The U.S. economy added 2 million new jobs in 2017, resulting in competition for talent and abounding opportunities. Now is a fantastic time to put your plans for a new job or career in to high gear. To help you succeed, here are five 2018 job search trends you need to know now:
1) Hot & Heavy: LinkedIn
With 467 million active users worldwide, LinkedIn likely will remain the queen of professional social networks in 2018.
LinkedIn’s job section has come a long way quickly. It’s robust, simple to navigate and allows users to apply for positions directly on the site. Members can sign up for daily job alerts that are filtered to their liking, and its publishing capabilities and groups allow for accelerated networking when used strategically. Hiring managers and headhunters often begin their search on LinkedIn when they have new roles to fill, and they identify potential candidates through keywords relevant to job requirements.
As such, LinkedIn is the place to be in 2018, and you should spend some time asking yourself the following questions to ensure your presence is as palatable as possible, even if you’re not actively seeking a new role now:
Your profile photo: Is your face easy to see or is it a full body shot of you at a party standing next to your friend whose left shoulder partially remains in the clumsily cropped photo? Does your photo help convey your brand? Is the lighting good? Does it capture the warmth and vitality of your personality? Are you dressed professionally? Is your hair doing you any favors?
Your background: Is it one of the standard graphics LinkedIn provides lazy users or is it a photo that looks good with your profile photo and adds value to your story?
Your Headline: Like in newspapers and newsfeeds, people may not read past your headline, so it needs to be a good one. Is your headline merely your current job title aka Dullsville City, or does it stand out, feature essential keywords and capture your special value or strengths? For example, rather than simply saying “Career Coach,” mine reads, “Mindful Career Coach Helping Purposeful Professionals Identify, Prepare For, Land And Thrive In Work They Love,” so readers know who I serve and how.
Your Summary Statement: Of all LinkedIn features, this section persists in being the most under-tapped because many users don’t use the 2000 characters we’re given to tell their story, describe what they do best, why they do it and how they’ve proven to add value doing it. Are you using this space to its full advantage? Are you including a way to reach you at the end? Does it make you stand out and draw readers to you?
2) Cool & Consistent: Your Digital Footprint
Visiting applicants’ social media accounts has been common practice for some time. In fact, a recent CareerBuilder survey shows that 70 percent of employers screen candidates via social media before hiring them.
The emphasis on these checks has been two-fold: 1) To see what type of judgment applicants use regarding the words and photos they post (Angry rants and raves? Excessive drinking? Swearing? Overly zany weekend antics?) and 2) To see what potential candidates are adding to the conversation when it comes to demonstrating knowledge and contributing insights about their given industry (How are they supporting or enhancing their qualifications for the job?).
In 2018, expect such reviews of candidates’ digital footprints to continue, along with a crosscheck of your LinkedIn profile against your resume. While LinkedIn shouldn’t be a cut and paste of your resume, be sure the details are consistent (dates worked, job title, key accomplishments) because if they’re not, you may seem shifty or careless.
The CareerBuilder survey also showed that 54 percent of employers have decided not to hire a candidate after checking out their social media profiles (yikes) and 57 percent are less likely to consider someone for an interview if they have no online presence. Therefore, set aside some time to review your social media accounts and map out a modest plan as to how you realistically will use the platforms to your advantage.
3) Proofed & Professional: Your Resume
In past roles I’ve reviewed more than 200 resumes for one opening, and unfortunately 99 percent of the time resumes with typos hit the recycling bin. In a recent poll, 58 percent of hiring managers pointed to typos as the biggest resume problem, followed by too generic a resume (36 percent) and a lack of featured skills (35 percent).
The result? More and more job seekers are hiring professionals to help them produce a cutting-edge, compelling and mistake-free resume. At the very least, learn what’s on trend in resume world and find friends with keen eyes and ask them to review your resume since it’s really tough to proof our own materials.
4) Bold & Branded: You
Developing a distinct, compelling and consistent brand and communicating it widely will be critical to getting ahead in 2018. Your brand clarifies who you are, what you stand for and what you’re great at. We have a brand whether we like it or not and whether or not we’ve done anything to shape it in a pleasing, powerful way. We communicate it constantly, from how we talk and carry ourselves to our elevator pitch, resume, LinkedIn profile, business cards, voicemail message and much more.
Entire books and courses are devoted to personal branding, so it’s not something you can address in a day, but it’s not as complex as it may seem. If you’re not sure what your brand is, look at the elements above and think about what you’re putting out there. If a stranger were to read your resume, hear your voicemail message, have your business card and see your LinkedIn profile photo, do you think they’d get a positive and unified sense of whom you are? Ask friends and family for feedback on what they see your brand to be, and spend time considering how your brand reflects your personal mission and goals.
A trend that is expected to escalate in 2018 is having your own personal website that serves as your home base for your resume, professional portfolio, detailed accomplishments, articles, event photos and interests. It’s a great place to humanize yourself and communicate exactly why you are the ideal candidate.
5) Personable & Compatible: Your Personality
Whether we like it or not, a huuuuge part of the hiring decision comes down to whether or not the interviewer believes you will fit in to the organization. And with a healthy job market, competition is strong and employers can be particular when it comes to personality. You might have tremendous skills and accomplishments, but if you don’t come across as likeable, hard working, eager to learn, trustworthy, or whatever other traits are deemed a fit, fugget about it.
As you conduct research on the companies and organizations that interest you, be sure to include identifying and studying their culture as part of your criteria. Visit their sites, read their Glassdoor reviews and connect with someone who worked for them. Try to understand their personalities and consider how well your own will connect. You’ll enjoy your work a lot more if you find the workplace to be a fit. Just as it is with dating, you and the other party might be wonderful individually and either great together or not the best match.
And In The End …
So, 2018 is an exciting time to be in the job market. Opportunities abound, and I’ve just shared five key, trending ways to differentiate yourself and get noticed. In your eagerness to get out there, don’t forget or grow impatient with the process of making sure you know what you are really about and what you really want. Investing that time prior to putting yourself out there will help you ensure you’re sending the right message and getting noticed by the people and places that matter most to you, your mission and your big goals.
P.S. Take the 3-minute 2018 Career Plans Survey, and be eligible to win a $20 Starbucks gift card!