Job hunting 101 for engineers
If your plan is to find a new job for the new year, you’re not alone. Some 86% of workers intend to actively search for new employment opportunities in 2015.
While that number may seem high, it shouldn’t dissuade you from throwing that proverbial hat into the proverbial ring. Not only has unemployment fallen from 5.8% to 5.6%, but an estimated 36% of employers have plans to add to their full-time staff this year.
However, these improvements in the job market don’t necessarily mean it won’t take work to find…well, work. You still need a strategy to spot a perfect fit, and your strategy must reflect the changes and trends occurring in how job seekers secure new employment.
Recruitment Goes Social
No one needs to tell you that it’s become increasingly important to have a social presence these days. If you’re not on social networking sites, you’re not as connected to other professionals in your industry. And because the old “it’s-who-you-know” adage is still true, you could be missing out on an opportunity. Making matters worse, 93% of recruiters use social channels to support their recruitment efforts, so a social absence is almost as if you don’t exist.
Recruitment Goes Mobile
It should also come as no surprise that mobile has invaded the recruitment space, but not necessarily in the way you think. It isn’t just job seekers using smartphones to aid in their job search. Recruiters and employers are also relying on mobile to find candidates, which has changed everything from cover letters to résumés. Almost everything you submit must be mobile-ready. Cover letters should be limited to the length of an average blog post, so right around 250 words, while résumés should convey your experience and skills in short paragraphs and bullet points. It should also come as no surprise that mobile has invaded the recruitment space, but not necessarily in the way you think. It isn’t just job seekers using smartphones to aid in their job search. Recruiters and employers are also relying on mobile to find candidates, which has changed everything from cover letters to résumés. Almost everything you submit must be mobile-ready. Cover letters should be limited to the length of an average blog post, so right around 250 words, while résumés should convey your experience and skills in short paragraphs and bullet points.
Recruitment Goes Passive
Not looking for a job? That no longer matters to 72% of U.S. companies. They now recruit passive talent. This means you must always be ready for a job offer. As soon as a recruiter or potential employer makes contact, you should have a résumé ready and waiting to hand off to them (if, of course, you’re interested in the job).
Whether or not you’re planning on a job move this year, it often pays to be prepared when an opportunity presents itself. To take full advantage and improve your chances, we recommend you:
1. Give cover letters some real attention. Most cover letters come off as bland and impersonal. They either recap the contents of an applicant’s résumé or read like a form letter suitable for almost any old job. To get the most out of a cover letter, include information not found on your résumé, such as personal traits, work habits, interest level, and specific qualifications relating to the position. In short, customize it for the job.
2. Tailor résumés to fit. As with cover letters, it’s also wise to tailor your résumé to fit the job opening. For most employers, the focus is on an applicant’s employment history. Using their job description, tweak past duties and achievements to better match the position —without misrepresenting yourself, of course — and pull the most pertinent information to the top of each job entry. If you have a skills section or qualifications summary, do the same here.
3. Optimize your search with Google Alerts. If you’re interested in working with certain employers, use Google’s alert function to inform you of new job postings and business opportunities. It’ll also notify you of any new developments or future plans at those companies, lightening the load on your research. At an interview, you’ll then be able speak from a far more knowledgeable place about any upcoming strategies or issues facing that employer.
4. Keep your search close at hand. Like life itself, timing is everything with a job search. If you don’t jump on a post soon enough, you could very well miss out on that opportunity. Download at least one job-search app to your phone. And while you’re at it, get the LinkedIn app, too! If you find yourself on the bus, waiting for an appointment or standing in the checkout line, you can use your time productively by searching the boards.
5. Update your LinkedIn page. A recent survey found that 73% of recruiters have filled positions through social media. Of these recruiters, 79% hired from LinkedIn. Update your profile to include keywords related to in-demand skills, qualifications, and accomplishments. If you’re unsure of what employers are looking for, refer back to job descriptions (much like when tweaking your résumé). Also, review other LinkedIn profiles of professionals in your industry.
6. Publish industry-relevant content. Content marketing is one of the strategies many businesses now use to convert consumers into customers. Essentially, they publish useful content to enhance the consumer’s experience with the brand, thereby building trust and loyalty. As a job seeker, do the same. Marketing yourself is a large part of the job search anyway. Publish original content on LinkedIn to share your insights on your industry. It can help drive more traffic to your profile.
7. Utilize video recruitment. Employers already post online video ads to recruit top talent. There’s no reason why an applicant shouldn’t do the same. In fact, recruiters are now using video as part of the recruitment process. Film a short video — and we’re talking no more than two minutes — to highlight your skills, experience, and achievements, and then put it on your LinkedIn page to help you stand out.
8. Show interest in every opportunity. If you’re not working with a recruiter, and one calls you about a job opportunity, take the time to hear him out whether you’re interested in the position or not. Recruiters are often the first people to know about job openings, and the conversation could lead to a position that’s a much better fit to your goals and interests.
Job seekers use everything in their arsenals to find jobs, and if you’re currently looking, you need to do the same. You have just one chance to make a good impression on a potential employer. Don’t let a lack of preparation get in the way of a job.