Having covered the ups and downs of our economy and six Presidential elections during her career as both a reporter and a host, Farai Chideya specializes in simplifying complex issues and finding out how they relate to our daily lives. She tackles the future of work in America through stories and stats in her new book The Episodic Career: How To Thrive At Work In The Age Of Disruption, out now from sister company Simon & Schuster and available wherever books are sold.
Searching for a job used to be pretty straightforward, but because of technology, things have changed drastically. You can have the prettiest resume in the world and not get anywhere with it in today's job landscape. Here's how to beat the resume trap, get in the door, and continue on your way to a new job.
One good option for job seekers is to go to local businesses and offer a resume in person, unsolicited. Of course, they may turn you away. But in many cases, going in with a simple request may allow you to be in line for consideration before a job is even listed. You'd be surprised what doors this can open. It has a higher success rate than an online job search alone.
Who You Know Is As Important As What You Know
Your skills are still what will make you succeed at work. But they aren't necessarily what will get you an interview. There's a lot of research showing that "weak ties" – that is, the people who you only know casually – are the ones most likely to find you new job opportunities. People who you don't know well may know of opportunities you haven't even thought about.
Related: How To Max Out Your Social Security
An executive in New York got laid off during her maternity leave. That's illegal, and she got a settlement, but she was still out of a job. So she found a group of other laid-off managers willing to have a weekly support group. They met in a coffee shop once a week; helped each other find job leads; and kept each other from getting depressed. You don't always need to hire a career coach. You may be able to get great inspiration from joining forces with others.
When It Comes To The Resume, Format Yours The Right Way
Don't get me wrong: resumes still count. Every type of work has different protocols for what a good resume looks like. Do your homework and find out what is typical in your field. One thing I've seen more and more often is a list of skills at the top, followed by jobs and educational achievements. Being sure that you have references listed on your resume saves the employer the question of asking: is this person reliable? All of these approaches may move your paper or digital resume to the top.
Former philosophy graduate student, Reid Hoffman, decided to re-train in the world of technology. Now a billionaire, he runs LinkedIn online learning platform skills training for workers. Sites like LinkedIn provide instructional tutorials on how to get the most from them, including in-person and online trainings. It's worth the time to get your digital presence right. (And don't forget to include a great, friendly, crisp, not-too-casual or -cheesy photo!)
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