How should I pursue a job in today’s market?
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Looking for a new job is rarely described as easy. For most, it can be frustrating, tiresome, anxiety ridden, and impact your pride and confidence. With that in mind, we are sharing strategies that can alleviate a lot of the stress, open more doors, bring better visibility to your resume/applications, and help you land more interviews for the jobs you are interested in!
Here are five tips you can incorporate into any job searching process:
- Most job seekers have heard the term “resume black hole,” and it is certainly not a myth. Applying to a company‘s website or a posting on a job board rarely gets your resume seen, much less an interview. So how do you increase the chances to get your application/resume viewed? First, engage in organic resume optimization, where you are looking at the job title, skills, requirements, and other key buzzwords in the job description to ensure any relevant experience and skills you have is mirroring their language! This helps ensure your resume is more highly matched against that job description, and therefore scores more highly against the algorithms of applicant tracking systems, which every company uses.
- One you have optimized your resume and applied for a role, attempt to reach out to that recruiter/talent acquisition specialist/hiring partner directly. Get tips and scripts here.
- Review requirements with a grain of salt. If only job descriptions had an accurate list of requirements and technologies/tools! But, more times than not, this is not the case as many job descriptions are recycled, outdated, missing key details, have unrealistic requirements, inaccurate requirements, etc. With that in mind, do not disqualify yourself or not pursue the opportunity if it is not an exact match. Rather, if it looks closely to something aligned with your skill set/target skill set, apply for the opportunity, and outline good open-ended questions to really discover the project details, priorities, needs/goals, technology stack, tools, methodology, core requirements, etc.
Also, don't be afraid to address the gaps in your skillset/experience compared to the job in a cover letter. You can address head on and let the future employer know how you plan to get up to speed quickly around any skills, technologies, tools, etc. you haven’t had the chance to work with yet. Being transparent about any gaps, while showing the initiative you’d take to upskill yourself, would be seen as a positive to a lot of employers.
- Proactively market yourself in the communities/groups you are active in. Are you active in a local IIBA group, or another meetup group, association, etc.? Next time you attend a virtual meeting, share a few sentences about your qualifications and interests in the chat box, along with your LinkedIn profile URL. If it is an in-person meeting, ask the organizer if you can have the floor for a minute to give your professional elevator pitch. You can also ask the organizer if they can connect you to any recruiters or companies who sponsor the meetings that would be good contacts for you. Lastly, check out the social media platforms they are active on, and market yourself accordingly! Do they have a LinkedIn or Facebook group? Promote yourself with a few sentences and provide the best way to reach out!
- Prospect recruiters, not just jobs and companies. Have you heard the term “hidden job market?” It means that most available opportunities are not posted online. With this nugget of information, remember that in addition for searching for jobs and applying, you can and should also seek out recruiters and initiate contact directly! Take another visit to LinkedIn and put in criterion in the advanced search to identify recruiters who might specialize in placing business analysts. Send them a brief message about what you are looking for, ask for a conversation, and then identify any relevant opportunities they are supporting. Also inquire into how you can hear about new opportunities they get, and other recommendations for follow-up protocol and best practices in collaborating with them and their organization!
The Information Technology world is one of the few Industries where you rarely should have to look for a job yourself if you have the right Recruiters in your corner. Therefore, invest the time and energy to proactively establish a solid relationship with 2 or 3 Recruiters in your local market and stay in touch on a regular basis so they know your updated career interests/status, so they can then approach you about the jobs that best fit your skills/motivators.
Example: Doing a quick search of “business analysis,” “recruiter” in the title field (under ‘Keywords’), and currently working at our company in the US produced 52 results.
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IIBA Members visit Member webinars to register for Top Resume Writing Tips from Business Analysis Recruiters & Career Coaches on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, from 12:00p - 1:00p ET (-4 UTC).
About The Authors:
Cate Murray is responsible for managing the nationally based talent acquisition strategies of the Apex Systems PMO and Business Analysis Practice and holds her PMP certification from PMI.
Erica Woods is the Director of Contractor Programs and Philanthropy at Apex Systems. Her focus is on overseeing programs, teams, communication channels, and other resources that support and add value to their IT Contractor Community of 16,000+. Erica also oversees corporate philanthropy efforts and acts as a technical community evangelist for various STEM programs/nonprofits.
Steven Meyer is a Delivery Engineer, PMO Solutions at Apex Systems. His major strength lies in his ability to discern the needs of his corporate clients, recognize preferences and motivations of contractors, and combine those attributes to make a perfect fit for each party. Steven champions the needs of contractors to ensure opportunities contribute to advancing in their chosen field.