For some, thoughts like this are too common “I’m out of work, I’ve got a CV together and sent it to where I am supposed to.  I’ve posted on all of the job boards, sent connection requests to recruiters and still I’ve heard nothing back.”  Day after day.  Week after week.  Month after month. This process worked before, but why not now?  Things have changed dramatically and those seeking new opportunities need to change their approach.

In a tough economy our hiring clients find it easier to fill vacancies because there are many more unemployed candidates to choose from. It is still a candidate driven market where distinctive candidates have choices!

The length of the average job search (and companies’ time-to-hire) has increased dramatically, and this seems counter-intuitive given the instant communication challenges available to us all. However, the marketplace has also changed, and companies are now considering a variety of ways to bring skill into their business.

The Gig economy has taken off and South Africa is rapidly catching up to the rest of the world offering non-traditional employment relationships, particularly for skilled and knowledge workers. These roles might be part-time, project-based or contract and even remote or flexible working. The concept of a portfolio career is now a reality as individuals seek to develop skills, gain experience and exposure, and grow their networks through a range of opportunities, rather than jobs.

For some candidates, the hunt for a new job/role can take anything from 6 months to a year, especially if they’re fixated on securing a “permanent job”. According to market data, there is strong evidence to suggest that many individuals in the job market today will never work in full-time permanent roles again but will rather secure alternative “employment” as contractors, project workers or part-time giggers. And whilst this might seem scary at first, the opportunities that are presented by the Gig economy are vast, if you are open to re-assessing what work means and how you’ll go about delivering value to an organisation.

And that means that the job hunt will need to change too. Rather than remain solely focused on permanent jobs, keep your eyes and ears open (and your LinkedIn profile clearly stating) that you’re available for contract, consulting and/or project-based work. And this type of work shouldn’t be seen as secondary or something that you do until you find something permanent. This is Work 2.0 and the way of the future. Expanding your horizons and challenging your traditional beliefs will leave you pleasantly surprised at the avenues that open up.

As Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) continue to change the way the work happens, people will need to re-evaluate their strengths and hone new skills to take advantage of the new roles that emerge in the 4th Industrial Revolution. We’ve already seen frontline bank tellers and call centres becoming more automated, and many of the traditional back-office admin roles in most industries are redundant due to increasingly more sophisticated software and the hyper-connectivity that comes with the Internet of Things.

To succeed in this new reality, today’s “Job Hunter” needs to do an honest self-evaluation, checking how they can improve their attractiveness to recruiters and organisations. Consider the following:

  1. Are you fully computer literate and comfortable operating within the digital world?

    MS Office and Internet savvy are non-negotiable and if you can also offer some basic coding or graphic design then you’ll be much more attractive.

  2. Do you have up-to-date social media profiles that sell your value as a prospective “employee” and don’t contain any elements that could cause concern?

    75% of all employers do a social media background check on candidates and they steer well clear of any who have profiles that indicate potential problems, especially those that include discriminatory remarks/behaviour/attitude

  3. Are your skills clearly outlined in your CV and your profiles?

    It’s no longer about the job title you had or the duties you performed. Recruiters need to see the skills you possess! Many of the jobs you did previously don’t or won’t exist much longer and so recruiters need to understand what you can do to determine whether those skills can be transferred into the roles they are currently recruiting.

  4. Do you sell your successes and how you can add value?

    It might feel a little strange to “brag” but if you don’t do it, who will? Clearly illustrate your successes and what these meant in a quantifiable and qualitative way. Show prospective employers how you can add value to their organisation.

  5. Have you considered how you could adapt your requirements to fit the Portfolio Career?

    Consider how a flexible, contract or part-time job might change your life. How much would it mean to be able to spend more time with your kids, working from home, etc.? Quantify what these lifestyle changes would mean financially (less fuel, no aftercare, etc.) and then accept that taking a contract or part-time job at a lesser salary than you’ve been working for, might actually mean a better quality of life than hanging on in the hope of finding another full-time job elsewhere.

Job-hunting can be stressful and for many, this is coupled with the financial pressures carried forward from the festive season. Stay positive and focus on making the changes that are within your control. Recruiters can sense desperation and its never a good thing. Take time to review your profile, CV and job-hunting strategy and focus on the opportunities the Gig economy presents. Good luck!ir unique requirements and to facilitate matches that add value to both parties.