Keep Current by Staying Abreast of Job-Search Trends

By Rita Williamstrends

Job seekers need to keep their resumes current, of course, and they also need to make sure their CAR (challenge-action-result) stories are up-to-date. However, savvy people in transition also need to pull back and look at the larger picture: overall trends in hiring.

Increasing importance of social media

The most striking trend in job searching is the increased importance of social media, both as platform(s) to present yourself and as a tool to search for opportunities. First, says Forbes columnist Dan Schawbel, employers are looking for new ways of filtering candidates. Increasingly, they are foregoing the standard method of submission to a Web site — which he terms “resume oblivion” — in favor of recruiting through social networks. Schawbel believes that the percentage of companies using social media to recruit and scan candidates could rise from 94 percent in 2013 to nearly 100 percent in 2014. And social media doesn’t mean only the Big Two: LinkedIn and Facebook. According to US News and World Report’s Arnie Fertig, “Twitter is valuable for following companies and searching for job postings. Unlike LinkedIn and Facebook, recruiters on a low budget can post opportunities for free.” Finally, Fertig believes that mobile apps are becoming increasingly important in job-searching.

Decreasing importance of resumes

Another notable trend? Hiring personnel give resumes less and less of a look — from 20 to 30 seconds recently to an average of six seconds now — according to US News and World Report. However, according to the job advice blog Monster Working, “Employers now routinely run a Web search on candidates, looking at their social media accounts and professional affiliations online”. The solution? Use the capabilities of social media to augment the information given on your resume. US News and World Report suggests that job-seekers use LinkedIn as “…a complement to the resume, not a mirror.” LinkedIn can present material in a more personal way than a resume. In addition, Fertig notes, “LinkedIn has become more robust, with the capability to link files, videos, portfolios, and other beneficial information, [so] it often provides a portrait that is richer and deeper than a resume.”

Flexible work situations

If job-searching is becoming more linked to social media, the actual on-the-job experience is becoming more linked to flexibility — freelancing and working virtually. Forbes’ Schawbel notes that “one third of Americans are freelancers (17 million people)…and there will be more of them than full-time employees in six years.” The freelance trend appeals to employers by bringing them people specifically focused on a particular project. The virtual trend is popular with employers because it provides maximum flexibility in searching for the right person for the job. As Monster Working observes, “Many employers have discovered the way to attract the best talent is open up the employment pool to candidates all over the nation (and the world) without requiring anyone to relocate.” In addition, of course, flexibility is appealing to employers because it saves spending on bricks and mortar.

Continuous job search

A third trend is the increasing omnipresence of the job search itself. Forbes terms this “the continuous job search,” noting that 73 percent of workers search for new opportunities while employed. Monster Working believes that “boomerang hiring” could increase in 2014 because of the rise in employment. “Companies that may have had to lay workers off in recent years are now looking to increase their numbers,” the blog notes, “and many are more than willing to rehire old employees.” Forbes quotes the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to observe that “people have about eleven jobs between the ages of 18 and 34.” Schawbel expects this trend to increase in the future.

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