Best practices for seeking a new job seem to change continually. Trying to keep up with the latest job search trends may feel impossible, especially when you’re already stressed and anxious about looking for new employment.
If you find yourself in this situation, take a deep breath and relax. You can handle this. And with a little planning, you can keep track of the trends, too. Here’s a few ways how.
Notice job descriptions
First, educate yourself. Pay close attention to the job listings you read. What are hiring managers emphasizing, and how are they wording their descriptions? Echo that language when you’re communicating with them, and look for patterns that seem to be prevalent in your industry. If you focus on the details, you’ll likely identify some trends specific to your area of expertise that will help you in your search.
Pay attention to company/industry news.
Take advantage of newsletters and blogs from job search sites, as they’re likely to offer a wealth of constantly updated knowledge about the latest recruiting trends. FlexJobs offers a job seeker newsletter, for example, and the site’s blog has all kinds of useful tidbits for people trying to search for work in the most effective and efficient way possible.
Keeping up with general economic and financial news, both nationally and regionally, is another good idea. Companies change their hiring plans as they react to the economic pressures and realities they face. If you are following broader financial trends, it may give you an early indication of which way the job market is heading and what you can do to show your value to potential employers.
Use your network
Bringing your efforts closer to home, tap into your network. Ask others in your industry what trends they see in recruiting and retention in your line of work. You probably know at least one or two HR specialists from previous employers who can give you suggestions in this regard, as watching the trends is an important part of their jobs. Stay in contact with them, and don’t be afraid to pick their brains on occasion. They’ll likely be happy to share some info.
Go to a conference
You may want to attend a conference or two to further boost your network and your knowledge of the latest job hunting trends in your industry.
“Conferences can be pricey,” says an article from Design Shack. “This is true; so be choosy. Pick one super valuable conference for what you do and go. It will be worth it. Make the most of the experience and attend as many sessions as possible, network with … movers and shakers and participate in a panel or discussion if possible. Talk to vendors as well. Pick up some swag. See what’s new. All of these things can help you see what others are doing and what might be around the corner.”
Utilize social media
Social media is another good source to mine for job search trends, according to an article from Walrath Recruiting. It recommends looking for the personal accounts of influencers and experts you find through blog posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
“That way, you receive updates more immediately,” the article says. “You may just be surprised who is active online! It’s worth a look to see if you can find someone to keep you in the loop with everything new in your field.”
As you identify the latest job search trends, it will be up to you to decide which are fads that will fizzle as quickly as they appeared, and which are likely to define hiring decisions for years to come. This can be difficult, so remember to ask trusted friends and colleagues for feedback when you’re implementing a change to your cover letter, resume, or interview plan. Their honest opinions should help you make the right moves.
And remember, when it comes to landing a new job, substance will always trump trendiness. The latter may help you get your foot in the door. But to get the gig, you need to be honest and complete in your resume, prepare well for interviews, and represent yourself with poise while emphasizing your experience and expertise. That’s a trend that will never change.