NEWS + ADVICE
What’s New in Cleared Job Search and What Hasn’t Changed
When you’re thinking about a new cleared job, you suddenly see conflicting information everywhere. Advice on resumes, interviews, and contacting employers comes from a wide range of sources – some research-based, some experience-based, some from the need to fill another blog page today. You need to do your smartest, best job search for the right cleared job. What to do?
Newer Trends You Need to Know
1. Continuous Learning
Many organizations face frequent changes in their technology, customers/clients, and marketplace. Yet few offer much training to their employees. So employers have become far more interested in people who are continuous learners. Your social media profiles and resume should show what learning efforts you regularly make. This can include professional activities, online or in-person courses, regular reading in your field and allied areas, hackathons and similar events in other fields, seminars and more. If you blog or tweet and refer to research, new developments, and studies in your field, that is also a good point to your learning activities.
2. Bias Awareness and Diversity
One’s emotional quotient has been a consideration among employers for several years. Now that has expanded. Employers seek managers and executives who are aware of their biases and of how bias works within their field and industry. They need employees who can address and reduce the problems inherent in allowing such bias to influence work and services/products offered. Many are seeking out individuals who can demonstrate inclusive leadership skills and experiences whatever their field of expertise. This includes working with diverse groups and individuals successfully.
Obviously, this also means employers do not want those whose online presence shows any red flags in terms of bias, discrimination, or harassment.
3. Video Interviews
An increasing number of employers use video interviewing to screen and to do initial interviews with candidates. Most such interviews follow standard phone or in-person patterns. Some will ask for a presentation. Either way, you must prepare as you would for an in-person interview. Be ready to present your relevant achievements and to ask smart questions.
To be successful as a candidate, do a little extra preparation when a video interview is involved. Choose a location where you will be uninterrupted and can hear well. Be sure your webcam or phone is set up in a place with good lighting and a very simple background so you look your best. Wear the same clothing – at least on top – as you would to an in-person interview. Remember to smile – you might consider the old phone sales trick of having a mirror to look into behind your webcam so you can see yourself smiling. I use a sticky note that says SMILE instead.
4. Social Media
Recent studies confirm the dramatic changes social media has created in the hiring process. Over 70% of companies use social media to screen candidates. The same number, but often different companies, use search engines. Over half use both. More than half have decided not to hire someone based on what they found. Almost that many hiring managers say they would not consider someone who does not have a social media presence. Within the Intel Community there are limited expectations that candidates will be on social media, although this has been changing in the last few years. Fortunately, nearly 50% of employers say that social media reviews helped them decide to hire a candidate!
You must check yourself out online before you begin a job search and should do so as a regular practice. Search on your given name and most common variants you use. Take a look at all your own social media in some depth. As needed, scrub what you can and learn how to bury the rest.
Hiring managers are increasingly negative about lists of skills. Most lists are cliched – everyone is a leader, great communicator, self-starter. Some technical mangers do look for specifics on certifications and/or specific technical skills, so those are still relevant. But most resumes have lists of ‘skills’ which add nothing to the hiring manager’s knowledge. Demonstrate your real skills by showing achievements which highlight them – that catches hiring managers’ attention. Make sure the skills you demonstrate are those which are important in the job you’re seeking.
Links to your social media profiles, personal website/blog, or other work should be included – make it easy to find you online. Often the best place for these are on your first page, up with your name and contact information. For cleared positions, this is also where you show your clearance – written simply, such as TS/SCI
6. Be Prepared for Extra Steps
In a time of low unemployment, hiring is often streamlined. But at the moment this does not seem to be happening. Many organizations are using a variety of screening steps, tests, and assessments. Others expect a tailored presentation on an issue of their choosing. If your social media does not show samples of your work or links to it, you may be asked for various examples or proofs depending on your profession and keeping in mind operational security. Only you know how much added work in these areas you are willing to do for any specific job. But do be prepared for these actions to be required.
And Some Things Have Not Changed
Measurable results are always attractive to hiring managers. These plus your actions directly show what you can do for them, how you will solve the employer’s problems.
Bullet points for your most recent 10-12 years make a resume that is more likely to be read. Common practice is to provide the most coverage to your current/most recent job and less to each preceding job.
The best bullet points are those which are directly related to the job you are applying for and include a short outline of the situation or task, the actions you took, and the results you achieved, quantified or not.
Clear, concise writing which shows your career progression and achievements is vital. Ask one-two good connections to read your resume over. They can help you catch errors or improve unclear explanations. We are all too close to our own resume-writing to do this well.
Study after study in recent years shows candidates do not really read job postings. One of my clients recently had a vivid example of this when less than 2% of applicants followed the instructions to apply for a critical professional position. Your resume, cover letter, and ability to survive even basic screening depend on your knowledge of the position and employer. Demonstrate both in your resume and initial contacts.
Do your homework first. Read everything carefully, then follow any instructions. This simple process will improve your chances of obtaining the right opportunity for you.
It is Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You
Employers have loved employee referrals for decades. Studies show such hires are more likely to succeed, to contribute and become productive quickly, and to stay. So your job search depends on your connections and outreach. You need to reach out to old connections, past bosses and peers as well as people in your social networks. Talk to them about what you are doing and what interests you and give them a reason to help you. Seek out new connections in person and online who may have information to assist you. Give back to your community. All these help you become a known quantity to others who may be able to support your search.
When you have a target employer list, begin to ask people you know for contacts in your field at each employer and follow-up with each lead. Learn all you can about the company and why the person works there. Look for recruiters from each target on LinkedIn and Twitter and follow them. Check out any career communities the company website offers. Each of these tactics demonstrate your interest in the company. Each also offers more people there to know who you are and what you offer.
Hope all these tips help you in your job search. Let me know if you have any questions.
Patra Frame is ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Management Consultant. She is an experienced human resources executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is an Air Force veteran and charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Follow Patra on Twitter @2Patra.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 8:28 pm