The Jobseeker’s Dilemma: The Downside of a Candidates’ Market

With an abundance of tech jobs but a shortage of talent, it should be a jobseeker’s dream market. Individuals can finally sit in the driver’s seat and steer their ideal careers. However, many candidates aren’t feeling this power.

With so much demand and so little tech talent supply, there has been an influx of open roles and job postings – many of which are duplicated across multiple career sites and job boards. This can make it difficult to get your resume in front of a real person who is able to make real decisions. Even with in-demand IT skills and a candidate-driven job market, many are feeling lost in the resume black hole. Here are some tips to help you navigate open positions and catch a hiring manager’s eye.

How to Separate Fact from Fiction

It’s often confusing when hiring managers cast too large of a net, wasting your time applying to ads that aren’t being checked or jobs that have already been filled. There are a few key things to look at before you apply:

  • What’s the last date the ad was updated? Tech positions more than a few months old aren’t likely to be current unless the organization specifies that it is part of an ongoing search. Remember, the average time to hire for tech positions is only 51 days. If it’s your dream job, it may still be worthwhile to reach out. If not, this is one to bypass.
  • Does the posting link you to another site? If a link brings you back to the company’s application or their recruiting partner’s web page, this is where you should go. It’s a more direct route to the hiring manager who is focused on the position.
  • Is the job ad specific? Hiring managers and recruiters should have a clear picture of a job’s responsibilities and background requirements. If the posting doesn’t clearly articulate what the position is, it’s likely that either the role doesn’t exist or those hiring aren’t on the same page about the position’s duties. Either can mean that you’re wasting your time – and without information about the role, you don’t yet know if it would be a good fit.

The Struggle to Be Noticed

Once you have found the right position, there’s a whole new challenge: getting your foot in the door. According to Glassdoor, the average job opening attracts 250 applicants, and only 2% of those receive an interview. With odds like these, how can you expect a hiring manager to notice you?

The most important factors are building relationships and being visible. If you have any personal connections at the company or recruiting firm you’ve applied with, reach out. Networking is one of the best ways to secure a new tech position, as referrals are more likely to be hired than individuals who simply respond to a job posting. Leveraging your existing connections can help elevate your resume to the top of the list.

In addition, refining your LinkedIn profile to more thoroughly market your career path and skills can attract the eyes of recruiters and potential employers. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. The top thing they’re looking for? Information that supports a jobseeker’s qualifications. Creating a stellar LinkedIn profile that showcases your abilities not only makes your skills more visible, it also gives you a strong, professional first impression when you’re struggling to stand out from the crowd.

Optimizing Your Application

On average, a hiring manager or recruiter will look at your resume for a grand total of 6 seconds. This means it needs to be able to clearly showcase your abilities with only a quick skim. Tailor your resume to the position you’re applying for by highlighting the in-demand tech skills the role requires and providing a short, impactful professional summary that shows your reader why you’re the ideal IT candidate. Be sure to look for important requirements and responsibilities in the job opening and accentuate your experience in those areas in your summary and your most recent position.

Your use of keywords should not stop there. 75% of hiring and talent managers use recruiting software and/or an applicant tracking software (ATS) when hiring. Most will use their ATS by searching keywords to find qualified candidates in their systems. Ensure that your best tech skills and related keywords are the focus of your resume, and then be sure to submit it a format that makes it easy for a potential employer’s system to find you when the right opportunities arise.

Thriving in a Candidate’s Market

Job hunting can be a massive challenge, even in a candidate-driven market. For tech jobseekers navigating current opportunities, the simple scale of the demand has created a situation in which a great background doesn’t necessarily mean they will be noticed. In order to secure the right position, it’s critical to stand out among the crowd – and this is where a partner like Benchmark IT can help.

Looking to find your next opportunity? We’d love to help you achieve your career goals.