Job hunters advised to know challenges of current market


If you haven’t job hunted in the last seven to 15 years, you’ll find a more intricate, demanding market. You’ll confront changes in recruiting and personal branding and the proliferation of niches, which makes targeting essential.

Industrial and organizational psychologist Joe Ungemah, based in Minneapolis, is vice president and head of the leadership practice at The Corporate Executive Board Co. He’s noted substantial changes in recruiting and believes that the seemingly “open” job market makes it possible to get in contact with anyone.

“More networks are available to us,” he says, “but who’s winning, the (supposed) open job market? LinkedIn and social networking are creating a more exclusive job market.”

A case in point is HourlyNerd Inc., a Boston finance and strategy consulting business. CEO Rob Biederman describes it as one of the “affordable and convenient online labor marketplaces disrupting industries from graphic design to precision engineering to law.” It’s one of a group of marketplaces for high performers with certain skills, objectives and even lifestyle requirements.

What’s your niche? You’ll match it with an organization more easily if you know.

Ungemah says employers, who are niche-oriented in their recruiting, are using many more, sophisticated targeted assessment tools.

Perhaps, Ungemah reasons, employers might also not trust their own judgment as well as they did when you job hunted in the past.

Michelle Tompkins of New York City was scouring midlevel to executive positions after more than seven years at her previous company. She found “logic tests for positions not involving math or computer science” a frustrating exercise, as well as “free” sites that, after resume submission, penalize failure to upgrade with a membership fee by emailing a rejection note. She also discovered that the number of interviews had been jumping from as few as three to close to seven.

But she prevailed in May, landing a job as a media manager.

Personal branding online has created a challenge for job seekers who haven’t marketed themselves lately, says Saverio Mancina, a New York City-based marketing and communications solopreneur.

“To get the job,” he says, “look the part online. Be mindful not only of what is posted but be strategic.”

Make certain in advance, he cautions, that you’re comfortable in your own skin.

“Frame your personal life in a manner that complements your professional life and vice versa,” he says.

This practice can present problems for current job seekers accustomed to separating the two sides of their lives.

A personal photo may be another problematic element of branding if you job hunted when photos belonged in portfolios only for actors and models or if you’re no longer in your 30s. Ann Pierce, CEO of PhotoFeeler Inc. in Boulder, Colo., says a photo appropriate to your personal brand should appear online.

“If you want the job,” she comments, “you have to look the part. The viewer connects with this instantly and only then will give your credentials the weight they deserve.” Of course, photos, which may personalize you, also open the door to discrimination.

To win in the current marketplace, you’ll have to adjust, at least temporarily, to developments in recruiting and personal branding. Make your target as sharp as it can be to meet the employer who’s doing the same.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at culp@workwise.net. © 2014 Passage Media.

 

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