Remain Flexible On Your Job Hunt

Six tips that will keep you on your toes

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By Hannah Morgan

Wouldn't it be great if everything just stayed the same for awhile? It is tiring to have to learn how to use a new smartphone or figure out the latest gadget. In a world that changes quickly, you have to learn to keep morphing, adjusting and adapting to stay current and marketable. The job search is all about adapting and adjusting to yield positive results.

Your career is in beta mode. In "The Start-up of You," Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, talks about being in constant beta – a state of trial, readiness to implement change and reinvention. Why is this important? Perhaps you noticed that the job you were hired to do is no longer the job you still perform exactly the same way. Processes change. Technologies update. Resources disappear and you're asked to do more with less. To keep your sanity, you have to adapt to this constant state of change. Your ability to flex , bend and your resiliency is what will help keep your skills and perspective fresh and desirable.

Master more than you think you need. There are numerous articles about in-demand skills, which employers value but have difficulty finding in job candidates. Deborah Shane, a career author and business branding strategist, lists the following six intangible skills as critical to getting hired: adaptability, being a team player, leadership, multi-taking, open-mindedness and positivity.
According to the Job Preparedness Indicator Report for 2013, coordinated by the Career Advisory Board, employers are having difficulty finding entry level candidates with these top ranked skills: Strong base work ethic/dependable, ability to work well with others, self motivated/high degree of initiative, flexibility, good time management skills, high integrity, accountability, problem solving and interpersonal skills.

The résumé isn't dead...yet. There are more conflicting opinions on the death of the résumé. You should be aware that standards have changed in the last five years, so be sure the information you're using is up to date. In a recent post on the Amplify Talent blog Lars Schmidt, senior director of talent acquisition and innovation at NPR writes: "There is a lot of chatter these days about the death of the résumé, that your 'digital footprint' or LinkedIn profile have made your résumé obsolete. This is (for now) a myth. The reality is while there are sufficient tools and platforms out there to allow hiring teams (in many industries) to make early stage viability decisions, most organizations are still managing through hiring apparatuses and workflows designed 5+ years ago, before some of these technologies existed."

More mixed signals on résumés. For as long as a résumé has been around, there will always be experts and others giving advice on how to create the perfect one. The reality is, there is no such thing. This document gets more attention than any other job search element. You could go crazy trying to keep up with all the advice and conflicting opinions. If you submit your résumé for a job posting (and that's all you do), and you don't get contacted, you're either not qualified or your résumé didn't show your qualifications. If your phone isn't ringing, your résumé isn't working. In other words, adapt.

Try, try and try again. It is easy to get stuck in the apply-for-a-job-and-wait rut. If what you've been doing isn't working, you must try something new or different. If you only apply for jobs online, try adding more networking to your job search. Or if you haven't contacted any recruiters, give that a try. Even better, if you've been hesitant to dip your toe in the social media waters, why not take a cautious dive in? No matter what you do, don't give up or stop trying to morph, adapt and adjust what you are saying and doing.

Change your outlook. If you don't think anyone will hire you, then you may be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether you feel like a victim of age discrimination, unfair hiring practices or neglect, don't let these negative thoughts linger or corrupt your potential. There's a saying that negativity breeds negativity. Employers can see this negativity in the emails you send, the voicemail messages you leave and in the interview.

Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.

More from U.S. News:
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