In today’s market, it’s important to be prepared when starting a new job search

Brian Bauer

Brian Bauer brings more than 17 years of workforce experience to his position as president and chief executive officer for the Workforce Development Board of the Treasure Coast/dba CareerSource Research Coast, an organization that identifies workforce issues and brings together community resources to develop and deliver programs and services to the local workforce area. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley University and is a graduate of the Computer Network Administration program at Keiser University. Bauer has served with many regional organizations including: Treasure Coast Manufacturers Association, Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County, Roundtable of St. Lucie County, Indian River County Economic Development Council and Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County.

Whether new to the workforce and in search of an entry-level position or a seasoned professional searching for a new opportunity, navigating the job market can prove challenging for any job seeker. This is especially true during poor economic conditions like those that have resulted from COVID-19. With limited job openings in hard hit industry sectors and high unemployment, it is more important than ever for job seekers to adhere to relevant, tried-and-true job search best practices.

While punctuation and grammar are standard requirements in any well-written resume, tailoring one’s resume to a desired position is a critical yet often overlooked step. Remember to focus your job search on positions that match your interests and skill set. Be sure to highlight any formal education, certifications, work history and skills relevant to the position.

By customizing your resume to include keywords specific to the hiring criteria within a desired job post, you will vastly improve your chances of landing an interview and ultimately a job offer. Since online job bank algorithms use keywords to help employers simplify the hiring process by weeding out unqualified candidates, it is imperative not to disregard this step. If you plan to apply for a variety of jobs, you may need to adapt your resume for each position accordingly.

How you present your resume can also directly impact the hiring process, especially if you have employment gaps. A chronological resume provides the most recent job history first, whereas a functional resume focuses on the skills you have gained over time. Sometimes it is best to implement a combination of the two. CareerSource Research Coast offers resume-specific workshops to help job seekers customize their resumes as needed.

In today’s digital world, you will do much of your job search online; therefore, it is vital to use a job search database that sets you up for success. Job seekers who are registered in Employ Florida are able to review labor market information, create targeted resumes, research employers, search and apply to job postings, sign up for alerts that match targeted search criteria, and much more. When searching for job postings within this system, it is best to target industries and companies that fit your qualifications and background. Employ Florida contains match ratings to help you determine whether your resume aligns with each employer’s job posting requirements. If it does not, consider reworking your resume to improve your scores before submitting your application for your desired position.

After you have updated your resume, you will need to polish your interviewing skills. You may find it helpful to develop a 60-second elevator pitch that highlights your qualifications and skills and then practice in front of family and friends or a qualified career coach. Your pitch should tell the employer why you are the best candidate for the job. This exercise is meant to help you build confidence and settle your nerves during an interview.

Once you have scheduled your interview, remember to research the company as well as its hiring mangers beforehand. You will also want to arrive early, well-dressed and prepared with a list of relevant interview questions. Relevant questions will help you determine if the position and company culture are a good fit. These best practices apply to both online and in-person interviews.

When it comes to best practices, holding oneself accountable is key to a successful job search. Treat your job search as if it were a full-time job with a set schedule, tasks and goals each day. Start your workday by cleaning up your social media profiles. Set them to private and remove any unflattering photos or comments, if possible. Seek out letters of recommendation from key leaders and/or co-workers from past positions. Fine tune your networking skills by attending seminars, workshops, conferences, hiring events and job fairs or volunteer whenever possible.

People conduct business with people they know and like. As such, networking is one of the best and most effective job search strategies available. You will not only open yourself up to new opportunities but also enlist others to help you hold yourself accountable in your job search.

At times, a job seeker may feel stuck. If this happens, it may be time to reevaluate your career plan and consider alternative options, such as a career change through post-secondary education, on-the-job training or an apprenticeship program. Workforce development and training program grants are available to assist those who qualify. Whichever direction you choose, stay focused and remain positive.

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