What’s Your “Career Score”?

With the largest candidate applicant pool in history, finding the perfect match is like searching for a needle in a haystack and employers aren’t having much luck. For active job seekers out there, it’s a real fear to get lost in that haystack and continue contributing to that dreaded unemployment rate, which kindly reminds them of their perpetual failure month after month. Most people immediately revert to a negative mindset, thinking, “It’s not me; it’s them.”

Credit: 3cinteractive.com

But I’m here to tell you – it’s actually both.

While job seekers fail to keep up the changing times, employers have adopted an omniscient, parent-like role. They view themselves as shepherds, responsible for the livelihood of their flock and will do everything in their power to keep the herd moving forward. When the discussion arises to take on a new member of their team, they pull out all the resources they can muster to ensure they land a good match. Often abiding by the motto, “slow to hire and quick to fire,” organizations are ruthless during the recruiting process, looking for any mistake, misstep or sign of weakness that’ll give them the justification they need to utter the cold words, “NEXT!”

For job seekers with unemployment gaps, that means, now more than ever, they must “keep score” on their careers. After all, employers are keeping tabs on them. Let’s talk about the prevalence of rating systems in our society. In Joan’s latest blog, “I Love Me, I Love Me Not,” she mentions technology’s influence on the dating realm. We input our data into a computer and rely on a scientific matchmaking instrument to help us find our soul mate, she says. Similarly, we use our credit scores to apply for a loan.

Although people are unaware of it, the employment world is also based on rating systems and scoreboards. Landing your dream job or winning a promotion is very much based on your “career score.” While there’s no universal method of ranking a candidate yet, each employer has his own process of keeping score. Whether it’s through recruiting software, behavioral assessments or benchmarking tests, they have scientific tools that catalogue a job seeker’s background, education and communication styles and measure them against the competition. The difference is many of these behavioral assessments, which determine whether or not the candidate matches the requirements of a position, are open to the public. Like creditors, employers will not accept anything less than a high score. If you had access to an employer-approved tool and a chance to get a leg up on the competition, wouldn’t you take advantage of it?

Employers have a wish list for what makes a “top-scoring candidate,” but what they are truly hoping to find is a capable individual who knows exactly where they’re headed, holds him or herself accountable, and is adaptable to new business climates. If you can respond with a confident “Yes” to the statements below, you are headed in the right direction. If not, it’s time to reevaluate your career score.

  1. Do you have a written career plan?
  2. Do you know your career vision and mission and a resume to back it up?
  3. Have you invested in yourself through education, certifications or new technology skills?
  4. Have you shown career progression in your past experiences and continue to enhance your skills?
  5. Do you know how to explain job gaps or long-term unemployment?
  6. Can you tell your story in a way that connects with an employer?
  7. Do you keep records of the tangible contributions you made to your the team?
  8. Do you understand what employers are thinking and feeling in today’s new normal economy?
  9. Are you up to date on interviewing tactics for 2014?
  10. Do you have a positive outlook on the business world?

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