In one of our previous articles, we talked about the trend of job-hopping—and because there are now more choices than ever on both sides, it’s a new normal to spend only a few years in one position before moving elsewhere.
But with the mobility that comes from choosing your employer, your employer also has many, many more candidates to choose from. If you don’t need your organization, it probably doesn’t need you either.
There are two equal and opposite errors we can fall into. The first is to stick with our current employers no matter what, believing “things will turn around” or that our loyalty will be rewarded if we stay around despite a toxic working culture. The second is to waste months and years drifting from employer to employer, without a plan for our development.
Find out how to increase your chances of getting the job that you want with the below 4 pointers!
“A person who is referred to a recruiter from a trusted source is 20X more likely to be considered than someone who responded to a job posting,” explains Lou Adler of Performance-Based Hiring. “Most often candidates are found through a company’s employee referral program and their information is often received before the posting goes live. Even if a job is posted, those who are referred are put at the top of the resume stack.”
Networking and getting people to refer you to their supervisors is the crucial part, because answering a job ad is one of the worst ways of securing any position at all, let alone the ones you want. “While a few people will get hired by responding to a job posting, it’s the least effective and the least personal way to get a job!” Adler writes. “The likelihood that someone who sent a resume to us who was a perfect fit for a job we were trying to fill at the time was unlikely.”
2. Use the right keywords in your resume
In a large corporation, it’s very unlikely a human being will ever see a resume that’s sent in response to a job ad. Instead, resumes are ‘read’ by “software that ranks [them] according to specific keywords that you have or haven’t used,” as Men’s Health quotes Dan Goodman, president of About Jobs—a company that provides resume-writing services.
In other words, relationship and ability to impress has been replaced with gaming the system, and playing to the preferences of a computer that neither knows nor cares about you.
I’m not for one moment saying a good resume doesn’t help—in fact, it’s a key part of the process. But only a part.
3. Maintain positive relationships with at least one manager from your two recent jobs
Here’s something that many of us forget; most companies include a referral section in the job application form. Typically, the fields include Name, Title, Company and Contact Number.
In order to put any of these contacts into the form, you’d have to first get their consent to do so, and let’s face it, not everyone has a great relationship with their bosses. So why not someone else who also works closely with you, and knows all the hard work you put into your job?
This person could even be someone from a different department. If you were a marketing executive in the hospitality industry, a relevant and suitable person could be the Revenue Manager. After all, when the RM needs something urgent done, you are the one who sees to it, not your boss.
If we were to put this into a scoring card, the higher the position in the title, the better the score, obviously. If your referrer was an executive, you’d probably score lower against someone who has a Director for a referrer. Similarly, if you previously came from companies like Ogilvy & Mather, versus ABC Advertising, the immediate first impression is a hell of a difference.
4. Use LinkedIn
When LinkedIn first came about, early adopters weren’t sure how it was different from Facebook except that it was ‘for professional use’ to display your competencies at work. If you take a quick survey with the 20-year-olds of today, they’d probably not know it either.
It’s a lot more than just an online resume—it’s an incredible means of getting in touch with people and learning more than you thought possible. Used well, in its intended role as a networking tool, LinkedIn is hard to beat.
There are countless head hunters that have resorted to LinkedIn to look for candidates too. What’s different about LinkedIn from the usual resume is that your contacts can ‘endorse’ the skills that you claim to have. To add, your connections can write recommendations for you as well. Gone are the days when you had to print out recommendation letters and give it to the next hiring manager. Now, you leave them displayed on your page, and get head hunted.
In the next article, we’ll be sharing how to get the information and connections you need to wow your future employers… and more importantly, the people who’ll get you closer and closer to the work you were made to do.
Don’t drift aimlessly, or stubbornly stay in a place that’s not right for you. Your job is a key part of your future, so seek it out on your terms—not someone else’s.
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Zhengping Lu is a Programs Executive at Eagles Communications, a non-profit that helps emerging young leaders and public speakers reach their fullest potential, and serve with honour and integrity.
 Lou Adler, “Why Responding to a Job Posting is a Waste of Time,” LinkedIn, 25 July 2014, at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140725005005-15454-why-posting-your-resume-is-the-least-effective-way-to-get-a-job.
 “Resume Expert Reveals Secret To Getting A Job Interview,” Men’s Health, 11 January 2016, at http://www.menshealth.com.sg/guy-wisdom/resume-secrets.