Whether you are looking to switch jobs or are out of work, it can now take longer than ever to find a new job. And it's not just the economy that's to blame. "The rules have changed when it comes to finding jobs," says William Holland, author of the new book Cracking the New Job Market. "Globalization and technological advances have permanently transformed the job market. It's not about your credentials, but rather the value you offer a company." Recruiter Tony Beshara agrees. "A resume is not a simple list of your credentials, devoid of context," says Beshara, author of the new guide, Unbeatable Resumes. "It's a sales tool that lets the hiring authority know you can perform the duties needed immediately." To help job seekers, Holland and Beshara offer the following advice:
Be open to all opportunities: In decades past, job seekers were told that networking was critical to finding the right job, as if there was a hidden job market only others knew about. That may have been true when companies hired family members and friends of employees, but in today's competitive market, companies are focused on hiring the person who can best do the job with minimal training.
So don't shy away from applying to postings on job boards or company websites. But continue to reach out to friends and family, or even connections through social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Just know that the most important thing is that you match a company's desired attributes.
Tailor your resume: The average resume gets read in 10 seconds. With that kind of attention span, you better make sure your resume stands out. This doesn't mean using distracting formats or flourishes. Make sure your resume reflects the responsibilities of the job in language the screener (often not an expert in your field) can understand.
Ace the interview: You need to demonstrate the value you can bring to a company through the interview process. Before interviewing, prepare by making a chart listing the job's responsibilities and your matching experience. But remember, the key to achieving maximum performance is to enter any testing situation with an uncluttered mind.
Plan for the future: The average white-collar worker holds a job for 2 1/2 to three years, according to Beshara. Therefore, it's wise to plan for future job searches after getting your next job.
This means planning for a future period of unemployment by saving for an emergency fund and living within your means so you don't accrue debt, says Holland. It also means keeping in touch with your network and updating your resume as you log accomplishments, adds Beshara.