It is not news for any professionals or executives who are job seeking that job ads are down. In turn, recruitment agencies are reporting being down on assignments by 60-70%. Of the roles being advertised, many are being pulled at different stages of the hiring process and, some are of questionable authenticity (which has always been the case). What’s left is a small amount of job ads where an appointment will ultimately be made.
Given what the market is doing, it is easy for job seekers to become disillusioned about their job prospects, particularly in the short term. I would encourage you to look at the bigger picture and the next 6-12 months when there will be a more positive picture and what you can do to position yourself well for this time. It is going to require a much more strategic approach and less applying online to job ads, which tends to be the default of most job seekers and it is not working anymore.
The Job Search Game Has Changed
Job ads have traditionally been the go-to source for recruiters to advertise roles. However, particularly with professional and executive level roles, LinkedIn and the Seek Profile Talent offering has changed things.
Shrinking Job Ads
While recruiters will post job ads, they are not as reliant on them anymore as there are many more services to use that get good results.
When they post a job ad, the recruiter will get 150-200 plus applicants, which creates a big administrative process of potentially replying to every applicant, returning 100 calls per job ad and so on. They have a big pool of applicants to whittle down to 5-10. The recruitment process is an exclusionary one. They are looking for reasons to knock your application out of the game to get it down to the last few to call and take through to interview.
This is done in a number of ways – including by parsing software that looks for key words and humans that look for key words that match the clients job brief. The human may be an experienced recruiter, or an administrative assistant who has little understanding of the role and your experience. At this point in the process, there is a high probability that you are included or eliminated if the wording you have used and/or your experience matches the brief. It has nothing to do with your capability. It is simply a case of ‘how does your experience compare with the client brief?’ How close a match is it? If it is not next to 100% you will not progress to interview stage.
It is important to remember that the recruiter has a detailed client job brief that they must match if they want to get paid and remain employed.
Warning – not all job ads are authentic. Be sure to only apply for job ads that have considerable detail and only meet with recruiters who can provide information about the organisation they are hiring for, position descriptions etc.
The growth of LinkedIn has been terrific as it has forced job seekers to look beyond having often a dry and traditional resume that details their past work history. LinkedIn is a more dynamic way for job seekers to sell their experience and potential. It is also more empowering in that if you have a great LinkedIn profile it enables you to be found and approached about jobs, rather than having to chase job opportunities which can be exhausting and demotivating.
The purpose of your LinkedIn profile is therefore different. It is to be found. So, your profile needs to be geared up for this if you want to receive approaches from hiring managers and recruiters about the jobs your targeting.
Recruiters are now heavily using LinkedIn as the numbers make sense for them. They can reach out to 20 plus candidates and will hear back from two thirds of them. They then can do a phone screen and take 5 of the candidates to interview. The administrative process is shortened significantly they still get the talent and get paid by the client.
The take-away here is you still need a great resume plus you need a great LinkedIn profile.
Staying Positive & Focused During Your Job Search
Even the most resilient job seeker can find the emotional journey of job seeking a tiring and testing battle.
To show up every day and put yourself, your resume, and your LinkedIn profile out in the marketplace for job opportunities is taxing, particularly now with so few jobs at the professional and executive level. There is the continual rejection with smatterings of hope as you get called in for interviews.
Certainly, keep up the activity as it is essential, however be mindful of how and where you dedicate your time.
Below are some suggestions for how to spend your time that will help you get that next job.
Get to know a lot of recruiters – recruiters are busy people however they are also there to help you. Get to know a lot of them (12+) and build solid relationships. Keep in touch. They do want you to keep in touch as they need you. Even if it takes them awhile to get back to you.
Spend less time applying online – while it seems easy in theory to apply online, unless you fit the job brief 100%, don’t bother applying. Each day you spend applying for a job ad is often a waste of a day. Also, don’t apply for jobs your overqualified for they will never consider your application.
Networking matters – while you don’t want to hear it, now is the time to be networking and building up your networks for the future. Companies are hiring directly – if they are hiring and a great way to get in is through referrals be it for contract or permanent roles. Leverage your work colleagues, former bosses, university alumni contacts and more. You need to be out there creating networks and in turn opportunities for yourself.
Look after your mental & physical wellbeing – it is hard work job seeking and the days can blend into weeks when applying online for job ads. Don’t. Make sure you have a routine each day that involves your job search, exercise, catching up with others, networking, researching, hobbies, study, volunteer etc. You want to be in a positive state of mind when you get called for interviews and present your best self!
Have a support group – it is tough togo it alone in thismarket. Be sure to ask for help, speak with family and friends about how they can support you. Meet up with others you know job searching and help one another. Go along to networking events, seminars, presentations etc. If you need further support engage a counsellor or career coach.
You will get a great job or contract however it is less likely to happen if you spend 80% of your time applying for online job ads. The market has changed and how companies source talent has shifted significantly. Be sure to approach it strategically and give yourself the best chance of success.
Most importantly remember, how long it takes you to get your next job is not a reflection of how employable you are.
Complimentary Live Workshop
- Keen to learn more about how you can improve your job search odds?