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8th June 2017

New rules for the 21st-century jobseeker

by Shannon Houde

The last 15 years have seen major changes in the world of recruitment. When I started out as a hiring manager, we advertised in the newspaper and on the major jobs websites, and CVs arrived by post (usually) or email (occasionally). CVs included a standard summary of a person’s career history, and we’d pile them on the desk and pick through them with a highlighter to extract the information we needed before calling to arrange interviews.

Image © Lisa Bretherick

Today’s hiring landscape couldn’t be more different. There has been a seismic shift in the way recruiters do their jobs: Vacancies are circulated through social media and informal networks, algorithms scan digital applications, resumes get a maximum 30-second pass by a pair of human eyes, and recommendations from a mutual connection are worth their weight in gold.

This new way of hiring demands a new strategy for 21st-century jobseekers. Get with the times, or get left behind!

Here are my three new rules for upping your game to land your modern-day dream job.

1. It’s about them, not you

The first rule is simple: It’s a buyer’s market, and the competition is fierce.

There has been a seismic shift in the way recruiters do their jobs.

The days of writing a generic CV that describes your career history and sending it out to all and sundry are long gone. Today’s CV serves a very different function: It’s a marketing tool that should speak to the hiring manager, not a self-summary, so it’s crucial to tailor your application to a target/niche audience that you decide on before attacking the market.

Set yourself apart from the crowd by making it easy for the recruiter by showing them what they want to see. Unpick the job description, map your skills to the position on offer, and use their key words and phrases.

The way I recommend my clients approach this challenge is is through an exercise I call Mapping Your Skills to the Market. Check out my blog for a step-by-step guide to this technique.

2. Expect to be Googled

When I mention ‘personal branding’ to clients, they often shudder. But like it or not, personal brands are a critical aspect of your jobseeker’s strategy, because, guess what? You already have one.

Whatever comes up on the first page of a Google search result for your name, location and a couple of keywords is your personal brand. Either you take control of it, or the Internet oracle will do it for you.

Google yourself, and see what comes up. No LinkedIn or Twitter account on the first page? Re-write your profile and bio, including as many keywords as you can. And upload a photo that shows you looking professional, approachable and, preferably, smiling! Have a blog? Make sure the headlines and tags are SEO-friendly.

For more tips, see here: Use Your Personal Brand to Land Your Dream Career.

3. Put relationships before resumes

Recommendations and referrals from mutual connections have never been more valuable to recruiters, and that means you need them!

They influence more than 50 percent of jobs being filled, so it’s absolutely crucial to get out there and build your network of contacts if you want to get ahead – especially in the relatively small world of sustainability and impact professionals.

Make meeting new people in your industry part of your jobseeker strategy. It doesn’t have to be awkward or sales-y. Think of it more as a professional friendship that can be mutually beneficial and be sure to “give as much as you get.” The people you meet at events and conferences, former colleagues, and project partners can potentially have a much greater bearing on your professional development than trawling through jobs boards and cold-calling hiring managers with a generic resume. See my blog on building strong networks for advice on how to do it.

This article originally appeared on Triple Pundit.

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