With unemployment at terribly high levels, the job search has become dramatically different. Knowing what one needs to get the competitive edge over other applicants to receive any initial response from an employer is as challenging as preparing for interviews used to be. In today's tight job market, getting a reply from a potential employer feels like hitting the jackpot. Recruiters, human resource departments, or just about any hiring entity are inundated with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of resumes per day.
Even if employment opportunities were bountiful, the job search dynamics have drastically changed within the past five years. Most employers will not accept phone calls, unannounced visits, or unsolicited emails. Unannounced visits to a business to fill out an application and leave a resume are past history. Help wanted signs, newspaper ads, and job boards are no longer places to perform a job search.
Job fairs are still being held, but hoards of applicants stand in line for hours just to make quick contact with a recruiter. Employer's booths are just becoming information sources for job seekers and drop off points for applications and resumes. With the enormous crowds attending these events, company representatives have no time to make quality judgments as to best fits for positions as the human assembly line quickly passes in front of them for hours.
The complete process of performing the job search has become almost exclusively online. From searching for open positions, applying for jobs, to communicating with prospective employers or staffing agencies, each component of the job search is performed online. The dynamics of the electronic job search change rapidly as well.
There are many ways to find out what opportunities are available through the Internet. There are general job resources such as CareerBuilder or Monster which are replacing the newspaper want ads. These general sites allow one to perform a general job search or to search for very specific variables by allowing applicants to fill out profiles detailing what they are searching for. They also allow employers to search amongst the applicant profiles by letting the site's software comb through millions of resumes using specific keywords to return narrowed down results containing exactly qualified candidates.
It is important when using general sites to be careful of keyword use while filling out profiles, uploading resumes or composing cover letters. For example, if one has a degree in marketing listed on his resume or application, but is not interested in a sales position, anticipate that 'marketing' will probably be a keyword an employer lists in the education field seeking sales directors. If not, the seeker's email inbox with automated responses from employers seeking 'sales directors' with marketing degrees.
There are also web sites specific to industries in which companies exclusively advertise positions to make the most of their job ad budget by targeting a specific group. Dice.com targets IT professionals. If one is looking for a position in software engineering, one should post a profile and resume here and on any other web site targeted to one's career objectives. Many opportunities are overlooked by limiting self-advertising to a few general sites.
Human resource software programs that take potential candidates through the entire process including job search, job descriptions and applicant requirement searches, contact information and work history applications, background checks, and cover letters and resumes submissions are commonplace. Following each step exactly according to the company's process is imperative or one's attempt will be in vain. Either the computer or human recruiter will reject imperfect attempts. With so many qualified applicants, companies will not reach out for missing information, or give lessons on attaching documents.
An active job search should entail using the extensive quantity of places to search, post, and apply without cost. Learning and researching the new rules of the job search are necessary first steps to take on this challenging path.