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Looking for a new job? Do more than just scrolling through online sites

When many people look for a new job, they go online to job portals. If that sounds like you, know that the way individuals find jobs and how employers end up finding candidates has changed, so you will need to broaden your search strategy to get a new role.

When many people look for a new job, they go online to job portals.

If that sounds like you, know that the way individuals find jobs and how employers end up finding candidates has changed, so you will need to broaden your search strategy to get a new role.

STARTING THE JOB SEARCH

The start to a successful job search has not changed much for quite some time. 

The first step should be to decide what you are looking for, whether it is a promotion or professional development or flexibility or something else.

Then, develop an organised job search strategy, recruitment firm Robert Half suggests.

You will need to commit time to understanding the market and finding the right job, even if your existing role keeps you busy.

You will also need to be “CV-ready”. Make sure that you have your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) and a cover letter polished and ready to go.

Be selective in the skills you list and, when you apply for a specific role, consider tailoring your CV so that you list the key skills that match what the job requires. Make sure your profile on social networking platform LinkedIn is up to date, too.

Once you are ready, the next step for many people is to start looking for roles on portals such as JobStreet, JobsDB or Monster.

There are plenty of jobs listed online, and you can do searches or set alerts that are specific to the types of positions you want.

While many people assume that most jobs are posted online, the National University of Singapore’s career office points out that only 20 to 30 per cent of available jobs are posted on portals.

Robert Half similarly notes that companies fill many jobs without even advertising for candidates.

To find a new job, then, you will need a multi-pronged approach that focuses more on networking and a strong LinkedIn profile rather than just combing through websites.

BUILDING NETWORKS

Indeed, many people find a new job through networking. A LinkedIn survey showed that nearly 50 per cent of professionals in Singapore attribute finding their job to networking, for example, and some human resource professionals put the figure above 70 per cent.   

Given that so many jobs are not advertised and so many people use networking to find their role, using or developing a network to tap the hidden job market and find the right role is essential.

“The importance of networking can’t be overstated,” says recruitment firm Hudson, as “it’s one of the best ways to find out about job opportunities”. 

Networking is all about making contacts and building relationships.

Done right, it can help you obtain leads, referrals, advice, information and support, job search site Monster says.

It suggests developing a 10-second “elevator pitch” as well as a 10-minute “informational interview” pitch that you can quickly use to tell others about your background.

Along with asking friends and acquaintances or industry contacts about people to meet, become an active member of professional associations and tap your schools’ alumni networks.

Be sure to reach out within your current company to senior executives, too, so that you are visible to them when roles become available.

When you meet a new contact, it is far preferable to have a friendly conversation or informational interview rather than intimidating them by asking for a job.

And along with asking for information about where they see opportunities, build a relationship by offering your own insights and skills so that it is a reciprocal relationship where you offer value as well. 

Once you do make connections, maintain them. Recruitment firm Hudson observed: “Staying in touch might seem like an obvious suggestion, but it’s surprising how many people will make a connection and then put no effort into maintaining it - until they need something.”

Keep in touch on a regular basis and help out whenever you can. Through your network, you can find out about roles and apply for them or even be introduced as a preferred candidate.

USE LINKEDIN MORE EFFECTIVELY

While networking and job portals are important, LinkedIn has become a key tool for companies to find candidates.

Indeed, Professor Peter Cappelli from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School found that a growing number of companies use “recruitment process outsourcers” to scour LinkedIn and social media to find potential candidates. Moreover, recruitment firm BGC found that 87 per cent of recruiters see LinkedIn as an effective tool to help vet candidates during the hiring process.

It is essential, then, to make your profile on LinkedIn stand out. Recruitment adviser ResumeGo found that applicants with comprehensive LinkedIn profiles had a 13.5 per cent call-back rate, compared to a 7.2 per cent call-back rate for applicants with “bare bones” LinkedIn profiles.

To show off your skills, make sure your profile is complete and positive, including both career and volunteering details. Consider going beyond a traditional CV, too, as recruitment firm Hays says that a key trend now is for candidates to use multimedia techniques such as videos.

To help you stand out to potential employers, LinkedIn suggests that you validate your skills with its Skill Assessments feature. It consists of short, multiple-choice tests that users may take to test their knowledge in computer languages, software packages and other work-related skills, for example.

By using a broader range of tools than just a search on job portals, you are far more likely to identify new opportunities. After that, apply for the role and go through the interviews or assessments the company wants on your way to a new job.

Related topics

job online employers job seekers job search job portals LinkedIn social networking

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