How to look for a job in 2023
Career coach and self-development specialist Elena Bogdanova explained to Anywhere Club how the labor market changed in 2022, how to stand out from other candidates when looking for a job in 2023, and how to find a coach if the answers to your existential career questions are do not reveal themselves to you.
Features of the labor market today
— For the past few years, maybe even a decade, the job search funnel was an established, systematic, approach to job hunting. It focused on the number of vacancies on the market, the number of your contacts to employers, the number of interviews you were offered, and the total number of job offers that you received. The thinking, generally, was that the key to success in finding a job lay in obtaining the maximum number of employer responses to your outreach. I actively used this method and took a large number of interviews. There were periods when I would complete 26 interviews in two weeks.
A lot has changed. In 2022, the number of vacancies sharply decreased. Therefore, you can't simply “play the numbers” and submit a large number of applications expecting that this will result in a corresponding number of offers. The focus has shifted to job search efficiency.
Large companies are reducing and optimizing staff. Accordingly, recruitment is not planned for the near future. Indicative of this reduced expectation for recruitment on the part of large employers is the reduction in recruiting staff. Why is this significant? Finding a cool recruiter, especially in IT, is quite difficult. Therefore, recruiters are generally retained even when hiring conditions decline. The fact that employers are now parting ways with their recruiters, and in large numbers, says that there are no plans for active recruitment in the next year or two. Previously, recruiters were looking for large numbers of candidates and wrote to them with an offer just to get acquainted. Now, it won't be like that. So, the situation is frightening, but certainly not hopeless.
Who will find it easier to find a job in 2023?
— Now, the market is very favorable to the middles. Middle and middle+ level specialists learn quickly and then can perform senior tasks, but they are much cheaper. Juniors are facing the most significant challenges. But if a junior has the determination and is ready to study, then they will get into the company. Even in the current conditions, the company still has a development plan. They understand that in six months or a year they will need a strong middle. It will be more profitable to grow a motivated junior to the middle.
Another trend in recent years is the advantage held by candidates with well-developed soft skills. If a person falls a little short of certain hard skills, they can be brought up to speed fairly quickly. It is much harder to make a good employee out of someone who is lacking in soft skills. Previously, there was the opposite situation in IT. The severe shortage of skilled specialists meant that an absence of soft skills was tolerated, even if not ideal. That isn’t true now. Considering the number of specialists on the market, preference will be given to someone who is slightly weaker in hard skills, but more developed as a person. Soft skills have never hurt anyone, and taking the time to improve them in this market really enhances your opportunity to develop.
Where to look for a job
— Most of my clients are from Belarus and Russia. In the near future, however, the market in these countries is not where IT will develop successfully. Now, those who want to enter IT, need to learn English well and consider the possibility of relocation. Those who can afford to do so should perhaps even immediately relocate, and then look for a job. This is not the easiest option, since it requires a large financial safety cushion, especially if you are trying to move with your family. But it is a more promising option now.
Another option is to search for internships. These may be unpaid internships in companies that will give you the opportunity to do paid work later. You can also consider the possibility of working on commercial projects in a new country remotely. Having a commercial project in your portfolio makes it easier to enter an internship or an internal project in a company outside of your current country.
These days, the main tool for job searching is the great and mighty LinkedIn. But I also recommend finding companies and writing to them directly, even if they don't have a published vacancy. Before a vacancy is published, there may already be discussion within the company that a certain specialist is needed. If, at that moment, a relevant resume arrives, they may well invite the candidate for an interview. And if the candidate is suitable, the company will not waste resources searching for another person.
How to look for a job
— I have a kind of algorithm that clients and I follow when looking for a job. It consists of the following steps:
— We must not forget about correctly positioning ourselves. Now, there is a lot of talk about a personal brand, especially among those who develop social networks. But honing your personal brand works everywhere. For example, the HR world is very narrow, and many people know each other there, so it will always be useful for someone to polish their reputation.
Who can help with your job search?
— If we talk about coaching, it is often compared with counseling and psychotherapy. A career consultant acts as an expert; they give advice, share knowledge. You come to a specialist, and they tell you what to do and how to do it.
A coach does not give advice. They ask thoughtful questions that help the candidate find answers inside themself. I work with both of these tools — consulting and coaching. Sometimes, I act as an expert, sometimes as a partner. Coaching is about partnership. The main goal of coaching is to help a person find answers inside themself. We all have the answers to all the questions inside ourselves. But sometimes we need expert knowledge from the outside to help us find those answers. The task of coaching is to find answers to questions such as: what is really important to me; why exactly this job at this time; what direction I would be interested in based on my internal aspirations. When it comes to career building, career guidance, and career development, coaching — thanks to its insightful questions — helps to identify the interests of the person, their true desires. Only after you have done so can you develop a strategy with a step-by-step plan for how to achieve the goal that the client sets for themself, at the pace they choose.
When looking for a coach or career consultant, I recommend examining the experience of the expert, their achievements, what they worked with and their own job search experience. If a person has not passed interviews themself, then they do not know what is expected. It is better to choose a coach in the career area in which you are focusing, and in the location where you want to work. To simply write a resume, you do not need to go to a coach, it is enough to use a template from the Internet. The question is how to correctly paint your skills and showcase them for a potential employer.
I want to encourage those who are currently looking for a job. You need to clearly understand what you are an expert in, what you offer an employer, and why it will be profitable for the company to hire you, in order to package and competently present this information to an employer. No matter how difficult the market is, there is work, and it is there now:
To summarize: to succeed in this new market, you need to properly package yourself as an expert, then showcase your skills, and be honest in your communications with others.
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