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SALT LAKE CITY -- As chief operating officer of The Summit Group, a full-service communications firm, I have the responsibility of finding and hiring the best people I can.
With Utah unemployment hovering at 7.4 percent (below the national figure of 9.2 percent) you’d think it would be an employer’s market. Certainly, a multitude of applicants means it’s easier to find and hire a qualified person, right? Not necessarily.
Our industry, like many others in Utah, requires high- level, specialized skills and knowledge. So even though there are more people searching for work, there are not necessarily more qualified applicants.
This is true nationally as well. A few weeks back on "Good Morning America," former President Bill Clinton was lamenting the nation’s skills gap. He said that if there were skilled employees for every open position, our nation’s unemployment could be as much as 2 percent lower than the 9.2 percent it is today.
The influx of applicants in this job market means a recruiter will likely spend less time reviewing each resume. And what if you are a job seeker? Fewer jobs are available, the competition is fiercer, and your resume will be hidden in a bigger pool. So how can you improve your chances of landing a job?
If you lack the skills for the job you want, look at going back to school, attending specialized training and internships. But if you have the necessary skills, you must be more creative, active and disciplined than ever to let potential employers know that you stack up.
Be creative in your search
- QR code on your resume shows me you understand current technology and trends.
- Personal outreach through social media builds your network and gains referrals.
- Consider video of you, your references and your work. Interactive examples are better than written resumes. It’s pretty impressive when you see video of references touting your work.
- Create a personal website or online portfolio of your work and make it easy for the recruiter to see your work.
- Resumes that are different stand out. Consider how can you "graph" yourself. For example, create a pie chart of your attributes by percentages.
Be active in your search for work- Volunteering keeps your skills up-to-date and helps make connections.
- Offer to intern for a company in which you are interested. It’s a great trial period for both of you.
- Attend networking events. You have a greater chance of hearing about opportunities when you are talking with others than when you are home on your couch. Be disciplined in your search- Your job must be finding a job — set a daily schedule for job hunting as if you were going to work and stick to it.
- Do homework on the company offering the position. It will help you stand out against other applicants and shows your interest in the company.
- Write a cover letter tailored to the company and consider tailoring your resume to the position as well.
Sharon Roux is COO of The Summit Group, a full-service communications firm based in Salt Lake City.