Looking for a job is never a simple task, especially if you’ve been out of the game for a while. You may be surprised at how much the job-seeking landscape can change in a short period. Job seeking tips and techniques that were once fruitful may have fallen out of favor, while new methods of hiring and recruiting have replaced them. The strategies in this article will give you a sharper competitive edge in 2019.

What to Expect Job Hunting in 2019

As technology advances and we communicate with each other in more different ways, we will continue to see significant differences in what you should expect during a job search. Being aware of and following these seven trends will better position you to stand out from the competition.

1. The Death of the One-Page Resume

The one-pager has been the standard resume format for longer than many people care to remember. Yet one of the best job seeking tips of 2019 may be to forget that advice. The more experience you have, the more impractical the one-page resume becomes. In a tightening job market, companies want to know more about your skills and experience before they reach out to you.

To properly highlight your accomplishments, it may be necessary to allow your resume to spill over to a second page.

2. Applicant Tracking Systems

One of the factors helping to eliminate the one-page resume rule is the growing popularity of applicant tracking systems (ATS). Nearly every mid-to-large-sized business uses an ATS to create a database of potential candidates, and these systems are increasingly used to process resumes before a recruiter ever sees them.

These systems generally use keywords to separate out resumes for further inspections. Naturally, keywords will vary from position to position even within the same field or industry. Doing a bit of research on the most in-demand skills for your field will reveal a variety of keywords you can use to make your resume more visible to applicant tracking systems.

3. A More Rigorous Interview Process

Employers have more options than ever for finding out more about your personality and skills. It’s becoming increasingly common for them to administer personality tests. The company behind the ubiquitous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator claims that more than 88% of Fortune 500 companies use its personality test.

You may have to prove your competence with a simulated work assignment or participate in video interviews with multiple people. Employers are increasingly interested in making sure you are a cultural fit in addition to being qualified, so the interview process is becoming longer overall.

4. Slowly Growing Salaries

Wage growth has been painfully stagnant for the better part of a decade, but 2019 promises to be a record year. After many years of pay increases hovering below 3% on average, salaries are expected to rise by about 3.4% over 2018.

If you haven’t done recent research on the pay in your location, field and position, now is the time to determine your worth.

5. Renewed Emphasis on Social Media

There’s just no escaping it — social media has become an integral part of the job search. LinkedIn continues to be a primary hub of job posts, but employers are realizing that people who are already employed don’t check it regularly. As a result, more employers are branching out to other social media sites. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing your Facebook or Instagram feed featuring advertisements for jobs.

6. The Rise of Remote Work

Many job seekers don’t look outside a certain radius from where they live. However, sometimes the right job for you might be clear across the country. As communications and collaboration technology allow us to stay in touch and work seamlessly together even when far apart, remote work is becoming a more legitimate option than ever before.

The perks of remote work are so widely sought-after that 70% of people in the world already do remote work at least once a week. Expect to see more full and partially remote jobs across the board.

7. Increasing Need for a Digital Footprint

As employers become more concerned with the person behind the skills, you can expect a need for greater engagement from companies looking to hire. At this point, you can’t get by without having a LinkedIn profile or portfolio website. Revamp your profiles and websites to present employers with a compelling case of why you’re the best fit possible.

Keeping Your Job Search Efficient

One of the toughest aspects of getting back into the job search is simply combing through the huge number of opportunities available. Just like employers look to find the best candidate, you’re looking for a job that will be uniquely suited to you. These five online job search tips will help you cut through the noise and be as efficient as possible when looking for a new job.

1. Invest More Time in Your Resume

Being told to spend more time on something to increase your overall efficiency may sound counter-intuitive, but your resume is often your one chance to make an impression. Spend some time adapting your resume so that it is based on your achievements, rather than regurgitating your job titles.

Recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning resumes before they make a decision. When you only have this short window to impress, it’s worth spending extra time on the front end to make your resume as clear and polished as possible.

2. Create More Than One Resume

Think of the four or five most appealing positions to you. How are they similar and how are they different? What skills and achievements are transferrable between those positions and which ones aren’t? Upon examining your range of desired jobs, it will become clear that you need to tailor your resume based on the position to which you’re applying.

Rather than creating a bespoke resume each time or trying to patch together a Frankenstein resume from previous iterations, put some time into creating a set of resumes for a small range of potential positions.

3. Create a Career Checklist

Hopefully, you’re leaving your job for reasons other than abject unhappiness, and you can afford to shop around a little for a job that ticks all your boxes. However, that’s a lot easier when you know exactly what you want from your career.

Make a list of your top five desires and don’t waste your time submitting resumes for positions that don’t check at least three items off the list. This is one of the fastest ways to screen out jobs that may not be right for you.

4. Develop a Routine

If you’ve been on the hunt for a new job for a while now, it’s easy to get into a rut. To avoid this unpleasant feeling, try to develop a routine instead of scrolling through job boards until your eyes start closing. Pick a set window in which to perform your searches, and put a cap on the time you spend tweaking your cover letter. When possible, give yourself a small reward afterward.

You’d be surprised how much burnout can affect the efficiency of your job search. Structuring your search is one of the most underrated job search tips for job seekers.

5. Read Descriptions Carefully

When you barely pause to scan a job description, then fire off a resume and cover letter, you’re wasting everyone’s time. If you get a call from a recruiter for a job whose description you didn’t thoroughly read, you’re going to have an awkward conversation at best. Taking the time to read the full text of a job description can reveal unexpected perks or turn up deal-breakers. You won’t know if you don’t read.

The Importance of Networking

Networking is nothing new. In fact, it’s been the foundation of successful job-seeking for the majority of recorded history. That doesn’t mean, however, that networking looks the same now as it has across history. Modernizing your networking practices is one of the best job search strategy tips, and here’s how to do it.

1. Identify Your Networking Style

If you’re the outgoing type, there are few strategies more effective than attending networking events and harnessing your gregarious personality to snap up new additions to your network. But if you’re more on the introverted side, in-person networking may sometimes require more effort and awkwardness than it’s worth. Knowing your networking style is the first step in choosing the best opportunities for your job search.

2. Join Employer Communities

If you have a certain company in your sights, check to see if they have a career community. Look on their website’s career page to see if they have a Facebook group or portal you can use to interact with the company.

These communities can give you valuable insight into the culture of the company, as well as equip you with information you can use to make your resume shine.

3. Find Someone to Refer You to the Job

Here’s one of the most useful networking tips for job seekers — find a referral. While many companies will list at least some of their open jobs online, many desirable positions never get posted because they are filled through an internal reference. Even if the job is posted publicly, having a reference at the company may help jet your resume to the top of the stack.

Start by asking people you know if there are openings at their company. You might unearth opportunities you didn’t know existed. If they can’t help you out there, ask if they would be willing to introduce you to someone in their network as a means of growing your own and increasing your chances of being referred to a position you want.

4. Use Social Media

Social media like LinkedIn is an excellent tool for those who know they need to network but don’t have the time or desire to do it in person. If you’ve met someone in passing, it’s usually acceptable to add them to your digital network and request information about their company or their position. Sometimes even complete strangers will interact with you if you’re in the same industry, went to the same college or share some other common trait.

5. Focus on Relationships

One thing that gets people in trouble with networking — whether in person or online — is a tendency to be too pushy. Rather than meeting someone, shaking hands and immediately asking after any open positions in their company, find out more about them and what they do. Networking is about building relationships, so take it slow and don’t try to manufacture personal connections.

How a Staffing Agency Can Help

One exceedingly valuable resource you may not have considered is working with a job staffing agency. A lot of people associate staffing agencies with low-level temp jobs and assume those jobs never come with benefits. However, that prevalent misperception may be stopping you from landing a job you love.

Staffing agencies work by charging companies for the service of finding the best employees out there. As a job seeker, you’ll be able to look through an internal list of jobs at the agency. You may also be able to provide them with your resume and potentially a cover letter and have them contact you when they find a suitable position. There are three main categories of jobs offered by staffing agencies:

  • Contract: Contract positions are generally temporary, with a fixed length of time you will work for a company. You could be working with a company for a couple of weeks up to a few years, and anywhere in between.
  • Right to hire: Companies looking for a right to hire are looking for an employee to go the temp-to-hire route. This allows you and the company to decide whether a permanent arrangement will benefit both parties.
  • Direct placement: These positions start out permanent and stay that way, as you are hired directly by a company rather than paid by the agency. In these cases, the agency acts more like a traditional recruiter.

As you can see, you have options when working with a staffing agency.

Benefits of Staff Agencies for Job Seekers

The advantages of choosing a staffing agency to aid in your job search are many. Here are seven ways an agency can work to your advantage.

1. It’s Free

You might assume that since agencies are helping you out with the job search process, you have to pay for that assistance. Not true. Companies are the agency’s client, as they are paying to find the best talent. That means that at any reputable agency, you will never have to pay to be considered for an open position.

2. You Can Search as Much or as Little as You Like

The actual process of searching hundreds or thousands of open jobs to find the one that’s right for you is undeniably tedious. Staffing agencies take that work off your plate, allowing you to be flexible in how much you actually search. If you want to go totally hands-off, you can leave it up to the agency’s expert judgment and have them come to you when there’s a suitable position. This can be a lifesaver when you’re feeling under the weather or are just tired of scrolling endlessly.

If you want to remain more in control of your search and decide to widen your parameters or just want to investigate other options, you can search the agency’s internal job boards to your heart’s content.

3. You Get Variety

Specialized staffing agencies exist to court employees in every imaginable industry. Their specialization makes it more likely that they can uncover more interesting jobs that don’t make it to public listings.

There is also variety within the types of jobs you can get. For example, if you’re searching for a permanent full-time job, you may want to pick up a shorter contract while the agency finds the right full-time position for you. That way, you could ensure your bills are paid and gain valuable experience, all while the staffing agency does the work of finding a permanent position for you.

4. You Can Get Benefits

Of all the myths surrounding staffing agencies, the idea that they never offer benefits is one of the most harmful. Many agencies provide employees with benefits after a certain amount of time. Benefits will vary, but it’s entirely possible to land an arrangement that will provide you with health care, dental and a retirement plan. Some agencies even offer tuition reimbursement.

When you’re investigating a relationship with a staffing agency, be sure you understand their benefits plans and how to become eligible.

5. You Get Support

The thing to remember about staffing agencies is they want you to be the best you can be. They want to be able to place you, and they will often provide support that improves your marketability. You might receive feedback from them during your application process that will serve you well when trying to get the job.

They might suggest you make changes to your resume or provide a list of strategies to make your interviews more successful.

6. You Get Contacts

Working temporary jobs through a staffing agency is an excellent opportunity to build out your network. Even if you’re only at a job for a couple of weeks, you can make at least one or two contacts in the time you’re there. Even if the company you temp for isn’t looking to hire you permanently, you still get to keep all the contacts you make. A robust network can take you places you never expected.

7. You Can Explore Different Environments

One common roadblock in finding a dream job is not having been exposed to different jobs and industries in a variety of environments. How can you know what job is right for you if you’ve never experienced it before? You may start out using technology staffing services to land a job as a customer-facing IT consultant only to find that you don’t actually like customer services. Or, you might take a job where you find that the contentious open plan office is really not for you.

In these cases, working with IT staffing companies will expose you to a range of environments that will help focus and clarify the direction of your job search.

Manage Your Job Search With the Computer Merchant

Searching for jobs on your own is a tedious and sometimes overwhelming process, even when you do everything right. IT is an especially competitive field, and even the best IT job search tips may not be enough to put you over the top.

The Computer Merchant (TCM) is one of the nation’s leading tech staffing agencies, formed with the goal of uniting IT job seekers with their ideal positions. Our recruitment process is designed to make hiring a win-win for you and the company you’ll be working for. Whether you’re looking for ongoing contract work or want to settle into a permanent job, we’re dedicated to helping you get there.

TCM is proud to be a certified veteran-owned business as well as an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. If you’re interested in what IT staffing services can do for you, call TCM today at (800) 617-6172 or view our current job openings online. You can search by state, job category and type or duration, making it easier than ever to zero in on the best job for you.