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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

5 'New Tips' to Get Ahead in Your Career

When it comes to job searching and advancing your career, the playing field has completely changed from past generations. Today's job candidates and employees have an entirely new world to navigate when it comes to networking, finding opportunities, applying for positions and getting ahead.

U.S. News interviewed Minshew writer of " The New Rules of Work: The Modern Playbook for Navigating Your Career.", for her top-line advice to help modern job seekers in today's evolving candidate marketplace. She emphasizes the importance of implementing new approaches to the following five areas:

Build your personal brand. Minshew notes that when used strategically, a strong personal brand is the perfect vehicle to help job seekers connect with employers and establish themselves as experts in their line of work. "Brands are no longer just for products -- people need brands to show hiring managers who they are and what they know," Minshew says. She advises crafting three or four descriptors that best illustrate your personal brand, and then using those to draft a branding statement.

Embrace nuanced networking. In the past, networking was reserved for in-person conferences and events -- think handing out 10 business cards to the first 10 people you meet. Minshew points out that modern networking is fortunately much more nuanced and targeted than this, due to social media. She adds that while huge professional conventions are still one way to meet people, smart networkers know that it's more about quality than quantity of contacts. "Smaller and less-formal gatherings like dinner parties are a great way to form true connections, as is participating in chats on Facebook or Twitter," Minshew says. "Joining discussion threads (or starting your own) on LinkedIn is another good choice for identifying people who share your industry interests. Once you've made a connection, don't forget to follow up. 'The New Rules of Work' suggests sending [a follow-up] within 24 hours -- and if it makes sense, connecting on LinkedIn or Twitter, as well."
Find job openings. The days are over of combing through classifieds or job boards looking for any opportunity that seems roughly related to the type of role you want. "It's no longer efficient today to apply blindly to listings you find on the web, since there are much more effective tools available to help match candidates with positions that truly fit," Minshew says. She suggests these strategies:
-- Keeping close tabs on the companies on your wish list through networking and online resources
-- Asking a specific person in your network for an introduction or referral
-- Conducting an optimized job search online using search alerts and niche sites for specific industries
-- Using your social media network to identify opportunities by following companies you love and people who work there.

Craft your application.  Yesterday's application process was in many ways more personal than what job seekers face today. Minshew emphasizes that the "old rule" of applying for jobs often meant there was no choice but to find ways to connect with employers face-to-face, perhaps in the lobby of a corporate office. "Now when you apply online, you may feel like you're sending your resume off to a black hole rather than a real person," Minshew explains. "In the digital age, the basics of creating a compelling cover letter and materials that are customized to each employer still count, such as never just copying and pasting from a previous submission! But it also helps to get referred through your network to avoid sending in submissions blindly through the applicant tracking systems that many companies use."

[See: Here are 3 Skills You Need for a More Successful Career]
Ace your interviews. If you've tried to get a job lately, then you know you have to be prepared for much more than a formulaic meet-and-greet when you interview for a position. Minshew notes that today's interviewees might find themselves involved in a video conference, Skype call or other technology-fueled meeting. She adds that you might also be assessed through more challenging methods than simply answering typical interview questions, so that recruiters and hiring managers get a real-world look at how you think and might perform on the job. "While you should be prepared to answer standard questions about your professional background, it helps to think about how you might respond if asked 'behavioral questions' as well, such as, 'Tell me about a time you made a major mistake at work and how you handled it.'"