bingo balls with the word job printed on them

As this blog has recently mentioned, companies plan to do a lot of hiring this year. Obviously, that’s welcome news to the myriad of workers looking for new jobs or considering a role or career change. With so many on the job market, however, competition for jobs will be high. That’s why any misstep could cost a job seeker an opportunity at landing their dream job.

A well-prepared, well-informed job seeker, however, can ensure their application is considered for each and every opportunity they apply for. In this blog post, we reveal what every job seeker should know before starting their search.

What Every Job Seeker Should Know Before Starting Their Job Search

Different Job Postings Require Different Resumes – So Tailor It

The average hiring manager spends 6 seconds reviewing a resume. That may not sound like much, because it isn’t, but hiring managers know exactly what they’re looking for. And most of the time, they’re looking for keywords – words from the job listing that relate to particular skills or other requirements for the job. Since not all job descriptions are created equal, even for those with identical job titles, a job seekers resume will need to be tailored for each position they apply for.

As a hypothetical, let’s take a look at the role of a software developer to explain why. Software developers design, develop, and test software and applications for computers. The job of a software developer, however, can vary depending on the needs of the company, organization, or team they are on. Some build and maintain systems that run devices and networks. Others develop applications that make it possible to perform specific tasks on computers, cellphones, and other devices. Some work on the front end, others work on the back end. So, while 2 job postings may read “Software Developer,” the job duties for each may be completely different.

That’s why a job seeker needs to spend the time tailoring their resume to each position they apply for. If they don’t, they run the risk of being deemed unqualified (this hypothetical also assumes the software developer can do both front end and back end work).

How to Navigate an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a software application the enables the electronic handling of recruitment needs. Designed as a way to automate the recruitment process, an ATS will automatically filter resumes based on criteria inputted by a hiring manager.

So, if it’s a recruitment tool used by employers, why is it important to understand an ATS as a job seeker? It’s because of how an ATS filters resumes.

As previously mentioned, hiring managers will skim resumes fairly quickly searching for keywords. An ATS does the same thing. They look for criteria such as skills, former employers, years of experience, and even schools attended. If an applicant’s resume lacks a priority skill, the resume will be discarded without a second thought. With more employers utilizing an ATS to filter resumes, it’s another reminder of why it’s so important for job seekers to tailor their resumes to the job description for which they are applying.

Who You Know Can Go a Long Way

When seeking a new job, who you know is nearly as important as what you know. With more and more positions being filled without being advertised, it puts a job seeker without a strong professional network at a disadvantage. While networking during a pandemic can be a real challenge, it’s not impossible – take it online. Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, exist just for that reason. By keeping an active and engaged profile on LinkedIn, job seekers can grow their network, gain support and guidance from others in their space, and learn of new career opportunities.

The Feel of a Company (Company Culture)

For many positions, especially permanent ones, employers are looking for more than just a technical fit. They also want to hire someone that meshes well with their company culture. Defined, company culture is a set of shared values, goals, attitudes, and practices that guide an organization. It’s the way people feel about the work they do, the values they believe in, where they see the company going, and what they’re doing to get it there. By researching a company’s social media pages, and “About Us” page, job seekers can get a pretty good understanding of a company’s culture. They can then make the determination if the company’s values align with their own, before committing the time and effort to apply to the job. What’s more, a job seeker demonstrating how they’re a good cultural fit can give them a leg up during the interview process.

The Taboos of Job Hunting

Just as important as knowing what to do during a job search, and perhaps even more important, is knowing what not to do. While everyone makes mistakes, there are certain transgressions that will usually amount to automatic disqualification. Let’s review a few:

  • Speaking Ill of a Current/Past Employer – It is perfectly OK to mention a conflict, or disagreement, with a current/past employer, but it must be done in a professional manner. Harping on how a boss is a “fool” or how coworkers are “idiots” is a no-no. Employers are seeking team players and those who will represent their company well. Job seekers who come across as confrontational, dismissive, and pessimistic, will remain job seekers.
  • Treating a Video Interview as Informal – Just because an interview is happening over Skype (or Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, etc.), doesn’t mean it’s not a real interview. Presently, most interviews are being conducted this way. So, job seekers should prepare the same way they would if they were going into an office. First impressions, even virtual ones, matter.
  • Ghosting the Interview – No-showing an interview without providing a valid excuse, or ghosting, is as unprofessional as it gets. It shows a complete lack of respect for the employer and the agency who helped secure the interview. If a job seeker were to ghost an interview, they can expect all future applications to job openings with that company to be immediately rejected.

Job seekers, take it from an IT staffing firm who’s been in business for nearly three decades, following this advice will get you noticed.

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