The job market today is vastly different from what it was 20 years ago, and graduating students today are having much different job-searching experiences than that of their parents or even older siblings. With new opportunities and resources come new challenges, and there are a number of ways students and recent grads can be prepared for job searching in the current market.
Build on Technical Skills
While many organizations value and look for soft-skills that would make candidates a good fit for their team, they are increasingly evaluating technical skills and experiences that could help applicants stand out from their peers. Regardless of one’s degree, job-seekers can look for opportunities to pursue certifications, classes or proficiencies with tools or technology to offer value in a concrete way. For example, a quick Google search will provide a wide variety of self-administered Excel training courses – both paid and free – that can help hone skills and allow you to add “proficient in Excel” to your resume with confidence.
Expand Your Search
With the prevalence of online job boards, job-seekers have an efficient way to access many jobs in a central spot. However, with vast numbers of applicants it can sometimes be challenging to set yourself apart and get the opportunity for an in-person conversation. Additionally, not all companies will use these tools. Job-seekers should always leverage the power of their own networks, both traditionally and through the use of social media to “get to know” the companies that they might be interested in working for. Many forward-thinking companies will use blogs, YouTube, Facebook and other platforms to share opportunities with their followers and vet potential candidates.
Understand the Market
Today, there are dozens of industries that weren’t even a concept 20 years ago. Some industries are growing, some are mature but seeking fresh talent, and some are evolving or expanding with new types of jobs. It’s important for job-seekers to stay open and educated about what needs exist within various industries and to pursue companies or job types that meet those particular needs. While a company or industry may not look interesting from the outset, candidates might be surprised to find enjoyment or fulfillment in the role, especially in an industry that’s heating up.
Though a lot has changed, some things have remained the same. Humility, strong work ethic, and a hunger for learning and development continue to be traits that hiring managers seek. Though new tools and technologies will continue to prove helpful in connecting candidates with potential employers, there will never be a quick fix. Due-diligence, strong networking skills and a service-minded mentality are always a valuable approach when looking for new positions.Tags: Job Market, Job Search Strategy, Networking