This post was written by Keyot Director of Recruiting Jeanine Rickson.
A few months ago, there were plenty of openings for consultants. Almost overnight, all of these wonderful candidates are now competing with one another for the few openings that clients have prioritized as essential. It’s definitely not a generalist’s market right now. Despite this abrupt change in the market, it is possible to find a position that matches your skills, background and personality.
Keyot has been built on a foundation of strong relationships with our clients and consultants. Now more than ever, it’s essential to work with someone who understands both sides, who will tell you the truth and will help you weigh your options. By understanding the needs of both our clients and consultants, we’re helping candidates reset their expectations and rethink their negotiating power.
Finding success in a tough job market starts with having the right mindset. Rather than languishing in survival mode, choose action! Specifically, actions and steps that will differentiate you in the eyes of the organizations you’re seeking to join. Here are 8 proven actions that you can take immediately to get you on your way to finding your next opportunity. We know because this is how we’ve successfully partnered with clients and consultants for more than 11 years.
- Tell your story. Don’t assume someone reading your resume and background will connect the dots. Keyot’s recruiting team spends time getting to know our candidates thoroughly. We can explain both the details, and the context of the work they’ve done when presenting candidates to our clients. We can say, “Here’s why this person fits your role, your culture and style of project manager you’re looking for.” Consider if you need this type of recruiter in your corner.
- Focus on the most valuable skills that you offer the market. Clarity has never been more important – this includes your ability to be clear about what you’re able to offer a prospective employer. It’s critical that hiring managers can easily understand what your strengths are, as well as the experience to back it up. Now may not be the time to use consulting as a way to make a huge pivot in your career, build new skill sets or change industries. Instead, leverage areas in which you have deep expertise.
- Broaden your location and salary parameters. Flexibility is your friend. In a crowded job market with an inventory of qualified candidates, your ability to be flexible with your decision criteria including location and salary, among other things, might just set you apart. Be clear about what you need and what’s important to you, knowing that you may need to be more flexible than you had to be even 3 months ago.
- Let others now you’re available and what you’re looking for. Have you noticed all of the creative ways that people are helping others over the past several weeks? If there was ever a time to reach out to your network, including those whom you may not have connected with in five or ten years, this is it. Reach out, be bold and don’t be afraid to ask for help making connections.
- Take advantage of training opportunities. We’ve seen a lot of examples of companies offering free, or greatly reduced, training seminars and virtual events in the past few weeks. If your schedule permits, it’s a great time to build new skills and/or refresh current ones. One constant we’ve seen from our clients over the years is a strong bias towards hiring consultants who are active in their professional development.
- Demonstrate optimism and innovation. As we stated before, everything starts with mindset. Our clients, and hiring managers in general, want professionals who can evaluate the current situation, see the possibility in the problem, and develop creative solutions to support their business. True consultants see the possibility in every challenge.
- Be adaptable. Companies need great leaders who are adaptable when things are ambiguous. You may have been hired by a company for one role, and even become extremely competent and proficient in that role. However, when a crisis happens, you need to be ready to pivot – and quickly! In this market, adaptability is king.
- Show gratitude. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that everyone is dealing with a great deal of stress right now. This includes organizations and hiring managers who are trying to solve problems they’ve never seen before. Demonstrating deep gratitude during your job search may just separate you from others competing for an opportunity you’re excited about.