Career Q&A

5 Job Hunting Trends in 2020

Isaac Morehouse
January 2020

Here are five rising trends in job hunting to keep an eye on in 2020. These are becoming more common, but we’re still in that early phase where people who approach the job hunt this way will reap tremendous first-mover advantages!

5 job hunting trends in 2020 pinterest infographic preview

1. Quality Over Quantity

It’s not a numbers game anymore. It’s an attention game. Top candidates are stripping way down, simplifying, and intensifying their job search. More depth, less breadth.

The old, “Send your resume to 100 openings” approach is weaker than ever, and more people are scrapping it altogether. Combine that with a robust job market and greater ability to find roles that really fit instead of settling for anything, and you’ve got an awesome recipe for a tighter, more focused hunt.

Seekers are picking a handful of companies they are genuinely excited about and taking the time to learn about them. They’re treating the process of winning a job like the process of making a really big sale or getting a date with a really cool person.

Don’t spray and pray. Refine and design. Make your approach to each company special and hard to ignore.

2. Body of Work Over Resumes

Paper is thousands of years old. Resumes are hundreds of years old. Slapping a 2D piece of wood-pulp into a PDF isn’t much of an upgrade. You’re more interesting than any list of bullets, grades, or third-party credentials.

More people are being their own credential than ever before, and the results are astounding.

Turns out, your digital body of work is kind of like a personal Iron Man suit—information technology can enhance your natural powers. YouTube channels, Amazon book reviews, podcasts, blog posts, social media accounts, projects, landing pages, personal websites, portfolios, and pitches are emerging as replacements for the old tired 8.5×11.

This is great news! It’s less about gaming automated text scanner bots and more about showing your work and learning out loud.

Your resume is boring. Be more and you win.

3. Tailored Pitch Over Cover Letter

Cover letters are a great way of saying, “I care about this opportunity so much I did the same thing everyone else did and repeated it for every other company, too.” Yawn.

Think about winning an interview like you’re winning a date. It’s not about a date in general. It’s about a date with a specific, real individual person. You don’t slide a list of reasons you’re dateable across the table. You tell them what it is you like about them.

Likewise, don’t send one of those snoozy, “With over five years of experience in customer service, I am a great fit for any growing team” docs. Instead, put together something totally unique, unforgettable, hard to replicate, and just for them. Make a short video, slide deck, or project that shows you love the company. That is hard to ignore, and people are winning interviews like crazy by doing it.

Hiring managers are human, too. Be more human and less scripted. Make them feel special.

4. Intangibles Over Tangibles

This might sound strange, but never have I heard more from hiring managers that specific hard skills and job requirements are less important than character, culture, and soft-skills. Companies are used to training people on the job in entry-level roles. Good companies are good at it. But what kills them are people who are jerks, lazy, not easy to work with, poor communicators, or a bad culture fit.

Basic skills are table stakes. What really stands out is proof you’ve got some unique, intangible upside. You’ve got to get creative to signal that, but who wants a job that doesn’t require creativity anyway?

5. Side Doors Instead of Front Entrances

The old idea of

  • waiting in line,
  • following the rules,
  • checking the boxes,
  • making sure your name is on the guest list, and
  • waiting to be invited in…

…is over.

The ones having all the fun and winning all the best opportunities are the party crashers. The people bypassing application processes to send a pitch to the hiring manager. The people figuring out how to create value for a company and proving it ahead of time.

It’s not just a paycheck, so don’t treat winning it like it’s just a hoop-jumping formality. Your career is in your hand. There’s more opportunity than ever.

Go crash the career party!

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