Looking for a New Job in the New Year? Exploring How the Job Search Has Changed



By Randy Wooden

Whether you’ve found yourself laid off after many years with your previous employer or perhaps are retired and thinking of reentering the workforce, landing a job in today’s economy isn’t what it was a few years ago.

Let’s explore some of the ways job searching has changed over the years and how you can embrace these changes to gain an edge in this competitive environment.

Technology has changed our lives in ways we’d never imagined as a child. From microwaves to cell phones to computers, technology has profoundly impacted us. However, learning to harness the technology can be a challenge for many. Rather than making life “easier,” it’s had the opposite effect in many cases, particularly when it comes to using technology as a part of the job search.

The days of walking into a company, filling out an application, and shaking hands with the Human Resources (HR) person are gone. When was the last time you received a postcard in the mail to acknowledge your resumé submission?

Technology has changed how we learn of jobs, how we apply for them, how we network with others, and even how we interview for jobs.

As a seasoned worker, you possess a wealth of experience, yet if you can’t use the tools available in today’s job market, you’ll likely find yourself being passed by.

LinkedIn is today’s chief business networking social medium. My Goodwill Professional Center offers free workshops to ensure you’re comfortable with not only how to build an effective profile, but also how to use the search functions to identify targets … and how to engage with them in a professional and appropriate manner.

We’ve likely all heard that networking is how we get our foot in the door. It’s as much “who you know” as “what you know.” I’d suggest that networking is even MORE important than it was a generation ago. Here’s why: Back in the day, companies received a much smaller number of resumés. After all, jobs were advertised in the newspaper and it was expensive, so the number of candidates was smaller.

Today, with so many jobs posted online, anybody with a computer can apply for a job, whether they’re qualified or not. The result has been HR departments building walls to manage their incoming resumé tsunami. And since most people now know to network, you’re competing not only with more savvy networkers, but also with a much larger applicant pool.

Grow your network by reaching out to those who know you, whether they’re former co-workers, business associates, fellow professional/civic/religious group members, neighbors, etc.

My Center has a number of free videos – with no sign-up or password required – to assist you. Visit www.GoodwillProfessionalCenter.org and click on the “Baby Boomers” link. You’ll be taken to over 50 short and topic-specific videos. There are a handful of videos on networking. I hope you’ll find them of value in your search.

In future articles I’ll share some tips on resumé development, dealing with age discrimination, and a host of other job search topics. If you have questions or could use help with your job search, all Goodwill of Northwest NC services are free. A good first step would be to email me so I can steer you to the appropriate Goodwill program(s). Good luck!

Randy Wooden is a long-time Triad career consultant and Director of Goodwill Industries of Northwest N.C.’s Professional Center. Reach him at rwooden@nullgoodwillnwnc.org or at (336) 464-0516.


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