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There was a time, not so very long ago for most of us, when job hunting involved scanning newspaper advertisements or actually knocking on the door of a desired employer. It involved selecting just the right heavy parchment on which to print your curriculum vitae (CV), complete with your credentials and long list of experience. And it involved carefully folding that parchment, putting it in an envelope and sending it off, with all your hopes and dreams, at the nearest post office.
My…how things have changed. The digital age in which we live has forever altered the means in which we seek employment. As job seeker, we have gained much more control over our search, a great deal more flexibility in presenting all sides of ourselves and a much broader overview of the jobs available. As an employer, we are able to access a global talent pool, see beyond the cover letter and even target potential candidates who are suitable for positions.
Today you are competing with people from all over the world. Thanks to the internet, location is no longer a factor when hiring, which means that you need to seize all the opportunities our digital world has to offer in order to stand out. In Telenor, we evaluate hundreds of thousands of applicants every year, and along the way we’ve learned a thing or two about what differentiates a candidate and makes us want to talk to them. I’ve put together a list of the top ten things that job seekers can do to boost their chances of getting through the door.
- Don’t be afraid to tweak and adjust your resume every time you apply for a job, in fact you’d better! Whenever we create a job ad, the manager for that position is involved in creating the mandate. That means that he or she is actually describing the person they want to hire. This is your biggest clue of all, so really read that description and think about how you are relevant and modify your application accordingly. Don’t think of your CV as “one size fits all”; instead customize it for the job you seek.
- Make sure you include every software program you know. Even if you think it’s not relevant, companies are always interested in tech savvy people. So, list everything you are familiar with, even if it’s a program you learned in secondary school. You just never know what will grab their attention.
- Google yourself. Because they will Google you. Get ahead and find out what they will uncover about you on the internet. If some strange images come up in the search, you know what you’ve got to do. And remember, that it is possible to make certain search results appear higher on the results list. Here’s how.
- Tap into your network. Your job hunt is not some secret mission that you should embark on alone. Make your wide network of family and friends aware that you are seeking a new challenge. Alert your Facebook friends or making a funny post on Instagram about your job hunt. However you do it, take advantage of the hundreds of eyes and ears in your circle.
- Engage with companies you are interested in. Of course you should be following them on social media. Of course you should test out their products or engage with their customer service. Experience the company in any way possible, either in the digital world or the physical world, to gain insight on that company and what they do. I assure you this will come in handy during the interview.
- Do your research to uncover the company’s gaps. Most companies today are in the midst of a transformational phase, due to changing customer habits, new competitors, new business models and basically the digitization of everything. That means that the type of people they need to hire is changing as well. So do your homework and find out what new competencies they will need to be successful in their transformation.
- A CV doesn’t just have to be a CV anymore. Today there are so many opportunities to creatively present yourself and your accomplishments. I mean, is a single page really going to sum up the whole of you? Maybe video is your thing, maybe an online photo album or even an interactive web site? One of the most memorable applicants we’ve recently had created a Pinterest board featuring all of his more creative work. Do something different and you will stand out. And our managers and hiring managers love it when done appropriately and creatively.
- There’s no such thing as too little practice (for the interview). I can’t say it enough: practice, practice, practice. Ask your friend to interview you. Search for the most common questions asked during an interview and prepare answers. Come up with stories from your experience that you can tell at the drop of a hat. Be ready to explain your history, get them excited about what you can do, and help them get a taste of who you really are. An interview should not be a test of your “improvisation” skills, so practice!
- Show, don’t just tell. Most people come into an interview and use the time to tell the potential employer just how lucky they’d be to have you. Unfortunately, your litany of many talents is most likely falling on deaf ears. They’ve heard it all before, believe me. So instead, my advice is to be prepared to show Show them a presentation you’ve made, a plan you’ve created, a video you produced or program you designed. Show them anything at all that makes what you can do real for your interviewer.
- Make job hunting your full time job. The search for your dream job cannot be done passively. You need to muster every ounce of energy and passion you have and put all of it into your search. Think about how you would perform if you got that dream job. You would work to impress, to succeed and to thrive. Well, finding that job shouldn’t be any different. Use all the tools at your disposable to your advantage. Use your network. Use your creativity. And use your brain to really explore what you can do to stand out.
Remember, today companies are getting more applicants that ever before. The digital world has opened the talent pool for employers everywhere, enabling us to seek talent in new places. And while that increases the competition for you, you now have a world of possibilities in terms of engaging with potential employers, learning about them and creatively presenting yourself. It may take more time and effort, but getting your dream job is worth it. Good luck to all of you in the job hunt!