What to know about Job Search in a Post-COVID World

You’re ready to finally put the entirety of the year 2020 behind you. Now the question you ask yourself is- “What will 2021 look like?

No one was expecting the ramifications of 2020 at the beginning of the year. Any job search plans you had probably would have gone awry as the pandemic set in. It would have been unthinkable to consider the wave of conference calls, balancing school at home, and the basics of how to safely purchase food. We have adapted and evolved to our new way of life by remote team building, conducting virtual interviews, and enrolling in food delivery memberships. You should expect to adapt your job search accordingly, but the question is how.

As a Small Business Owner and an Executive Resume Writer, I automatically gravitate to the source of quantifiable facts. I have been looking forward to the surveys in particular this year and they did not disappoint.

According to Jobvite’s Annual Recruiter Nation Survey Report for 2020, a whopping 80% of all jobs are never advertised. Diving a bit deeper it also reported that 48% of larger companies (500+ employees) and 33% of smaller companies (<500 employees) are more likely to increase their investment in recruiting activities through LinkedIn in the next 12 months. This will translate to increased need for qualified candidates, but also competition due to the way that they recruit. Below I have outlined the key areas to understand about the landscape in order to prepare for your job search in 2021.

Recruiters rely on LinkedIn

As of October 2020, there are 100 million job applications submitted to LinkedIn every month. There are over 30 million companies listed on LinkedIn and over 20 million open jobs on LinkedIn at any given time. The Jobvite survey reports that 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn for their search and 97% will review your LinkedIn profile prior to contacting you for an interview. It also reported that 122 million people received an interview via LinkedIn and over 25 million were hired by a person they were connected with on the site. It is clearly a primary source for recruiters and an essential element to the job search process.

There are many strategies to improve your visibility and ranking on LinkedIn, but one of the key areas is the “About” section, where you get a chance to tell your story. In this section, LinkedIn only provides space for 2,600 characters and they process the content in this section with a unique algorithm. To tell your story, you need to communicate your brand, your career defining achievements, and include the relevant key words for your target position to drive recruiters to your profile.

Online presence matters more than ever

Recruiters are finding new ways to utilize social media for candidate identification including searching across multiple social media platforms for qualified candidates. Respondents to the Jobvite’s survey indicated that they would focus their recruiting investments in the next 12 months in the follow areas – Social Media 46%, LinkedIn 40%, and Job Boards 34%. Instagram usage for search among recruiters increased from 18% in 2017 to 37% in 2020. Consider Facebook, which is not viewed as a traditional job search platform, is being utilized by 60% of recruiters. Hold for the moment of panic as everyone considers what is on their Facebook. Candidates typically try to compartmentalize professional job search with LinkedIn and their social life on Facebook and Instagram, but with the new approach and tools available, the lines are being blurred more than ever. As part of a comprehensive branding review, you should include scrubbing your social media content and evaluating your overall online presence. The survey also reported that recruiters found the highest quality candidates on LinkedIn (67%), Facebook (34%), Glassdoor (24%), Instagram (23%), and Twitter (21%). The LinkedIn figure is not surprising, however the high percentages across the other platforms may be a cause of concern if they have not been addressed.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation consolidates prime candidate information

Whether you realize it or not, Artificial Intelligence may be consolidating your entire online footprint and ranking you against other candidates. Recruiters utilize AI within career sites for job recommendations 34% and candidate matching 32%. They target candidates possessing a matching percentage of 75% to 80% of the requirements within the job description utilizing their resume, LinkedIn profile, applicant tracking system ranking, and social media content.

This scenario is not exclusive to external candidates. Internal mobility has increased by nearly 20% year-over-year since the onset of COVID-19. The same AI tools may be applied to internal candidates and external candidates have a higher level of competition due our current environment and the evolution of technology.

It is now critical to include a comprehensive and leadership-focused job description within your resume and your LinkedIn profile to compete. The goal is not only to clean up your online identity and social media content, but to build a branding strategy that will optimize the multiple channels available.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) drive employers to be more selective

The 2020 Criteria Survey with respondents from the US, Australia, and Canada, reported 71% of recruiters are using ATS or HRIS technology. Hiring professionals said 69% of their organization transitioned to remote work, 51% reduced hiring, 36% froze hiring, and 30% furloughed or laid off employees. When recruitment ramps up again, your resume should be customized toward your individual positions of interest to maximize your visibility and ranking in the scanning systems. Due to the work from home opportunities, now 80% of full time workers expect to work from home at least three times per week after COVID-19 guidelines are lifted. For example, Google announced they anticipate returning to the office in the Fall of 2021 with two days remote per week. Depending on your target position and company, the number of candidates could be intense.

As we all know, 2021 will continue to be challenging but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Now is the time to prepare your documents and create your social media strategy for the wave of opportunities that will be on the horizon once life begins to return to normal.

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