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How Job Hunting Has Changed

Over the last two decades, the job search process has changed dramatically. If you want to be successful in your search, it’s important to understand these changes. For everything you need to help your job search, visit www.aarp.org/WorkResources. For now, check out the “Then and Now” of how the job hunt has evolved.

See also: How to ace the interview.

THEN NOW
Newspaper ads were the main source of job listings. Millions of job postings show up online every day. Check out AARP’s job search tools at Life Reimagined and www.aarp.org/Jobs, for example.
Résumés were presented on paper and delivered by mail or in person. Electronic applications — emailing résumés or submitting forms online — have become the norm.  
An actual human being read your résumé. Your résumé may get scanned electronically for keywords. Including the right keywords helps your résumé get noticed.
If you applied for a job, you normally received a response. Due to the volume of job applications, many employers won’t acknowledge receiving your résumé. Don’t take it personally. Keep up networking to expand your contacts and job leads.
One résumé was all you needed, listing all of your past jobs. Develop multiple résumés based on different positions you’re pursuing. List only the past 10-15 years of work experience. Focus on key skills and achievements.
You had more control over your personal information. Protecting your privacy is essential when applying for jobs online. Use only trusted sites with a clearly stated privacy policy.
Recruiters were around your age, or older. Many recruiters will be younger than you. Know how to answer questions about working with younger colleagues and bosses. Show you’re in step with current industry terminology.
A lack of technology skills may not have been a drawback. Computer skills are important to most jobs and change quickly. Highlight your tech skills; get more training if you need it.
The job interview was fairly predictable. Count on getting not-too-subtle questions related to your age. Be prepared to give examples of achievements that demonstrate your ability to do the job for which you are applying.
There were limited sources of advice for job seekers. The Internet is chock-full of information for job seekers. But try not to let yourself get weighed down by information overload.
Finding a job was more about what you knew and less about whom you knew. A successful job search includes networking. Sign up for a LinkedIn account and reconnect with former colleagues and friends. You’ll be surprised how far-reaching your network can become. Also take advantage of network building through Facebook, Twitter and AARP’s Career Connect, a social media resource through Life Reimagined, and through the AARP Technology Education Center.

Take Action!

  • Understand how the job hunt has evolved, and start adapting to the new way of doing things.
  • Start by accessing job postings online. A good place to begin is Life Reimagined and www.aarp.org/Jobs.
  • If your computer abilities are lacking, consider training to get your skills up to date.
  • You’ll need more than one résumé in today’s job search. For help, check out AARP’s tip sheet on which type of résumé is best at www.aarp.org/JobTips.

Get yourself connected through social media and start taking advantage of old and new connections for your job search.

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