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Today's Job Market: What's New, What's Changed

If it’s been several years since you last looked for a job, you may not realize that finding a job today is different than it was 10, 15 or 20 years ago. Steps you took to look for jobs then might not be as effective now. And because of the Internet revolution, technology now plays a critical role.

The bottom line: even though job hunting today requires a different approach, in some ways a lot of the same job hunting techniques still apply. Here’s how you can stay nimble and keep on top of it all.

The Internet: Not Just For Fun
Remember the days when mailing or faxing your resume was your only option? While some companies still request that you send your resume and cover letter by “snail mail,” the Internet has revolutionized how companies and recruiters search for and find their job candidates. Many HR managers and recruiters cite the Internet as having the biggest impact in the past few years on how they fill their job openings. And judging by the increasing number of companies and recruiters who use the Internet to find candidates, this is one development that’s not going away.   

Aside from the proliferation of career boards, more and more companies require job candidates to submit their resume through the company’s own website. It’s less expensive for companies to advertise through their own website than it is to advertise through other sources. Sophisticated software systems that hunt for keywords in resumes free up employee time by not requiring an actual person to wade through all the resumes received. Most large companies now go through resources like their own database or a recruiter to find candidates for a job.

So how can you capitalize on this? For one, make sure that your resume contains many of the same keywords that are in a job posting so a company’s online application system will find them. Just because you hit “Send” doesn’t mean your resume will ever get in front of the hiring manager. Including keywords on your resume will make it more likely that the person on the other end (who enters keywords to call up relevant resumes) will actually see your resume. See “Important Steps to Keep Your Resume from Getting Lost in a Database” for more valuable tips on how to incorporate keywords in your resume.

Increasing Competition
In many ways, the Internet opens the door to more job opportunities. The Web makes it more convenient than ever to look for jobs, you can now go to a company’s website directly to apply for jobs. You can review 20, 30, 40 jobs in just one night. It has changed the whole job searching landscape.

However, there is a price to pay for convenience. Jobs posted online are accessible to people around the country, even the world, which means your competition increases exponentially. As long as you have a computer, you have access to job openings posted online. And there is no limit to how many resumes a company can receive through its website database.

This increased competition makes what you put on your resume more vital than ever. Simply put, a good resume should make management want to interview you. A resume shouldn’t just provide information—it should provide information relevant to the job you’re seeking. You may have been working for 20 years, but your resume should not relate every single thing you’ve ever done. In fact, most HR specialists advise job candidates to limit their resume to no more than two pages by focusing on the relevant experiences of their job history.

An often overlooked but extremely effective way of catching someone’s eyes is to tailor your resume to the job you’re looking for. This means stepping back and letting go of your ego by casting a critical eye on your resume and asking yourself, “What here is absolutely necessary and relevant to the job I’m applying for?” “What can be cut?” “What will make the person reading my resume interested and motivated in speaking with me—in picking up the phone?” (See also “When One Size Does Not Fit All: Why You Should Tailor Your Resume.”)  Simply put, your skills should match a company’s needs. Anything on your resume that doesn’t reflect this can be a waste of words, time, and effort.


The Resume: Your Calling Card
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the tactics of today’s job market, take comfort in the fact that some things haven’t changed. Resumes are still critical and will often be what initially gets your foot in the door. Making sure your resume is well written, clear and concise is just as important now as it was before, perhaps even more so because technology can now weed out candidates by keywords. You should be updating your resume yearly to include new skills and experience.  You can then tailor your resume to include important keywords from each job description as you apply for position.  Since your resume is often a company’s first exposure to you, it still plays a huge role in a job search today.

People, People, People
Networking never goes out of , and some of the “old-fashioned” networking methods continue to work even in this digital age: attending networking functions, having business cards with you at all times, considering who in your circle of family, friends and colleagues can help with your job search. People sometimes lose that motivation to network they had when they first started working. It’s important to keep it up because you never know when you will need to tap into the network you’ve created.

Remember that your networking relationships, like all relationships, should evolve.

Networking doesn’t end just because you’ve found a new job or you move to another location. And like all relationships, networking should be a two-way street: less of a “what can you do for me” approach and more of a “how can we mutually assist each other” mentality. When you help others, they will be more motivated to reciprocate in kind. (For more tips on successful networking, see “But I Hate Networking”: The Practical Guide to Networking Effectively)."

Appearance Still Matters
There has been a lot in the news over the last number of years about casual dress in the work place.  While many companies have returned to a more traditional dress code and others have stayed casual, corporate attire still remains the appropriate dress for an interview.   Show up for an interview dressed inappropriately, and the interviewer might never be able to get beyond that, regardless of how qualified you are.

When in doubt, avoid flashiness and go the conservative route (traditional business suit in black, dark blue or dark gray for men and suit and blouse or tailored conservative dress for women.) Remember that your appearance is everything from your head to your toes, in addition to wearing appropriate clothing, get a haircut and make sure your shoes are shined.  First impressions are very important during a job interview, so take the time to be sure you present yourself well.

How FPC Can Help
In this ever-changing, fast-evolving world that we live in today, searching for a job can be overwhelming. A successful job search utilizes all the resources available; networking, internet job searches and recruiters.  And for those who find Internet job searches daunting, FPC recruiters can also be your intermediary, the personal touch that’s missing from the Internet. When you work with an FPC recruiter, you are assured that your resume won’t get lost in the crowd or blasted into cyberspace, only to remain in a dark hole indefinitely. You develop a personal relationship with your FPC recruiter, who will offer you candid assessments and the inside word on what a particular company is looking for, something that you can’t get online.

FPC recruiters only share your information with its corporate clients with your permission, so your information is kept in the strictest confidentiality.  Working with an FPC recruiter is a smart way to approach a job search in today’s job market.
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