We’re a “what’s next?” kind of society, and that means that everything has trends—from what we wear to which social media platform just became uncool after everyone’s grandparents signed up. This applies to the job hunt, too. Some things about looking for a job are pretty evergreen—like using active verbs in your resume and dressing in your professional best for an interview—there are trends that could give you an edge.
Before you convert your resume to an all-Vine format, consider these less-extreme options for joining the 2016 race.
1. Emphasize skills over school.
A degree is always going to be a great asset in your application package, but your resume should focus on your hard skills and experience over the school name. The educational landscape is getting more diverse all the time, with online degrees becoming more common, so brand-name schools may be less important than the overall package.
2. Find your career community.
Not so long ago, general job sites like Monster were all the rage, as one could find all sorts of jobs from pretty much any field. This year, try looking for communities and sites specific to your area, and take advantage of their forums, articles, and meetups to network in your own field. When you’re looking for jobs, try thinking specialized instead of general, and see what you can find.
3. Be mobile.
If you’re reading this on your phone, this one might not be the advice for you—you’re probably already plugged in. But if you’re still limiting your job search to sites you find on your computer, try using mobile job apps and search tools on your phone or tablet to find opportunities that might not be living in a standard web browser.
4. Consider a career jump to a hot industry.
In 2016, areas like healthcare (especially healthcare technology), mobile marketing and analytics, and other tech fields are growing at an incredible pace. If you’re looking for a change of pace, take a close look at jobs in those industries that might dovetail with skills you already have.
5. Be flexible about work environment.
This does not mean you should chase those internet ads that promise you’ll earn $80,000 a month working from home, like my sister’s cousin’s best friend’s cat. However, many companies do offer flexible work arrangements, since so many tasks and meetings can be handled easily via communications tech. A job opportunity in another state might have been a non-starter before, but these days you should take a closer look and see if you actually can live here, but work there.
6. Just be flexible.
It’s not just the geographic boundaries that are stretching. With companies finding new ways to meet economic challenges, you could find opportunities outside of the 9-to-5 template. That may be freelance openings that help you build relationships, or part-time jobs that help you build experience. Everything is customizable now, and why should your career be any different? If you’re open to change and different ways of doing things, you may discover opportunities you didn’t notice before.
2016 could be a great year. If you know which areas where you can jump on the trends and find a way to make them work for you and your professional goals, it could be a year of great changes as well.
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