Are headhunters a thing of the past?

Without question, the job market is tough right now. Unemployment rates are reaching record highs – last I checked Illinois is at 9.1% and on a recent trip to California I found out it’s higher than 20% out there. In the Chicago area, on average, every job posting receives a few hundred resumes and applications. If you are in the market for a new job now, how are you going to differentiate yourself within the pile of resumes in the hiring manager’s inbox?

In years past, it was the headhunter’s job to help position your resume and qualifications in front of a potential employer in the best light possible in order to get your foot in the door for the interview. But is that still the case? Many headhunters and recruiting shops are in fact closing doors simply because there aren’t enough jobs available to keep their recruiters busy; so the burden of differentiating your skills from the rest is upon you.

It’s been said many times before, “It’s now what you know, it’s who you know.” This statement can’t be emphasized enough, especially in today’s market. Having a connection inside of a company to which you are applying is greatly going to contribute to your success as a job seeker.

With new social networking tools out there including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, jobseekers are able to connect with and get to know people inside a company before they even apply.  After submitting their application they can then ask for a personal referral which is a highly effective means of getting noticed.

Does this mean we can say goodbye to headhunters and recruiters and start spending all our time and efforts on social media?  It’s hard to say at this point. When Monster and CareerBuilder first came out, this same question arose yet the need for headhunters continued. This just proves that if you are a jobseeker, you need to go outside the conventional ways of just submitting a resume and cover letter and really utilize all the tools out there to get your skill-set across.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on job hunting and social media.

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