Some things about job hunting never change. It’s always a daunting process that involves separating yourself from the pack and demonstrating to prospective employers why you’re the best person for the job. But nowadays, jobseekers face unique challenges, and in a terrific U.S. News & World Report piece titled “What’s Different About Job Searching in 2015,” Ask a Manager blogger Alison Green shares words of wisdom for those of us looking for work this year. Read on for her expert advice.
1. It Won’t Be Quick — Once upon a time, you’d submit a resume, go in for an initial interview, and then maybe meet one more time with the higher-ups. Now, Green reports, companies are instituting multiple rounds of interviews with different parties and stretching the process for as long as four months. What’s more, firms often tell prospective employees things are moving fast, only to drag things out for many, many months. The moral: Hang in there, and don’t expect to find something overnight.
2. Qualifications Won’t Cut It — With competition so fierce, plenty of qualified workers apply for every posted position and many don’t score interviews. Instead of simply showing you’re qualified for the job, Green writes, “you need to show that you’d excel at it.” Do this by writing a compelling cover letter addressing specifics of the job, highlighting relevant accomplishments on your resume, and using networking to connect with decision makers.
3. A Lot of It’s Done Online — Increasingly, Green writes, companies are using lengthy online applications that require prospective employees to share highly personal information, including salary history. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of divulging this type of info, you might be at a disadvantage.
4. Changing Fields Is Really Hard — In a buyers’ marker, where there are numerous qualified workers for any given vacancy, companies don’t feel the need to take risks on people looking to change fields. As Green says, it’s not impossible to change direction, but it might require you to do things like volunteering to pick up new skills.
5. You Might Have to Show ‘Em What You Can Do — To vet employees, many companies are asking jobseekers to take writing tests, create work plans, fill out skill assessments, and more. Sometimes, Green says, the requests are reasonable, but it’s not OK for companies to make you spend entire workdays generating ideas and content they’ll then use.