Recently I was honored to be asked by fellow career and resume specialists Miriam Salpeter and Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter to join a community of career bloggers called "Career Collective". Their brainchild came from their desire to build a strong collective of career expert voices and a sustainable community of career expert bloggers. So once a month I'll be writing about a topic selected by the Career Collective here on my blog.
This month's topic is related to taking a "cookie-cutter" approach to the job search. (For those of you not familiar with that expression, it essentially means taking a standard, traditional, one-size-fits-all approach to the job search.)
There are numerous trends that one has to consider when thinking about how to approach the job search in today's job market. Here are a few of note:
- Recent studies have indicated that the average stay of an upper-level manager or executive at a company is 2.3 years.
- One recent survey indicated that 45% of recruiters and hiring managers use the information they find online in their hiring decisions.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the top in-demand jobs for 2010 in the U.S. did not even exist in 2004.
Of course, the relevancy of these statistics can vary across industries and across cultures. But no one can argue with the fact that the times, they are changing.
What does this mean?
- Long-term job security is a thing of the past - expecting that you will only have to conduct a job search a handful of times over your career is going to leave you ill-prepared to thrive in the new world of work.
- Whether you like it or not, your online presence will affect how recruiters & hiring managers think about you as a potential candidate for a job. What shows up in the search results when someone googles your name will affect the strength of your application for any job to you might apply.
- Market needs are constantly changing - believing that a series of job titles on your resume or CV is going to be enough to communicate how you can help a company solve it problems will leave you ill-equipped to compete in today's market. Being clear about your personal brand and being able to powerfully communicate how your qualities, skills and accomplishments are relevant to a particular company's needs is no longer optional if you want to be taken seriously by employers.
Bottom line: The 20th century approach to the job search - "all I really need is a strong general resume or CV, a few good connections, some recruiters working for me, applying to some jobs online and the right interview answers - eventually, I'll get a job" - just doesn't cut it anymore.
And if you are an expatriate, or someone looking to pursue a job in another country, it would be deadly to assume that there is a one-size-fits-all approach to the job search. Not only must you be aware of the how to run a job search in a particular country, but you must be sure that your application materials and message of value is culturally relevant as well.
One of the most important messages I can give to any job seeker - no matter where they live or where they are looking for a job - given shorter job life cycles - you are ALWAYS at some point in your job search process.
For this reason, we need to think about ongoing career management versus periodic career development.
Those people who recently lost their jobs due to cutbacks across the globe are prime examples of this. Those that had clear long-term goals, had been taking action on an ongoing basis to build their network and regularly demonstrate their unique value by being of service to their network were much better positioned - many were able to find new jobs. Those that had not thought about their careers at all since their last job search were left struggling in an incredibly competitive job market.
Here is a short video where I am featured on CNNMoney.com which further reinforces this point:YOUR EXPAT SUCCESS TIP: Consider how past approaches to your job search would fare in light of the statistics mentioned in this blog post which only begin to define today's new world of work. Do you have clear career goals that you are working towards - both on- and offline - on a regular or even daily basis? If not, take your first step towards managing your career in today's world of work by clarifying your career and lifestyle goals. Then begin to research how and in what country those goals could be realized.
Here's what other "Career Collective" career experts had to say on the subject of taking a "cookie cutter" approach to the job search:
Top Margin: Gayle's Blog Sabotaging Your Prospects: Cookie-cutter Style
CAREEREALISM: Cookie Cutters are for Baking...Not Job Searching!
Sterling Career Concepts: Job seekers: Break out of the mold!
Dawn Bugni, The Write Solution: Is your job search "cookie-cutter" or "hand-dropped"?
Rosa Vargas, Creating Prints Resume-Writing Blog: Being a Cookie-Cutter Job Seeker is a Misfortune
Heather Mundell, life@work: How Not to Be a Cookie Cutter Job Seeker
Sweet Careers: Passive Job Seeker=Cookie Cutter Job Seeker
Barbara Safani, Career Solvers Blog: Cookie Cutter Resumes Can Leave a Bad Taste in the Hiring Manager's Mouth
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Career Trend Blog: Eating Bananas Doesn't Make You an Ape
Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers: How Can a Job Seeker Stand Out?
Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog: Avoiding Being a Cookie-Cutter Job-seeker In Your Resume and Throughout Your Job Search
Heather R. Huhman, HeatherHuhman.com: Break the Mold: Don't Be a Cookie Cutter