also distracting. A role posted might offer three different “methods” for you to apply. Go directly to the company site and apply there.
• Protect your data — you will be setting up credentials with companies. Use OnePassword, LastPass or another tool to keep track.
• Your first online application will make it clear if your resume is cleanly parsed into the database without additional manual edits. Each company uses different software; if you find you are making a lot of edits, restructure your resume to simplify the layout.
2. Create one digital you.
• Be ready for anything. Some companies do not accept .edu (school) emails, while some sites only accept .edu emails. Get another email credential that will stand the test of time (e.g. Gmail). It pays to have both types of email accounts active.
• Don’t have out-of-sync credentials. Ensure that your resume and other online profiles, like LinkedIn, Facebook and your school career profile, tell the same tale. Periodically refresh them at the end of each semester.
• Use social media. Some students are not active on platforms like Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn for a variety of reasons, but it’s how communities engage. So, get engaged, but don’t overdo it. Never post anything that puts you in a bad light, as recruiters use social media increasingly to learn about applicants.
3. Make time for your search.
• Technology does not eliminate the need for persistence. Create a routine for distraction-free, daily, disciplined job search activities.
• Don’t take your foot off the gas after you apply. Continue to study the company. Watch how it’s doing when it’s in the news. Even if you don’t get a job there, you will have learned about your industry of focus.
Way back in 2012, Professor Peter Cappelli of Wharton, called out a situation where 29,000 people applied for a single job and none were “qualified.” His point was that companies only want to hire “talent,” meaning fully-formed, trained, experienced people who can hit the ground running. Where does that leave recent or rising graduates? Companies seek people who have held tangible positions and favor applicants who have held multiple roles.
• Highlight your current skills everywhere you can by using specific, searchable terms.
• Ask people for endorsements and recommendations, which will help support your skills and demonstrate that others have collaborated with you along the way.
• Build new skills; identify skill gaps and close them. Consider gig jobs during any semester, work with local businesses, and apply your talents to volunteer work that challenges you.
• If you already graduated, stay open to doing something initially that isn’t a full-time role yet provides you with skill development opportunities.
Conquering Networking Resistance
In 2019, it’s what you know and who you know. But college students have LinkedIn profiles that tend to get stuck at minimal connections for months and years.
Don’t call it networking, call it asking for help.
• First, reach out and connect with the people who already have jobs in your class (or recent graduating classes). They cracked the code and can help you too. Ask them for suggestions or leads for jobs that they will continue to see. You are looking for a leg up to get over a mutual hurdle that every college student faces.
• If networking makes you uneasy for any reason, this might sound harsh but, “get over it and get on with it.” Evaluate why it makes you uneasy, but get going anyway. Your network might help you land a job, solve a problem you face early in your career, or simply entertain you in the future as you reconnect with friends.
• Recruiters like using LinkedIn because it’s a great source and easy to navigate. You need to be where the recruiters are and show that you are connected to others; social engagement is a standard expectation in the business world.
If you work on these strategies and tactics, you will have a more productive job search while building skills you will use throughout your life, identifying and growing skills that employers seek, managing your personal brand, protecting your information and building a network of support.