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How can I get noticed in today’s hiring environment?
Is it crucial I have a solid LinkedIn profile?
Are hand-written ‘Thank You’ notes still the norm?

In early March, we held a virtual Recruiter Panel to discuss the latest hiring trends as we forge through 2021 and its post-pandemic job market. Panelists who shared their views from inside the hiring organization included Veronica Knuth, VP Talent at covermymeds and James Vasicek, Talent Acquisition Manager at OhioHealth. Ted Coss, VP of Buckman Enochs Coss and Associates, lent the external perspective to the discussion. Executive and Career Coach Deb Mitchell facilitated the expert panel.

Discussing the latest hiring trends

All three panelists shared insight and perspective given the diversity, breadth and depth of their experience and current positions and roles. Listed below are some of the many topics the panel discussed and a sampling of the recommendations they shared for improving one’s chances of getting hired in the right fit position at the right place and right time.

photos of three recruiters who discuss the latest hiring trendsGetting noticed

Ted said it takes patience, proactiveness and optimism to get noticed – a job search is a lot of work, so take your time. Do your research. Find out who the hiring manager is and reach out to them. The best way to do this is through networking—find out who you know that knows someone at your target company. and ask them to forward your resume to the hiring manager.

Ted also encouraged people to pick up the phone and make a call. Leave a message. Tell them you would love the chance to talk to them about your qualifications. However, James noted the fine line between building connections and reaching out too often, warning not to push it too far.

If you are just starting your career, be flexible and open with what jobs you apply to, said Veronica. A great company is a great company—get your foot in the door with any job and if they are growing, then you will grow, too.

The value of LinkedIn

Working at an executive search firm, Ted said it is essential to have a stellar LinkedIn profile. His firm directly targets specific people at specific companies and if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, then they can’t find you. He said they use it every hour of every day, and that it’s a part of the process they use to identify quality candidates.

Veronica said it was invaluable as she conducted her own job search a few years ago. She also mentioned high schools are now requiring students to create LinkedIn profiles! James agreed and said OhioHealth is seeing a shift in their recruiters using LinkedIn on a more regular basis. He said they can miss the mark if they aren’t out there looking for the right talent at the right time on LinkedIn. He said as an applicant, it’s the best tool you can have to find a job right now.

Deb also shared that when you create a LinkedIn profile, you must do it very well. You cannot have bad grammar nor poor spelling on your profile; that it must be done in a highly professional manner.

Breaking into a new industry

This can be a tough one, but many people are choosing to leave behind prior career paths and choose new fields. Veronica shared that anything you can do to show relevant and related work experience is very important, including positions with another company that might parlay well into a new industry’s role.

James affirmed it’s ok not to start off in your dream job in a new or different field. He started on the clinical side at Ohio Health as a nursing assistant and then found an opportunity in HR. James said the hiring manager was more willing to talk to him because he was an internal candidate. Just bridge the gap and then work your way up.

Cover letters

All three panelists agreed the cover letter is no longer necessary—We don’t read them!

Veronica said she doesn’t find cover letters helpful, and that they’re a lot of extra work for a candidate. So many resumes are submitted online, and a cover letter sent at the same time just becomes lost anyway.

James agreed, laughed and confessed: I’ve never really tried to read a cover letter. A bad cover letter is more recognizable than a good one. Ted agreed and said the process is more about networking, calling people and getting into actual contact with the hiring manager. He shared that even on C-level searches his team isn’t focusing on cover letters.

Creative resumes

Although the cover letter may be dead, the resume is still very important to the job search process according to Ted. It must be well-written, highlight your strengths, speak to the point, and complement your LinkedIn profile—you have to have both done well.

Veronica shared that of course when you are hiring for creative positions, you want their personal style to come through. However, formatting can get lost in the online submission process. So, it still comes down to the content reigning supreme. Clear and concise is the most important thing.

Thank you notes

Across the board, while the panelists agreed Thank You notes are invaluable and must be completed soon after the interview; they can just be emailed. Veronica chuckled and asked how anyone would find the right home addresses for remote workers anyways these days!

Ted stressed Thank You notes should be emailed within 24 hours of an interview as timeliness shows your level of interest. And if you happen to get further along in the interview process and you might know the interviewer and have their address, you can certainly handwrite a note if you like. James said a thank you note via email could be the difference between getting the job or not—so be sure to send one and make it stand out.

Over-qualification

Veronica shared that while she wants people to be excited about their work and the company, they also need to love the job they are going to do. If they are wildly overqualified, they might not be happy in the position. Sometimes people want that entry-point job so that they can move up within a company, or perhaps they want to take a step back for flexibility. Ted said you still have to have the right person who makes sense for the position and will be happy performing there, for sure.

James said it’s a risk if you do not have true passion for the role you are applying for. But if you are ok being in a lesser role and plan to give it your all and be passionate while you are there, then that’s one thing. But it can deflate a leadership team and perhaps burn bridges if you are not genuinely excited about an opportunity.

Job search mistakes

Showing desperation is a huge turnoff, according to Ted. Some job seekers get so intent on what a position will do for them instead of what they can bring to the role and company. It’s all about what you can offer the organization! Share this emphatically during the interview process, have confidence and don’t appear too desperate if you want to land something faster.

Veronica said to never burn a bridge, especially when you didn’t get the offer. Always be gracious through the process—recruiters will remember your appreciation. James then suggested to be timely and professional. Show up early, if anything. Remember, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.

Cultural fit

How can a candidate learn if they might be a good cultural fit with a company? According to James, do your research and read a company’s mission statement and core values online. Veronica said to be yourself. Be who you are so you are able to find that right fit, culturally. And Ted shared he often connects individuals with potential peers in a company (during the interview process) to talk together about the culture, what the company is all about and how the potential peer likes working there. If all the employees seem happy, then you need to join that organization!

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