Jobseeking isn’t easy. In fact, corporate jobs attract an average of 250 resumes, with 95% of recruiters saying that hiring will remain as competitive in 2017 as it was in 2015 and 2016.
The job market is huge and extremely complicated, and it can be off-putting and intimidating for first-timers who are trying to land their first ‘proper’ job after college. But the good news is that once you wrap your head around a few common truths, you’ll start to find the search a whole lot easier.
Here are just seven of the things that I wish I knew before I started looking for my first job.
Everybody is secretly looking for a new job
According to a 2015 Gallup poll, over half of people in full-time employment are looking for a new job. It’s inevitable that people will eventually want to move on from their existing roles, but it’s a surprise that so many people are looking for something new.
When you first start job seeking, it’s easy to think that you’re only competing against recent graduates and the unemployed, but the truth is that most job vacancies attract a wide range of talent. You need to make yourself stand out.
One study from Careerbuilder found that the average job seeker spends eleven hours per week looking for new opportunities. That’s roughly 1.5 working days every week, and that doesn’t count any volunteer work that you might be doing to augment your portfolio.
The truth is that if you want to be successful, you need to be disciplined and to treat the search for employment as a job in its own right. If you can’t hold yourself accountable for finding a job then how are you ever going to make it once you land one?
Your resume is insanely important
Resumes are important of course – after all, they’re your chance to make a positive impression on a potential employer. But what many people don’t realize is exactly how important they really are. Recruiters spend an average of just over three minutes reading a resume and have usually arrived at a decision within the first sixty seconds.
Of all of the mistakes that I made, the biggest was the fact that I didn’t use one of the top resume services to polish up my resume before I started looking for work. Recruiters can tell the difference, and a decent resume can help you to command a premium when it comes to negotiating a salary. Better still, it’s an investment in the future – and one which will continue to pay off.
Nobody likes agencies
According to Jobvite, only 4.6% of recruiters use agencies to source new talent. Businesses tend to avoid recruitment agencies where possible because it costs a lot of money, which means that if you’re relying on an agency to place you then you might be out of luck.
That’s not to say that agencies don’t have their place. Used sparingly, they can be a fantastic resource for both recruiters and jobseekers, but it’s a huge mistake to put all of your hopes into an agency. Cut out the middle man and go after recruiters yourself – they’ll appreciate your drive and determination.It’s crazy not to stay in touch with recruiters
It’s official – recruiters like to stay in touch with candidates. One survey from Careerbuilder found that 54% of recruiters re-engage with past candidates, while a 2016 report from Jobvite put the figure at 59%.
Not all job seekers are created equal. In fact, most people waste a huge amount of time by failing to consider their place in the market – as well as what employers are actually looking for.
Either way, the truth is that sometimes you’re pipped at the post by another jobseeker, but if you made a good impression then recruiters may well want to hear from you when they have another vacancy. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay in touch on social networking sites and via email. You just never know!
Culture is king
Jobvite’s 2016 Recruiter Nation Survey found that 60% of recruiters ranked cultural fit as the single most important factor when making a hiring decision. People like to work with people they get on with, and when there’s a culture match people are happier and more productive.
Ultimately, many skills can be learned, either on the job or through dedicated training. But if there’s no cultural fit then there’ll be a disparity between the employee and the company and before you know it there’ll be a parting of the ways and they’ll be back on the job market again.
Personalisation rules the roost
If you want recruiters to remember you, you’ll need to tailor your resume for every single application. According to Careerbuilder, failing to include the hiring manager’s name is a turn-off for 84% of recruiters, and failing to customize your resume will earn you a rejection from 54% of vacancies. 63% of recruiters look for resumes that have been tailored to the open position.
The moral of the story? Personalise your resume or get your application rejected in favour of someone else.
Ultimately, you don’t need to follow the advice in this article, but if you do then you’ll find that the job hunt is a whole lot easier. In such a busy market, you’ll need to take advantage of everything you can to stand out from the competition.
With a bit of luck – and a lot of perseverance – you’ll be working your dream job in no time. Good luck.