by Diane Strelekis - Whether you’re just starting out or deep in your career, navigating the job-search process these days is a daunting task. Layoffs are rising while candidate-screening software complicates getting your application in front of a hiring manager. Executive career coach Ed Samuel, founder of SamNova, Inc. shares five of his top ways to get the role that’s right for you, not just the role available right now.
Get more tips from career coach Ed Samuel at IABC Philadelphia’s free virtual event on April 11, 2023, 6:30-8:00 pm ET.
1. Always stay up on how the job market works—and prepare for automation
Keeping current with job-market trends, even when you’re not looking for a new role, helps you react quickly if, or more likely when, needed in today’s environment.
A whole new world (of automation)
Automation continues to transform how people find and apply for jobs. Many employers use automated applicant tracking systems that filter out only those resumes that match tightly to the job specs and far before it gets to human reviewers.
Companies also often post jobs online through LinkedIn, Simply Hired, Monster and their own website and more. Some deep-in-career employees that have been with one firm/organization their entire career still “don’t use, barely use or have only heard of LinkedIn,” Samuel said.
“Any recruiter worth their salt, especially if they’re looking for a salaried worker, is going to LinkedIn first,” Samuel says. He urges people to refresh their recommendations from colleagues or clients. “You do not want a recruiter or hiring manager asking your, “So, you’ve worked somewhere for years and only have one recommendation? That seems odd, why would you not have more?”
Beware the comfort zone
One thing Samuel observed from his conversations with laid-off experienced employees from companies such as Microsoft, Meta, and more: “They never saw it coming. You have senior leaders who thought they were going to retire [from their companies] who instead got let go,” Samuel said. “Their resumes haven’t been updated in up to 20 or more years.”
2. Create a “master” resume—and then customize, customize, customize
Having a core resume that emphasizes the results you’ve delivered for the hidden job market is a best practice, according to Samuel. “Make sure to quantify your accomplishments as that is where true value is measured.” Samuel continues by saying, “Activities and job descriptions have no innate value to the decisionmaker.” “Even recent college grads often have internships or work experience highlighted on their resume but they leave off quantified accomplishments and it’s a fundamental mistake,” Samuel says.
Another key step: Making sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are consistent. You want “continuity congruity” between the two, Samuel stresses.
Job-scanning tools can then help you map a job’s requirements to your resume, showing you if you’d make it through the applicant tracking system screening process.
3. Prepare for AI “interviews” and Zoom calls
Some companies are setting up initial interviews with computers rather than with an HR representative.
“You might have two minutes to give an answer,’ Samuel says. “Tell us who you are. Hit the button. Next question. Hit the button. People must practice how to respond.” Doing so can be unfamiliar and thus unnerving.
Samuel notes even high-paying roles in the $150,000-$200,000 range use these automated interviewers. “That’s completely unheard of five or ten years ago,” he says.
Virtual screening interviews that were spurred on by Covid have literally become the new norm. Samuel recommends being ready for Zoom or Teams interviews by recording yourself and answering practice questions. You can review your recording or send it to a trusted person for feedback on where you can improve.
4. Unlock the hidden job market
“The hidden job market is where you engage people about who you are and what you bring to the table,” Samuel says. “You’re bypassing the automated tracking system and artificial intelligence screens entirely.”
He notes, “If you spend all your time applying for jobs [on job sites], that’s a very poor strategy.” Samuel is a big proponent of a balanced job search where you are not putting all your eggs in one basket.
Networking is the key
Applying for a role is just a sliver of the process. Samuel asks: “Who do you know at that firm? What network have you built there?” The deeper the network the more likely you can build a relationship with a potential hiring manager or decisionmaker.
Some ways to connect with people who can help you grow are by joining professional associations (i.e., FENG), cross-industry networking organizations like Career Professional Executive Networking Group (CPENG) or Great Careers, volunteering for causes you care about, or even simply asking someone at a company you’re interested in who you just met to meet for coffee or lunch.
LinkedIn is a great place to build your formal network and uncover hidden opportunities. Whenever you meet someone, be sure to ask to connect with them on LinkedIn, Samuel recommends. If a connection knows someone you want to meet, ask for an introduction.
5. Determine what you want, not just what you’ve had or studied for
Especially when you’ve been laid off, your impulse is to jump right back and look for a similar job to the one you just had. “Take a moment,” says Samuel. “It might be time to make a career pivot.”
He stresses that any time you’re in the job market—or thinking about getting in—is the time to think about what work will make you happy and something that will truly bring out the best in you. “You don’t want to be kicking yourself a year later saying, ‘I should have or could have.’”
Don’t miss out on ways to land the job you want. Career coach Ed Samuel shares more ideas at IABC Philadelphia’s free virtual event on April 11, 2023, 6:30-8:00 pm ET.