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Next Avenue: Boost your career by capitalizing on these big workplace trends

A jobs think tank identified these global forces that are changing the career and hiring landscape. Read More...

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

Recently, Career Thought Leaders Consortium (CTL), a global think tank, issued a report and held a webinar about the six global megatrends it says are changing the career and hiring landscape. I value CTL’s work because it blends industry research with input from professionals in the careers world — résumé writers, recruiters, career coaches and the like.

Here are my key takeaways from the webinar (presented by CTL CEO Marie Zimenoff) and the white paper, along with tips on how to capitalize on the six workplace trends to advance your career:

Trend No. 1: Generations in the workplace. These days, workplaces often feature members of four or five generations working together. Those cohorts range from young Gen Z (people born from the mid-90s to the early 2000s) to what are called The Traditionalists (people born before 1946). In between them are boomers and Gen Xers, who are working longer than people in their 50s and 60s did in the past, and millennials, who are moving into leadership roles.

Tip: I reached out to Lindsey Pollak, author of the coming book, “The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace” (available in May) to get her advice for boomers and Gen Xers who want better working relationships with their younger colleagues.

“Be candid that that is what you want,” said Pollak. “For instance, you might reach out to a younger co-worker and ask for her insight on a project or ask a junior colleague what books or podcasts he recommends. Like all generations, millennials want to know that their colleagues respect their opinions and expertise.”

Trend No. 2: The gig economy. While it’s difficult to quantify how large the gig economy is (jobs like Uber drivers and contract workers where you set your own schedule), it’s clear that the gig economy is here to stay. But the growth of the gig economy is a mixed blessing for workers.

For some, it offers a welcome opportunity to work part-time or supplement their paycheck with an occasional side hustle. But as the CTL report notes, “many individuals are still seeking full-time employment and struggling with the double standard of employers wanting to use more contract workers and being hesitant to hire job hoppers.”

Tip: Taking on a side gig can be a good way to test out second-act interests, learn valuable skills and develop new income streams. To get a feel of what’s available, take a look at SideHusl.com, an excellent site that reviews and rates 250 online gig platforms.

Trend No. 3: Education. In this still hot job market, the value of a college degree is not quite what it once was, at least in some industries. As an example, Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, recently said that tech companies should focus on hiring people with valuable skills, not just college degrees. However, job seekers shouldn’t interpret that to mean training and education isn’t valued. In a fast-changing workplace, keeping your skills current is more critical than ever.

Tip: Even if your job appears secure, it pays to periodically invest in short-term training programs like apprenticeships, boot camps and online certification programs. They offer a relatively inexpensive way to update your skills and safeguard your marketability.

Trend No. 4: Artificial Intelligence (AI). As anyone who has looked for a job lately knows, the hiring process is becoming increasingly automated. Last year, over 98% of Fortune 500 companies used a computerized ATS (applicant tracking system) to weed out job applicants, according to Jobscan. More and more, recruiters are using texting and chatbots to find worthy job seekers.

And Zimenoff noted that while robot-assisted interviewing is not yet commonplace, it’s coming. Swedish recruiting agency TNG has been using an artificial robot head called Tengai to conduct test job interviews in place of a human recruiter, with the goal of eliminating human bias in the hiring process. (You can see a video of Tengai in action here; intriguing, if a bit creepy.

Tip: Despite the focus on increasing automation, the single best way land a job has always been — and continues to be — getting a personal referral into the company.

That said, when you’re looking for work, you do want to be sure your résumé is ATS-friendly. Target the right jobs and use keywords that reflect what the employer is asking for in its job posting.

Trend No. 5: Social Branding and Sourcing. Social media platforms, like LinkedIn and Facebook, continue to play a critical role in the recruiting process. Currently, over 70 percent of recruiters use social platforms to screen candidates. But the way recruiters are using social platforms is evolving.

Research from CTL and elsewhere indicates that recruiter activity is rising on Facebook and decreasing on LinkedIn, although this could change. Companies are relying more on AI to identify job candidates who have a compelling and professional online presence.

Tip: It’s easy to waste a lot of time on social media, but if you want a job, you need an online presence. So decide which platform works best for your career (I’m still a fan of LinkedIn for professionals) and then take 10 minutes a day to make new connections, share relevant articles and post helpful comments there.

Trend No. 6: Storytelling in Careers. From sharing compelling career stories on LinkedIn to including accomplishment stories on a résumé, storytelling has seeped into the hiring process. But you need to use this strategy carefully.

As career expert Louise Kursmark of Best Impression Career Services said during the webinar: “Tell a story not to tell a story, but to make a point with a purpose.”

Tip: As I emphasized in my Next Avenue blog post, “The No. 1 Way to Nail a Job Interview, compelling storytelling is the best way to demonstrate your value in a job interview. Fortunately, it’s a skill that can be mastered with patience and practice.

Nancy Collamer, M.S., is a semiretirement coach, speaker and author of “Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement.” You can download her free workbook, “25 Ways to Help You Identify Your Ideal Second Act” on her website at MyLifestyleCareer.com (and you’ll also receive her free bimonthly newsletter).

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2019 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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