It has been a tumultuous year in the technology business when it comes to jobs. Whether you’ve lost your job over COVID-19, still can’t find work from a dwindling number of available technology jobs, or you’re a hiring company struggling to sort through such a large number of applicants, everyone is looking for answers.
Simplilearn recently hosted an exclusive webinar entitled Job Search in the World of AI – Recruitment Secrets and Resume Tips for 2021, presented by Nikunj Verma, CEO and Co-founder of CutShort. His lessons will resonate with anyone in the technology industry with recruiting on their mind.
This recap will give you insights from the webinar and give you a head start as you look forward to 2021.
Review of the 2020 Recruitment Landscape
Overall, recruiting productivity was strong early in the year until the pandemic emerged in the March and April time frame. Hiring dropped off dramatically but began to pick up in October as companies came out of their exile. Among the hiring trends:
- 25 percent of companies laid off employees
- 45 percent of companies paused hiring
- Most expect a rebound in 2021 as companies adapt to the new work environment
Even during the pandemic, there was still major demand for skilled professionals. Domain-agnostic technology workers such as developers and product managers who could easily shift to unaffected sectors were not as hard hit, but those in non-essential and support jobs such as service and HR were the hardest hit. Nonetheless, demand for new positions will continue to grow as companies come back to market in 2021.
Important Career Lessons
It’s never easy to navigate a tough job market like technology, but there are several tactics you can employ long term to stay competitive.
Work Across Domains
Having core domain knowledge is good, but having cross functional experience and ambitions make you more marketable, such as development experience with several programming languages or learning design thinking techniques.
Target Profit Centers
Choose areas that align with generating revenue, and not cost centers like support services (in other words, create something vs. support something).
1. Focus on Impact
Choose roles that don’t depend on the number of hours your work but rather the impact you can have on the organization. Likewise, your number of years of experience can be an asset, but it’s more important to show the direct impact you have on your team. If you’re just making money with little contribution, you’re more of a liability than an asset.
2. Plan for Downturns
It’s important to realize that troubling times will always come, so you must stay resilient and see opportunity in crisis. Many were caught off guard with the pandemic but it gave people a chance to learn new skills and adapt.
3. Be the Best You Can
Strive to keep learning and make yourself as marketable as possible. Align with growth industries and take advantage of the newest tech.
Job Searching in 2021
There are several important things to keep in mind to set yourself up for success in 2021. The following recommendations highlight what you should do both before and during your search.
1. Do What You’re Passionate About
Some people just stumble into a job but it may not be what really motivates them, and then they feel stuck. Identify the dream roles you really want and strive to make them happen. Consider the concept of Ikigai, the Japanese ideal of finding “reason for being” in everything you do.
2. Create a Social Presence
Job searches aren’t just about finding and applying for jobs, which can take months. To prepare, go further than just keeping your profile current. Create an identity for yourself and share your learnings, highlight your work, and show your opinions and thoughts about the industry you’re in. By doing so, you’ll attract more people like you, add them to your network, and attract recruiters. Reach out to people that work at companies you like and share your ideas with them too.
3. Follow Demand
Get into growing areas where demand is greater than supply, like AI or big data. And a hot tip: do this even if you have to work for free! The important thing is getting connected to the right people. Don’t expect a direct return; it’s a long-term investment.
4. Target Your Dream Companies Differently
Go the extra mile to learn about what drives each company (mission and priorities) and what types of projects people are working on there. Mention those learnings in your profile and be sure to ask the right questions to show you’re engaged.
5. For Other Companies, Apply Smartly
Don’t just rely on your recruiter to do all the footwork. Job descriptions all have clues in them, so you have to understand exactly what they’re looking for and how they’re positioning it. Whatever they are talking about, you should talk about.
6. Remember It’s a Process
Every step of the hiring process is different. Distinct skills or takeaways are important for each step, so adapt your responses to each one.
- Recruiters tend to look for keywords and data points, so word them correctly in your profile.
- Interviewers like to see work samples, so show them off to illustrate what you’re good at.
- Senior leadership look at the big picture, but don’t take it lightly! The final executive interview isn’t always just a “handshake.” Don’t be too casual: be prepared and ask good questions.
The Role of AI in Recruiting
AI is helping recruiting organizations do their jobs faster and more efficiently than ever. It can quickly scan incoming resumes for keywords, skills, and other qualifications to narrow in on the right candidates. AI is great at data parsing, data sets, data crunching, and using insights from the data. It helps to bridge the gap for recruiters who just don’t have the bandwidth to review so many resumes. Most recruiting teams are small and can have as many as 250 applicants in their funnel at once.
AI algorithms are best utilized for the following activities:
- Matching: Finding the right person for the right job title (based on keywords) and surfacing the top 10 prospects, for example.
- Screening: Seeing the right patterns in where skills fit for each individual in each role, such as job positions, duration at company, skills, education, type of work done, and tenure length (they don’t want people who have switched jobs frequently).
- Hiring Process Automation: creating automated messages and reminders and managing video interviews.
And finally, some tips for job seekers, knowing that AI might be screening you:
- Be sure it’s easy to find information in your resume or profile. Make your sections easy to scan, and don’t bury relevant skills and experience.
- Include key skills but use standard terminology and even synonyms to make things clear.
- Customize your profile for each job; don’t use one generic version.
- Remember you don’t need a fancy resume with charts and graphics!
- Keep images simple: for example, AI might not be able to identify faces in oddly formatted pics or images.
- Don’t ignore auto messages; you might be talking to a bot! Follow up manually with real people and apply across all channels like email, LinkedIn, etc.
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Conclusion: Changes Are Coming in 2021
The coming year will see a rise in recruiting activity, but there are other trends that will happen. Anything that can be automated will be automated, so increase your job value and stay skilled so you don’t get replaced by technology in the long run. There will also be reduced job security, as we’ve seen with COVID, so you’ll have to learn to accept the new normal. Take risks early to increase your value and add to your competencies. And remember that talent is now global, where companies can hire talent from anywhere. Prepare accordingly and you’ll set yourself up to thrive in your 2021 job search.