Thinking of looking for a job in 2015?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. For the first time in a long time, you just might have the upper hand.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced that 2014 was the best year for hiring since 1999 and that the unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 5.6% (employers added 252,000 jobs in December). Better still, 36% of employers plan to increase their full-time staff in 2015, according to a CareerBuilder survey.
Wages are on the upswing, too. Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist for The Economic Outlook Group, told USA TODAY that he forecasts average annual wage growth rising to perhaps 3% by midyear (compared to 2.4% last year).
Of course, just because firms, nonprofits and government agencies are hiring doesn’t mean the job search has gotten any easier or that you have any more time to look for work. So to help you take advantage of the improving job market in your limited spare time, here are six ways to improve your search with just a few hours of work:
3. Set-up Google alerts for a target list of three to five employers where you’d like to work. This way, you’ll be on top of breaking news, job postings and business opportunities long before your competition without having to devote hours to research. And if you get called in for an interview, the knowledge you’ve gained about a prospective employer’s challenges and strategic plans will help you come across as a highly effective candidate.
4. Add two or three job-search apps onto your smartphone. These days, the sooner you respond to a job posting, the better your chances of getting hired. Mobile job-search apps can cut your response time drastically. So download a few from job-posting aggregator sites such as Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com. Then, when you’ve got time to kill, you can easily use your phone for something more productive than reading the latest Facebook gossip.
The Next Avenue blog post I wrote, “8 Great Apps to Help You Land a Job” can help you find the right apps for your search.
5. Create a list of at least three people you think could help your job-search efforts in 2015. We all know that networking is the best way to find new jobs, but real networking is about long-term relationship building, not quick transactional exchanges. It is far more powerful to have a few strong supporters in your network (who’ll go to bat for you when there’s an opening where they work), than many lukewarm connections.
As you’re coming up with a shortlist of people who could accelerate your job search, think about ones at employers where you might like to work, leaders in your target industries or former colleagues you haven’t kept in touch with. Just remember: Networking works best when you approach it with the attitude of helping others before you expect help.
Once you’ve identified your target list, send those people useful articles, offer to connect them to your other contacts and share their content on social media. These gestures will help you build meaningful business relationships, which should lead to referrals for job opportunities.
See all 6 tweaks and the complete article
You can follow your favorite celebrities and participate in clever hashtag games with a Twitter account, but Twitter can also be much more than an entertaining site you compulsively check. Rather than spending 20 minutes racking your brain for the most clever and creative way to explain what you are doing in 140 characters or less, follow the five tips below to use your Twitter account to find your next job.
1. Make your profile employer-friendly.
Your twitter handle should be professional. Many people in the industry suggest using some variation of your name. You can also use your biography to briefly state your credentials or the type of job you are looking for. Lastly, make your background relevant to your job search. Your background can be a great way to express yourself in an area other than the bio. For examples and inspirations check out this Mashable article.
2. Tweet about things relevant to your job search.
If you participate in an activity that relates to your potential future job or finally mastered that pesky skill that was holding you back, tweet about it. Let prospective employers know you are actively improving yourself and your skills in preparation for a new job. Also, simply tell people you are searching for a job. The Twitterverse is expansive so surely somebody will be able to help.
Steps 3-5 and the complete article
Your career brand is multifaceted and the good news is that, once defined, it can be shared with interviewers in many ways. Which is more good news, considering that your interviewers want to grasp the essence of your brand when they speak with you. In fact, all of their interview questions are aimed at clarifying your brand so they can evaluate its match to their needs.
Let’s take a look at seven questions interviewers ask themselves as they get to know you and the best ways for you to clarify Brand You™ in your interview responses.
1. What Sets Your Candidacy Apart?
What skills, experience, and credentials to you possess which make you a stronger candidate than the others who have applied? As interviewers slog through dozens of resumes and meet with candidate after candidate, they need to know what makes you different. They also need you to tell them this rather than expect them to figure out.
TIP: Summarize your strongest skills, experience, and credentials early in the interview, perhaps as a reply to the ubiquitous “tell me about yourself” question. Try this deceivingly simple but highly effective way to package your brand in reply to this question.
2. What Measurable Impact Have You Had To Date?
What specific measurable results have you achieved throughout your career that positively impacted your employers’ top- or bottom-lines? Define your revenue, sales, market share, profitability, cost reduction, productivity, and/or efficiency impacts in numerical terms.
TIP: Craft 5-8 CAR (challenge/action/results) statements that demonstrate the challenges you’ve faced with other firms, the actions you took to overcome them, and the measurable difference you made. Each CAR should address one or more of the key impacts employers are looking for; these are outlined in the job description and the job posting.
Read all 7 things and the complete Careeralism article
You don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression and when it comes to applying for a job your cover letter is usually the first thing most employers will see. This is your chance to say “Hi, I’m here and you should really hire me” and any error will be the written equivalent of tripping over as you enter the room or spilling tea all over the boss.
It says everything about you right from the start – and that could be the bad as well as the good. It’s true that we can learn from our mistakes, but you really don’t want the application for the job of your dreams being the place to make them, do you? So ensure you don’t make them in the first place and enhance your chances of being invited for an interview by making sure your initial application stage is spot on!
Here are some of the most common – yet avoidable – cover letter mistakes that you need to guarantee you don’t make when applying for your dream job:
3) Not writing enough:
The secret to a great cover letter is getting the balance just right. Too long and you will lose the attention of the person writing it (they might receive hundreds of letters for just one job), too short and it won’t say enough about you to really catch their eye. Aim for around 200-250 words maximum and pick out some of the key reasons you feel you are the ideal candidate for the job, trying to focus on one major success story you are particularly proud of. “I successfully increased revenue by 200% during my time at the company”, for example.
If your letter is good enough then you’ll have the opportunity to tell them more about yourself at the interview stage.
4) Using generic text (To Whom It May Concern):
Whatever you do never use these five little words to address a cover letter. And come to think of it, Dear Sir/Madam isn’t much better either.
Do whatever you can to find out the hiring manager’s name, and address your letter to that person directly. Anything else will make you appear lazy and less than bothered if you get the job anyway.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask who it is that’s hiring for this position. You might get passed from pillar to post initially but remember, it’s a real person you are trying to impress here and little details like this can make a huge difference.
See all 5 mistakes and the complete TheUndercoverRecruiter article