When looking for a job, the right map can make all the difference.

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In recent years the path to finding employment has seen many twists and turns, requiring successful job seekers to demonstrate a new flexibility. The old ways of locating job leads and typing up cookie-cutter resumes have lost their effectiveness.

Despite new and well-intentioned recruitment websites which aim to connect candidates with employers, many hiring managers feel like they are drowning in a flood of applicants. One vacancy posted online can quickly attract hundreds of applications within the first few hours of posting.

Given the changing landscape, seasoned employment consultants are encouraging their clients to channel flexibility and follow a new path.

The new path is where the demand is, and you need to follow it.

THE NEW MAP

Employment experts who study the map to success are finding a new pattern at work and they have a clear message for you: let your life goals—both long and short-term—guide the search.

In other words, don’t cling too tightly to rigid job goals. In a fluid and changing market it is more helpful to reframe your next job as a stepping stone, not necessarily as a final destination.

Sometimes the best path to the jobs seekers want most begins with a willingness to start in a new kind of position. The good news is the right position can be an entry-level job—or even a job in what might first appear to be an unrelated field. The path to office administration, for example, might start with a job as a health care aide.

This new map rewards people who are able to minimize their job gaps by working in new sectors, because they can demonstrate their current employability in areas like adaptability and interpersonal skills.

Employers know there are lots of jobs out there and lots of opportunities to move forward and transfer skills. Gone are the days when employers expect potential new hires to follow the same linear road of advancement. They know the landscape is constantly in flux, as new technologies and industries are changing all the time.

Now employers expect to hire people who find creative ways to succeed in the job market.

THE GAINS

Some of the most important benefits to following the demand is that you gain positive work experience and build your references. Employers feel more confident hiring someone who has current experience because they have a traceable record. They often shy away from hiring someone who has spent months or years out of the work force, even if it was because they were searching for the perfect job. When you have an existing work history when applying for a job, you gain a higher degree of trust with potential employers.

This new map also provides a tangible way for you to gain and sharpen new skills for a competitive market. Going back to the example above, a job as a health care aide could allow you to develop expertise using new software or learn new time management strategies. These are valuable skills in office administration.

Earlier I mentioned building your references. Every job comes with this added benefit; an expanded network of contacts. The hidden job market accounts for 80-90 percent of the jobs, and having access to an effective network, which includes friends, acquaintances, and coworkers, is one of the most valuable ways to find those jobs. Forming relationships in any sector opens doors to promotions and new positions.

Finally, don’t underestimate the value of having the peace of mind that comes with a pay cheque. One of the biggest barriers at interviews can be a lack of confidence. The need to pay bills always compound the anxieties associated with a loss of purpose from not having daily work or a daily mission. As time goes by it’s easy to doubt basic employability skills.

A current job provides fresh experiences and strong credibility, but most importantly it allows you to better move forward, as you begin to understand your employment goal as a series of many steps, with many ways to get there.

The good news is there is a map, and the map points to the jobs that are out there right now.

Author: Matthew Kreider

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