Repeating the adage that “looking for a full-time job is a full-time job” always draws nodding heads, smiles of agreement, or frowns of frustration when I speak to groups on career management. Job applicants, the ones who really get it, know that it takes an enormous amount of time and effort to land a new position, especially in a competitive market.
It also takes up to date knowledge on branding practices, the effective use of digital platforms, the development of content, building a resume that can easily be customized for each position for which you apply, and a killer Value Brand Statement. Changes in the job market are occurring at a very rapid rate. Many of the lessons learned about searching for a job five years ago are no longer valid.
You Actually Have Three Jobs
One of my coaching clients recently remarked that when you enter the job market, you have three full-time jobs:
“How up to date are you? Unless you are working with an ironclad, no-cut employment contract, a forced career transition is a definite possibility. Then there is the decision to pursue the next step in your career advancement plan.”JohnGSelf
How up to date are you? Unless you are working with an ironclad, no-cut employment contract, a forced career transition is a definite possibility. Then there is the decision to pursue the next step in your career advancement plan.
Assessment of Your Job Search Preparedness
Here are questions we use to assess a candidate’s readiness to be competitive in the job market. Five is very knowledgeable and one is poor.How familiar are you with your VBS, also known as your value proposition?
If your total score does not exceed 80, you have work to do to be effective in a highly competitive market.
© 2019 John Gregory Self
The young executive declared emphatically his deep understanding of all things digital. Not a surprising statement from someone who grew up with a computer at his side in his early years and a hand-held device as his constant companion from high school to today. He knows the devices inside and out and possesses impressive competency with a myriad of applications and web-based services, including, of course, games.
Conventional wisdom suggests that the younger generations, the Millennials and Gen Z’ers, are the masters of data and devices. No hurdles for them in this realm. But as is the case in as so many other areas, conventional wisdom is seldom right.
When the young executive and I began to talk about mega data and the science of data analytics — how (our) information is harvested and analyzed, or the implications these developments could have on his reputation and career, he became decidedly less certain, less confident.
Big Brother Dives Into LinkedIn
He is whip smart, destined for a remarkable and rewarding career but as we discussed a career plan and strategy, I began to realize that his lack of understanding of how the collection and analyzing of data will spill over into career management had a leveling effect. His knowledge on this subject and its implications put him right in the middle of about 90 percent of the US workforce. Right now his lack of understanding is not a career limiting factor, but it will be sooner than later. Programs already exist, although they are not yet widely used, that can dive in to LinkedIn and other professional and social media sites, scanning what and how you write — what words you choose and how you form sentences. As I wrote last week, from this scan they can create a DISC©-like profile that will enable corporations who include this technology into their talent acquisition process to determine whether they want interview you now or in the future.
“So this type of program, combined with Artificial Intelligence technology that is making its way into the employment process, will produce powerful and probably potent tools that will create all manner of new challenges for prospective employees.”JohnGSelf
So, this type of program, combined with other Artificial Intelligence technology that is making its way into the employment process, will produce powerful and probably potent tools that will create all manner of new challenges for prospective employees.
You Have Time to Prepare
Before you set your hair on fire with anxiety regarding yet another hurdle you must overcome in an already crowded executive job market, you have some time to prepare. Yes, the technology exists, but it is not yet cost effectively available or scalable across the broad spectrum of industries and companies.
Like anything else there will be strategies for job applicants to help them deal with this amazing new capability. Our firm is well invested in this development and will begin incorporating information into our coaching modules very soon.
As you think about the implications for the job search market and your career, here are some important caveats for you to consider:
3 Caveats to Consider
© 2019 John Gregory Self
If you stroll through the offices of your average corporate talent acquisition department today, you will note a change. The recruiters are younger. In fact, increasingly, they are the so-called “Millennials.”
Yes, that’s right. For you remaining Baby Boomers and Generate Xers in the job market, the people you have been criticizing for their misguided work-life expectations, their unrealistic sense of entitlement, or any number of other real or imagined sins, are rapidly taking over the candidate screening process. They now hold the keys to the kingdom. If you like irony, this is pretty good stuff.
In the world of recruiting, something will have to change and I am betting the farm it is not going to be the Millennials. (To be fair, they are not as guilty as charged by their seniors – primarily the Baby Boomers and, to a lesser extent, their parents’ generation.)
So, General Xers and Baby Boomers who are looking for a job, it is time for you to adjust to the fact that the way you have always conducted a job search is just not going to be as effective as it once was.
You need to learn to speak Millennial. That is to say you are the one who must do the adjusting, not the other way around.
In our career transition practice, we have already made major adjustments to meet the needs of this new way of recruiting, from the use of brief audio and video downloads to an increased reliance on InMail or text messaging. Longish, boring letters of introduction from outplacement firms will not get their candidates the attention they deserve. You have to be focused, brief and creative if you expect to get noticed.
Today, it is not just about a having a visible brand and a robust LinkedIn profile (93 percent of corporate recruiters report they use LinkedIn for candidate identification and initial contact). You must elevate your old-school professional networking approach to strategic, values-based networking to attract the attention of corporate recruiters and executives within a targeted corporation.
The other reality is that in the past, executives did not invest much time in career management, including professional networking, until they needed to look for a job. The old excuse, “I just don’t have time for that stuff” is already being replaced with “I have been looking for more than a year and I have not made any progress.” This is NOT scare-tactics selling. I have already run into several bright executives in the last year who one day, after many months of job searching their way found themselves in that category.
When you survey the changing job market there is one other reality you need to embrace. The pace of change in the aggressive use of Artificial Intelligence (machine screening) is accelerating. This will require candidates to master a new set of job search skills like mastering digital marketing strategies.
If you long for the good old days in career management, forget about it. It is time to learn and adapt because the consequences of not doing so are very real.
Did I mention that the Millennials have gotten a bump rap?
© 2019 John Gregory Self