Make us your home page

It's not your father's job hunt anymore

The upheaval of the job market has sent many experienced workers scrambling to update their resumes, only to find that the job search rules they had been following have fundamentally changed. Experts say these changes were brought on only partly by the soft job market, and aren't likely to go away if and when the economy improves. It's a whole new ballgame, experts say, and those who understand how to play stand a much better chance of winning. So if you've been out of the job market for a while, get to know these four ways in which the job search has changed:

The hidden job market has grown

Benefit: You can be innovative in your job search.

Challenge: You can't wait for jobs to open up.

A huge number of professional jobs are filled without ever being advertised. Part of the reason is that hiring managers don't have time to sift through hundreds or even thousands of resumes. That's not to say that answering a job post is a waste of time, just that it should be only one search strategy, according to workplace consultant Jake Greene, author of Whoa, My Boss is Naked.

"Hiring managers will often consider people they already know when a job opens up," Greene says. "You have to establish rapport, so you'll be on their radar and have the upper hand when there's an opening."

Technology can turbocharge your job search

Benefit: There are more ways to apply for a job.

Challenge: There are more ways to screen you out.

Technology has allowed candidates to easily research companies and hiring managers, and companies now expect you to do this, according to Greene. "By using the Internet, you can learn most of what you should know before you go into an interview, so you can ask informed questions," he says.

On the other hand, assume a company will do a thorough background check on you. That means your credit score and even those benign photos of you on Facebook are easily accessible, and could be used against you. "Clean up your information on Facebook, untag yourself from anything that's potentially embarrassing and Google yourself to see what employers will see," says Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Human Resource Solutions and author of Suddenly in Charge.

Social media has opened up networking opportunities

Benefit: You can meet many more people.

Challenge: You have to work it.

You can grow your network more than ever before by using online professional networking tools, and if you're not adapting to the social media landscape, you're missing out. But using social media in your job search requires daily practice. "You must be diligent in asking for recommendations, building your network (and) updating your profile," says Bob Bennett, global search consultant at the recruiting firm The Mergis Group. "If you do these things right, your reach will be phenomenal."

Companies demand perfection

Benefit: They usually settle for near perfection.

Challenge: You have to prove your skills are transferable.

Companies rarely train now, and they expect new hires to have all the skills they need on Day 1. "Though they won't tell you this, what they're really looking for is someone who can adapt and think," Bennett says.

"If you don't have all of the skill sets a company wants, in your cover letter emphasize the ones you do have and how you're willing and able to learn the rest," says Cheryl Ferguson, recruitment partner with recruitment services company Decision Toolbox.

What hasn't changed

Personal chemistry: A good resume may get you a phone interview, but the likeable candidate will probably get the job. "It always comes down to who the manager really wants to work with," Bennett says.

Common-sense etiquette: Though technology is pervasive, we're still not at the point where it's okay to send a text message in an interview, Ferguson says. "You still need to show up to the interview on time, turn off your phone, be polite, say thank you, check your spelling and grammar, and don't write LOL in your emails."

Thank-you letters: Few candidates write interview thank-you notes on paper, and that's where you can stand out, Bennett says. "It's very retro to write a personalized thank-you note or card, and that's why it works."

It's not your father's job hunt anymore 03/03/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 3, 2012 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]