Powering your job search for technical writers

I recently attended a local job fair and networked with a number of hiring managers, resume reviewers, and candidates. I wanted to share some of my learnings to help guide your next job search, if you are in the market.

Failure of online job sites – My biggest takeaway was a fact shared by multiple career services professionals: Only 2-3% of hiring came from online job submissions. What I heard was that job sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn essentially aren’t worth much time and energy for job applications. While I have not researched the validity of this “fact,” my personal experience would provide evidence to support it. If you see a job posted online, instead of applying there, use your time to find a professional connection to the hiring organization (such as, in LinkedIn). Upwards of 60% of people hired were referrals (again, another “fact” shared, but I have not verified). As one particular hiring manager told me, “referred candidates are already trusted by a colleague.” Ditch online and go for the personal touch, and don’t be shy about asking someone to pass your resume along. As a conversation opener, ask if they get a referral bonus.

Pessimism reigns – With a particularly pessimistic and jaded view, a number of candidates believed some online job postings were fake, simple meant to shore up interest in a company and provide a cheap marketing solution. A sign of the times?

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) – Unanimously hated by everyone. There wasn’t a single person who didn’t express frustration and disregard for these systems. Notably, the hiring managers.

Resumes – I’m going to make this simple, just hire someone to write your resume. Unless your core competency is resume writing, it’s worth the $100 bucks to leave it to a professional resume writer. Just because you are a technical writer, it doesn’t mean you are a good resume writer. There are some contrasting skillsets; clarity and conciseness won’t bode well in the hiring arena. While this is one audience you can get to know through extensive research and footwork, it’s a temporary space and will change dramatic between job searches. Save your time to practice interviewing skills and market yourself effectively.

If people don’t believe online is working, then it won’t. Instead, attend job fairs to get yourself out there and obtain some face time with hiring managers, As these fairs are typically hosted by organizations serving job seekers, you’ll also find a variety of services to power your job search. The future is in your hands!




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