The More Things Change …

You’ve probably heard the expression, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”  Well, when it comes to job search, and the self-promotion required to successfully obtain work, we’ve seen a tremendous evolution in the ways we apply for employment.  Newspaper classifieds have given way to the online job boards, industry-specific sites and community-focused portals.  Recruiters and H.R. personnel don’t always post the openings they are trying to fill; instead they mine online candidate pools, scour profiles on professional social networking sites, and use their own personal network to source direct contact with potential applicants, or ask for recommendations from those they trust.  And if they do post a job, it’s more likely to be found on a social network than on a public job board!
The way resumes are submitted has changed too.  Once upon a time each resume was individually typed (or even hand-written!) and hand-delivered or mailed.  When the convenience of inexpensive photocopies came along, job seekers had an unprecedented ability to market themselves.  And the millions of resumes that have been submitted electronically (fax and email) in the last twenty years has  contributed to a major loss of US Postal Service revenue!
There are also job seekers out there with amazing credentials, who don’t submit resumes or CV’s; they post their professional profiles on social networking sites, they tweet, they blog, use all kinds of “connectivity” tools, and direct face-to-face interpersonal contact, in the hopes of getting found and recruited.  Let’s call it a tactic of mostly pounding the electronic pavement.  Like any other job search method, if it works for you, it’s good!
No matter the change of how people find work, the fact is that employers are still trying to match their needs with the abilities and availabilities of suitable candidates.  Unfortunately, there are many employers out there who are not so clear about what they want or need from their job candidates, complicating things for everyone!
There will always be more job seekers than available jobs, even in the best of economic times and periods of boundless job growth.  This means that effective job seekers have to up their game, and explore and utilize multiple strategies to promote themselves and their skills to prospective employers who need what they can do. Job applicants have got to find that combination of efforts that gets them noticed and considered as viable to fill the employer’s needs.
And more important than ever before, job seekers must present a consistent message across all their forms of self-promotion.  Whether using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, industry-specific online networks, creating online portfolios, their own personal/professional webpages and blogs, or contributing to others blogs, or on their resumes, job seekers must emphasize the same strengths and credentials that show them in the best light.  Because of the ease with which recruiters and hiring managers can search for candidates online, a consistent message gives you the chance to reinforce your strengths, accomplishments position titles and functions performed.
Also keep in mind that posting recommendations and references from those who know your work will further support your claims and can lend added credibility to your efforts.  Politely ask other professionals in your network (the ones you really know!) for their support in written form.  Not everyone you ask will accommodate you, but a few good references can go a long a way.  But don’t forget to ask their permission before posting their comments, or providing their information to prospective employers as further references.
The way people go about looking for work will continue to evolve.  But no matter how things change, people will always be looking for work, and employers will (sometimes) be hiring.  And, as always, the more concisely a candidate indicates what s/he can do for an employer, and the more accurately an employer describes what their needs are for their open positions, the easier it will become for job seekers to find work, and employers to fill their openings.  That would be a change for the better!
BTW:  Congratulations to the New York Giants and their fans on their Super Bowl victory.
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