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How to job-seek in the 2020s

How to job-seek in the 2020s

1-1 Recruitment celebrates its 20th anniversary this month! A big thank you to all our clients and candidates for their help and support and for choosing to work with us. This milestone has given me a great excuse to reflect on how the world is changing for jobseekers, which is, after all, what we’re all about. So here are some of the themes and trends you need to be aware of as we enter the 2020s.

Applicant tracking systems reward relevance

Apply for a job online and there’s a decent chance your CV will go into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This is true of many direct employers and larger recruitment agencies. The trick to “beating” an ATS is to understand that such tools are built to recognise keywords.

The more your job application and CV feature keywords that match the essential requirements of a job, the better your chances of your application landing in front of the hiring manager or HR. Your documentation still needs to be good to get any further!

The rise of transferrable and soft skills

Soft skills like communication, adaptability and emotional intelligence are more valuable in the workplace than ever before. Furthermore, with the skills gap growing, these skills will help candidates to transfer across sectors and roles. That’s where a good recruiter comes in, as we can screen and get to know candidates, and build relationships and trust with clients that allow us to understand what they’re looking for. It’s our job to know when someone suits a role and an organisation beyond the CV. But all of this also means it’s worth you thinking about how you can sell yourself to a prospective employer beyond the obvious hard skills in your CV: what else has your experience armed you with? It could be priceless.

Candidate experience is key

Employers increasingly recognise that the candidate experience of the hiring process is key. The winners in the war for talent will be those with a highly professional approach to hiring, who provide feedback faster, with watertight on-boarding, training, induction and continual investment and feedback with employees – not just in the early days, but for the duration of their employment.

Job aggregators

Job aggregators like Indeed and Google Jobs search careers websites and jobs boards and pull vacancy adverts into one handy place for jobseekers. You can create an Indeed account, set up job alerts based on your preferences, research companies and more. Similarly, type any kind of job plus a location into Google, and near the top of the search engine results page you’ll see the jobs Google has served up in its own window, quite aside from the standard search results showing different websites. Both aggregators intend to make searching for specific terms and locations very simple.


LinkedIn Jobs is another entrant into the vacancy advertising market. LinkedIn has become such a career-oriented site that it’s more important than ever to ensure your personal profile represents you well. Hirers will view your profile as an online CV, so ensure yours is up to date, truthful and showcases your best achievements.

Social media

It’s thought up to 70 per cent of employers may now screen the social profiles of applicants to get a sense of whether they’re the right kind of person for a role. So do a bit of homework to protect yourself from any misunderstanding: un-tag yourself from any embarrassing Facebook photos, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see or read and set accounts to private. If your Facebook account is private an employer will still see your profile photo, so make sure it’s one that reflects well on you. In short, keep it clean, keep it professional and/or keep it private. 

The rise of video

Technology enables new methods of contacting and assessing candidates. One example is the increasing use of video to get a sense of a candidate’s appropriateness for a role. Some companies will skype interview candidates. Others use dedicated video software allowing candidates to make their own “pitch” videos where they introduce themselves, give a quick overview of their career and answer some pre-set questions. Either way, there’s a real skill in speaking to a screen! Most importantly, think about the impression you and your chosen interview space will create with the person at the other end of the transaction. Ensure the room behind you is clean, presentable, professional-looking and well-lit. Ensure nobody will enter your room mid-session and close any windows to minimise distracting noise from outside. Videos provide an easy opportunity to create a good impression - it’s so easy to get it right!

Psychometric/aptitude tests

Employers increasingly use online psychometric and aptitude tests as part of their selection criteria. These can assess anything from basic skills such as numeracy or English, to more specific skills, attitudes, personality and behaviours.

Scrutinise a job ad or specification to get a sense of the required skills and behaviours. You can find some generic psychometric questions online to help you practise and develop your technique. Try looking at or for more advice and information.

And finally…remember to stay positive when you job-hunt!

You need energy when you job-hunt, so don’t give in to the doom and gloom that haunts social and broadcast media today. Social media in particular creates echo chambers where emotions become greatly exaggerated, and can make it feel like the world is ending. So be true to who you are and stay positive, and remember that people often don’t filter on social media in the way they would in conversation.

Good luck, and call us if we can help. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in 20 years of business it’s that you have to move with the times – and that goes for jobseekers too!

- Helen Floor


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