Applicant tracking systems: This isn't a new phenomenon, but many job seekers don't realize how important it is to cater application materials to appeal to the computer systems that screen resumes. It's crucial that you target your materials specifically to address the jobs that interest you. Do not assume a human being will read and interpret your resume; make a very clear and specific case for why you are well qualified. Do not expect someone to read between the lines of your materials and to give you credit for skills you do not specifically mention. Take advantage of the lengthy job descriptions employers provide and include specifics about each of the details they request in your application materials.
Social media: Job seekers have never had more access to information about organizations and individuals than they have today. A click of the mouse or an easy Google search provides context about interviewers, details about company culture and streams of information from people who work in organizations where you want to work. Job seekers should learn to use social media tools. Today's networking possibilities are tremendous; you don't need to hope your brother-in-law's neighbor can introduce you to someone in a target organization -- you can connect with a networking contact directly via a few tweets on Twitter or via a group discussion on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn profile, they may wonder if you are the type of employee they want to join their organization. It's up to you to make sure you create and maintain social media profiles and content that makes it clear that you have the skills and experience you say that you have on your resume. If you apply, indicating what a great collaborator and team player you are, but your social media updates are full of argumentative remarks, you're unlikely to land an interview for that job.
Competition and a shifting economy: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 40 percent of all U.S. workers now work part time or as contractors. People who study career and employment trends have been predicting this shift for years. The result? There are fewer full-time, traditional positions, and job seekers need to learn how to market themselves as freelancers in order to secure work. Luckily, social media and online tools make this easier than ever, but it's a trend many are slow to understand and appreciate. Even if there are still many full-time opportunities in your field, you may find this long-term trend catches up with you and your industry sooner than later. Smart job seekers think strategically about making a clear case for their skills and expertise online and to build a community of potential allies now. When you learn to market yourself online, you're more likely to succeed in this new economy.
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