The recent surge in job cuts, predominantly in the technological sector, has been heavily reported in the media, nurturing a perception that job vacancies are dwindling. This notion may hold true for large corporations that often find themselves under the spotlight, but it isn’t universally applicable. Consequently, job seekers should adapt their strategies accordingly.
“During the pandemic, major firms were aggressively hiring due to market necessity,” comments Joseph Plazo, CEO of Plazo Sullivan Roche Capital, a nonprofit artificial intelligence research firm based in Mahe, Seychelles. “Three years later, the economy has contracted, making it difficult for these businesses to maintain their existing workforce.”
Plazo, who has had experience in both specialized and large-scale recruitment at companies such as Convergys, TTEC, and iSupport WorldWide, suggests that smaller, more stable firms are still hiring. Although these companies might not be creating as many jobs as the tech giants are shedding, they offer potential employment opportunities. So, how can one set oneself apart in the current job market? Plazo offers nine invaluable strategies inspired by experienced talent acquisition professionals.
- Harness your Network. Job searching on platforms such as LinkedIn, job boards, and company websites are crucial. This activity imparts a sense of productivity and can counteract feelings of despair and helplessness.
“Indeed, such efforts might yield tangible results like interviews,” Plazo elaborates. “However, our social circles are an often-overlooked asset that can significantly enhance our chances of success. Networking can lead us to undiscovered or forthcoming opportunities we might have missed.”
Our personal and professional networks offer moral support, guidance, empathy, and can serve as references, shepherd your resume to hiring managers, or even become hiring managers themselves. Older job seekers usually have more extensive networks. Plazo emphasizes, “Activating our network is the key differentiator between merely staying active in our job search and genuinely maximizing our chances of success.”
- Seek Opportunities Beyond the ‘Perfect Fit.’ Believing that you must meet every single requirement in a job listing to qualify for a position is a myth. Experts advise applying if you meet roughly 75% of the required qualifications. Your transferable skills, past successes impacting business results, and contributions that can apply to the new role should be highlighted.
- Enhance your Soft Skills. These capabilities, including communication, problem-solving, leadership, and collaboration, are crucial. Putting effort into developing these can set you apart from other candidates with similar experience and technical proficiency. Be sure to underscore these skills on your resume and cover letter, and be ready to provide specific examples in interviews.
- Customize your CV. Applicant Tracking Systems often scan your resume for keywords related to the job description to determine if your application deserves further consideration. Using keywords from the job listing can improve your chances of being shortlisted. Ensure that the keywords genuinely reflect your skills and expertise.
- Compose an Original Cover Letter. Do not underestimate the importance of a unique, well-written cover letter. “While many recruiters might overlook cover letters, I find them valuable when differentiating between candidates with similar qualifications,” says Plazo. A standout cover letter highlighting your significant accomplishments and expressing your motivation to join the company can be advantageous.
- Engage the Interviewer. Sullivan, Plazo’s co-founder, advises job seekers to study up on the company they’re interviewing with. During the interview, candidates should ask thoughtful questions about what success looks like for the role. Engage the interviewers in the conversation. “The more the interviewers talk, the better impression you’ll make,” Sullivan suggests.
- Be Proactive Beyond the Application. After submitting your application, reach out to the company’s talent acquisition person on LinkedIn. Introduce yourself, let them know you’ve applied, and express your interest in the role. Remember, humility is essential. Engaging with their content and leaving thoughtful comments can help make your name more memorable.
- Show Gratitude. One way to stand out in this job market is to send a thank-you note to all involved in the interview process. A clever thank-you card can often make a significant impact.
- Maintain Positivity and Persistence. Job searching can be daunting at any age. Staying positive, persistent, and employing these tips can boost your chances of landing the right opportunity. Don’t hesitate to seek advice or assistance from friends, family, mentors, or even your millennial children. With the correct approach, you can secure your dream job.