Career Confidential: Job search insights from hiring experts

Tips for Job Seekers - Vaco Graphic

In a recent live broadcast on LinkedIn, two Vaco hiring experts shared their top advice for job seekers in this historic hiring market. 

For anyone active in the “working world,” the current labor market offers unprecedented opportunities: to switch roles, to enter an entirely new field, to get a major salary bump, or to pursue the job of their dreams. 

A number of factors are contributing to the current hiring climate, including increased retirement during the pandemic, accelerated digital transformation across industries, and a surge in hiring as the economy recovered from the disruptions of 2020. Regardless of the motivators, one trend holds true: millions of professionals are considering a job switch for the first time in years. With the right preparation and guidance, they have a better chance of being hired more quickly—and at a higher salary—than ever before. 

Joe Laugherty, managing partner at Vaco in Cincinnati, is a veteran of the recruiting and talent acquisition industry. Together with his colleague, Kirk Strasser—an associate recruiter in staffing—Laugherty kicked off Vaco’s Career Confidential series, a LinkedIn Live program that’s designed to give job seekers insider info on how to succeed in the job hunt. 

In the first episode of Career Confidential, which aired on January 6, Laugherty and Strasser revealed their key advice for job seekers as they navigate the current hiring environment. 

Keep reading to see a handful of their top tips, and check out the full broadcast to get a complete rundown of their job seeker insights.  

Tip #1: Make sure your resume is updated

When asked by Laugherty for his best piece of advice for candidates right now, Strasser was emphatic: make sure your resume is up-to-date

“When people send in their resumes, if they don’t have their most recent job added to it, or if a job says 2018-present, but they don’t actually work there anymore, it sets things back a little bit, unfortunately,” Strasser said. 

An inaccurate or outdated resume is an easy fix, one that can eliminate a significant delay in a job seeker’s journey from mere applicant to top candidate. In a hiring climate that’s moving as fast as this one, a top-notch resume really can accelerate a job seeker’s chance of catching a hiring manager’s eye. 

“In today’s market, if a company sees a candidate they like, they’ll pull the trigger on hiring them—quicker than I’ve ever seen before,” Strasser said. 

Read more: Check out our top 5 tips for getting your online resume noticed

Additional insight: Don’t be afraid to highlight contract roles or job experiences outside your field

Laughtery pointed out how, in years past, many job seekers felt a stigma attached to any contract work they may have done, especially if the work experience fell outside of their main specialty or industry. That stigma is gone, he says. 

“There’s never been a time of such disruption, where so many people have had to pivot and do different things, to support their family, address safety concerns, or sustain their lifestyle,” Laugherty said. 

“From our vantage point, where we’re hiring hundreds if not thousands of people a week, we’ve really removed the stigma for people who have taken a lot of contract roles or have veered outside their core skill set. What I would reiterate is to share everything you’ve been doing,” he said. 

By sharing the extent of your professional experience, you may display skills that make you an even more attractive candidate for a hiring company—and that can accelerate your rise to the top of the candidate pool. 

Tip #2: Make sure you have a presence on LinkedIn

Since 2020, the value of social media as a tool for job seekers and hiring companies has only increased. LinkedIn, in particular, saw a huge boost in the number of companies actively utilizing the platform in 2020 and 2021. For recruiters and hiring managers, it’s often one of the first places they look to research potential candidates.

For job seekers, a LinkedIn profile is essentially a “living resume,” said Laugherty. It’s the place where companies and recruiters can review your credentials and get familiar with your professional history. If your LinkedIn profile is complete and updated with your relevant skills, you may receive job descriptions and outreach from recruiters and hiring companies directly. 

Read more: Create a captivating LinkedIn profile with these 7 essential tips

Tip #3: Be open to listening, even if you aren’t actively looking for new job opportunities

Laugherty and Strasser ended their conversation by emphasizing the value in simply listening. Even the most casual job seeker, one who isn’t actively searching or applying, can find themselves with an array of options if they’re open to hearing more when presented with an opportunity. 

“It doesn’t mean you have to wave some flag saying you’re looking for a job or alert your employer that you’re unhappy,” Laugherty said. But being open to conversations with recruiters or hiring managers can open doors for candidates that they didn’t even know existed. 

“Now is as good a time in the history of the employment market to be open to listening. That’s really all you have to do, because you’re going to have opportunities brought to you and you’re going to have options that you didn’t realize you would have.”

Watch the full episode of Career Confidential with Joe Laugherty and Kirk Strasser below:

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