Posted by: garispang | June 21, 2009

The rules for job hunting have changed

Paul AndersonPaul Anderson wants you to forget just about everything you think you know about finding a job.

“Many changes have happened in the job market since 20 years ago, since 10 years ago — since last October,” said Anderson, a former hiring manager for Microsoft and Expedia.

Even since March. Three months ago, roughly 100 resumes an hour got posted on job-search Web sites. Now that number exceeds 400 resumes an hour, Anderson said.

You want a job? Join the club.

Some 13.7 million Americans want jobs but can’t find one — up by 6 million in the last 12 months. The private sector dumped 611,000 jobs in April, according to the latest report from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“You have so many people out there looking. Revenues are down at companies in most industries. Needs are becoming very specific. Fewer jobs are available. Some companies are trying to hire people at bargain prices. There’s fierce competition and overqualified candidates willing to take anything,” Anderson told a congregation of job seekers in Tacoma recently.

Anderson, principal at Kirkland-based ProLango Consulting, says job hunting these days has morphed into a new industry he calls Career Search 2.0. With his background in psychology, he doesn’t call himself a career consultant. No, he’s a behavioral specialist, because job hunters need to understand human behavior and outfox the system.

He offered five ways to tackle a job search in the new world.

First, scrap the elevator pitch — your 30-second soundbite that describes what you do so you can sell yourself in a flash, Anderson said.

“Why the elevator pitch doesn’t work,” Anderson said, “is that nobody cares about you. They care about themselves. You have to change your mindset from self-serving to serving others.”

That means finding out what need you can fill for the recruiters and other hiring authorities you meet.

Second, at job fairs, don’t bring a sheaf of resumes and hand them out to recruiters like Halloween candy. They’ll wind up in the garbage.

Instead, get business cards from the recruiters. Ask them what kinds of jobs they need to fill and what kind of candidates they like. Note that on the back of the business card. If you know a lot of people in town, tell them so and say you’ll steer qualified candidates their way. Then follow up when you get home. Ask the recruiter to meet for 15 minutes over coffee.

“People buy from people they like and trust,” Anderson said. “You can’t build a relationship at a job fair. Instead of being a desperate jobless person looking for work, turn yourself from a stranger into a contact. When you contribute first, reciprocity will kick in.”

Recruiters have extensive networks of contacts. If you help a recruiter fill a job, you have just tapped into that recruiter’s vast network. Even if they don’t recruit for your expertise, Anderson guarantees they know someone who does.

Third, leverage online social networks, primarily LinkedIn.com, the No. 1 online business network, to connect with as many people as possible.

Online networks allow you to find and seek advice from contacts who work for the companies you have targeted for your job search, it allows others to endorse you, and it allows you to post specific information about the job you want, Anderson said.

Other online social networks, such as Facebook, focus more on users’ personal lives — where you should “show yourself as a stable family person who’s serving the community. If you have a dog, put up a picture,” Anderson said.

“When you submit a resume, three things happen,” he said. “The hiring manager will look for you on LinkedIn to see what kind of endorsements you have. They’ll look on Facebook for pictures of you at drunken parties.

Even though I don’t like very much Facebook, but when I am about to meet someone who I don’t know personally I always check if there is any information regarding this person.

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