new year, new job.

  • career advice
  • December 01, 2017

Going into the new year, savvy job seekers will have their eyes trained on one of the key ratios tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: unemployed persons to job openings. That ratio was 1.1:1 in September 2017 — a month in which there were 6.1 million new job openings — and is expected to go down in January 2018, while the number of new job openings will increase correspondingly.

That means there’s a lot of opportunity out there, and businesses are struggling to find qualified candidates for many positions. If you’re ready to take advantage of these conditions, Randstad has your game plan all worked out. In this article, we explain how brushing up your resume and brandishing your social network are two easy ways to capitalize on these opportunities and present yourself as a compelling candidate.

resume revamp.

As professional channels like LinkedIn have gained popularity, your resume isn’t the only thing that matters anymore. But make no mistake — it still matters. Think of your resume as an elevator pitch for your candidacy. Here, employers should learn everything they need to know about what you bring to the table. Polish your resume as much as possible, and be sure to proofread it for typos or grammatical mistakes. Once you’re done, make sure you have talking points for each section. Practice those talking points with a friend or family member until you can say them without “ums” and “uhs.”

hone in on keywords.

Did you know 75 percent of hiring and talent managers today are using a combination of recruiting software and applicant tracking software as part of the hiring process? Most of these software solutions scan resumes for keywords, which means you’ve got to sprinkle in the right keywords on your resume if you want to get noticed. But what are the right keywords to use?

Say you’re applying for a position as a financial analyst. In that case, you might start by making a list of several similar positions via job sites like Monster. Then, scan and compare each of these job descriptions. Try to identify which keywords these roles have in common and which keywords will help you stand out for the roles you want.

holiday cleaning.

Once you’ve got the resume squared away, you’ll want to clean up your online profiles — and LinkedIn isn’t the only one that matters to employers these days. According to a Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRP) survey, more than half of organizations polled said that they consult Facebook (66 percent) and Twitter (53 percent) as a basic part of their recruitment strategy. It’s safe to assume that a lot of this is due diligence. In other words, you don’t need to suddenly start sharing thought leadership articles with your Facebook friends, but you should clean up obvious red flags, like photos involving drugs or alcohol or posts with profanity or inflammatory language. While only 2 percent of social media users say that information they posted caused them to lose a job or not get hired for a job they were applying for, you definitely don’t want to be one of them.

surf for opportunities.

Tidying up your own online presence is only one side of the coin. The other side is that social media today is an important forum for researching and learning about openings and opportunities, and companies increasingly leverage the reach and targeting capabilities of channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for recruitment purposes. If there are specific companies you’re interested in, follow them — or better yet, follow their HR or careers page when available — so you can receive alerts when new positions are posted. With 94 percent of professional recruiters saying that they actively use social media to network and post job openings, there’s clearly a lot of opportunity out there. Don’t miss out.

use twitter strategically.

Twitter is especially popular among the highly educated — with 29 percent of Internet users with college degrees using Twitter, compared with 20 percent of those with high school degrees or less — and that’s not lost on recruiters. If you’re not on Twitter already, spend some time during the Q4-Q1 transition to build your personal brand and find professional communities on the platform. This can be as simple as retweeting compelling posts related to your career and industry, or following thought leaders in a given field.

don’t be discouraged by delays.

From Thanksgiving onward, there’s some accuracy to the perception that we all have more on our plates — sometimes literally. If you don’t hear back right away, remember that the hiring manager or recruiter might be on vacation or still catching up after the holidays. You can relax knowing that you’ve made strategic use of the season by getting your resume on their desks at a time when they’re much more likely to see it.

If you keep at it, you’re likely to enter Q1 with multiple requests for interviews pouring in — and maybe even face the dilemma of what to do with multiple job offers.

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