4 Pointers To Help You Get Hired In The Post-Pandemic Era
“Help Wanted” signs are everywhere, and they’re not going away anytime soon. A shortage of workers is gripping the nation: April saw a new record of 9.3 million open positions.
As employers struggle to fill critical roles, the time is ripe for you to pursue your dream career. Just remember that you still have competition. Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, says the business world is entering a “great resignation,” as more and more workers seek to switch jobs.
What does this mean for you? If you’re interested in starting post-pandemic life in a new position, don’t wait. The most coveted roles with the most in-demand benefits (yes, including remote work) are likely to attract hundreds of qualified applicants. You have to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Here’s how:
1. Highlight transferable job skills on your résumé.
According to Isaiah Hankel, founder and CEO of Cheeky Scientist, today’s employers are less worried about highly specific skills. “You might have been told to tailor your résumé for each role you apply for, but from what I’ve seen, that strategy won’t work in 2021,” Hankel says in his recent article for Harvard Business Review. “Many companies are nervous about hiring more specialized candidates because they’re unsure what the business landscape will look like after the pandemic. To show you are adaptable, generalize the skills on your résumé into three main areas: systems-oriented, people-oriented, and self-oriented.”
A study by global staffing firm Robert Half found that 84% of companies are willing to hire and then train candidates who might not meet specific job requirements. Considering 62% of employees reported landing a position they weren’t qualified for, it appears companies are largely being honest about their intentions.
2. Focus on personal branding by updating your online presence.
Anne Pryor, a Reach-certified personal branding strategist shares my passion for urging all applicants to spend time working on their digital personal brand. “Regardless of the current economic climate, it’s absolutely critical for all professionals in job search mode to understand their unique promise of value and be able to express it in the virtual world,” Pryor says.
Today, your personal brand is intrinsically tied to your online presence. In fact, your first impression will be delivered online. A study by CareerBuilder indicates that 58% of employers use social media to verify candidates’ qualifications—and 50% see a professional online presence as a reassuring sign of a candidate’s potential. Tailor your profile on broad networking platforms like LinkedIn and other mediums that fit your desired position or industry. An established GitHub profile, for example, can cement your status as a software engineer.
3. Go beyond the traditional résumé format.
Remember when a résumé had to fit on a single page with your entire work history neatly organized in chronological order? As proof that these formats have gone out the window, check out TikTok Résumés. The popular video-sharing platform is partnering with companies like Chipotle, Shopify and Target to invite job seekers to apply for in-demand positions.
Today, your imagination is the only thing limiting what form your résumé can take. A video résumé might be a great way to show off your visual work if you’re applying for a role as a videographer, graphic designer, or illustrator. If you’re looking for a job as an accountant, make a résumé in Excel that shows off your highly relevant knowledge of complex or obscure formulas. One student applying for a position at Spotify even made a playlist-themed résumé—and it’s fantastic.
4. Use stories to convey experience during the interview.
Storytelling isn’t just an interesting way to convey information. Research indicates stories can be 22 times more memorable than facts on their own. When hiring managers think back to interviews with dozens or even hundreds of different candidates, your ability to tell a story will make you and your experience stand out from the crowd.
Lily Zhang, a career counselor at the MIT Media Lab, understands the power of a compelling story. “A good place to start when preparing your narrative for a particular interview is to figure out what main points—personal experiences, skills or qualities—you want to get across to show the interviewer you’re right for this job,” Zhang advises. “Then, look for opportunities to tie these points together in a cohesive way and find supporting stories from your work experience that back these points up. Connecting your career story to the job you’re applying for to create a bigger narrative is the goal.”
If you’ve been thinking about applying for a new job, now might be a good time. But the abundance of opportunities shouldn’t make you feel complacent. Instead of relying on a cookie-cutter approach, make yourself stand out by incorporating these four key ingredients. After all, effective personal branding is about authenticity and differentiation.
William Arruda is a keynote speaker, author, co-founder of CareerBlast.TV and creator of the LinkedIn Profile Type Indicator (LPTI) which measures your LinkedIn profile likability and credibility.