America is nearly at an all-time high for job openings, but if you’re looking for a job you may be wondering why you can’t seem to get one.
The most recent Labor Department data shows the nation is just short of the record 5.78 million openings set last July. This means that plenty of businesses across the nation are hiring, but it’s also an indicator that hiring managers may be having trouble finding the right people for the job or skilled workers.
If you read job listings these days, it seems employers want new hires to be able to leap the highest building, travel faster than light and be able to move entire planets. They want someone who has at least eight years of software experience, not seven or the ability to influence your supervisors not just your peers.
However, you can overcome the shortcomings, obstacles and challenges that are keeping you from landing one of those millions of jobs by refining your process and improving your presentation that will help you land one of those millions of jobs.
Create a total package. Even if you’re average, you can still stand out because you have a distinctive set of experiences, values, skills and beliefs. To land the job you want, you have to be able to present who you and convey your information confidently. Decide on your brand and highlight it with a solid LinkedIn profile, and on other social media sites. Use the perfect words in the profile sections to write a narrative about who you are. Have your traveled the world backpacking, swam with dolphins or caught a half-ton Pacific Blue Marlin? Describe yourself. Create a personal website, and don’t be afraid to use infographics to spotlight your message. Write a narrative that gets to the core of who you are. You may even consider using a color wheel to choose the best colors to present yourself online and in person. Use a consistent headshot and bio on all your social media platforms.
Tell people you’re searching. Keeping quiet about your job hunt isn’t a good idea. Neither is exclusively searching online. It’s a well-known fact that many jobs are never posted and are filled through referrals. In a survey the staffing company Manpower conducted, 41 percent of people indicated networking helped them land a job. So reach out to your former colleagues and people you know to help you move forward. People can better help you if they know what you need. Don’t be afraid to ask your neighbors or associates at the gym if they can connect you with a hiring manager they know or if they can offer suggestions on the positions you’re exploring.
Put in some serious effort. Be mindful that you’ve got a lot of competition vying for the same position, so your search is going to require some extra effort. This means tailoring your resume for the specific job, becoming acquainted with someone already working for the company, and penning a cover letter highlighting the key reasons you’re the best candidate and why you want to work for the company. After you land an interview, be sure to ask for the job and remember to write a thank you letter without delay.
Avoid applying online. If you apply for the position using the company’s web portal, you probably won’t ever hear a thing. Most times, completing an online application is a bad move. Research who the hiring manager or the person you’ll actually be working for, and apply directly to him or her. LinkedIn may be the best way to identify the hiring manger. After you’ve identified the right person, write a “pain letter,” telling more about how you can meet the department’s needs rather than about yourself. Finally, look up the mailing address on the company’s website and drop it in the mail. You’re more likely to get attention that way.
Improve your social media presence. Facebook, Instagram or Twitter can wreck your job search if you’re posting pictures of yourself slurping up a belly shot in a bar, rolling a joint, or bad mouthing others or posting memes about hating Donald Trump. On the other hand, your social media presence also can boost your chances of getting hired because employers are increasingly viewing social media accounts as part of the hiring decision. In fact, a recent Career Builder survey indicates 43 percent of employers take a look at social media accounts. That’s why not having any social media accounts can work against you. Be sure your accounts are public; you’re regularly engaging with others, frequently posting and sharing and building a brand. You don’t have to be an influencer with thousands of followers, but it’s wise to show you know what you’re doing on social media, especially if it in any way relates to the position for which you’re applying.
-Kimberly Hayes Taylor