How to Job Search for the First Time in Decades

If you find yourself on a job search for the first time in one or two decades, there are a few things that have changed. This can be really intimidating and keep people stuck in a job they hate. While the unknown can be scary, I specialize in helping women mid-career and I’ve worked with many women to get them up to date on what they need to know to find a job in 2023.

How to Job Search for the First Time in Decades

Every decade sees new trends in the hiring process but it’s wild to think about what changes and what stays the same. In the 70s you could still smoke in the interview, in the 80s you might have faxed your resume to the recruiter, and in the 90s you might have found job opportunities through classified ads. Things are always changing and if it’s been a while since you last applied for a job you might need a crash course in the latest job search trends. Here are a few of the areas that might be important for you to brush up on:


LinkedIn launched in 2003 but didn’t really take off until 2007. Many of my clients haven’t looked for a job in the LinkedIn era and might not have a complete LinkedIn profile or a profile at all. While you’ll need to get a professional profile picture and optimize your profile so recruiters can find you, you can also use LinkedIn to build your network. You can give and receive recommendations to current and former coworkers, connect with people, and learn more about the people and companies you’re applying to and interviewing with.

Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

While the Applicant Tracking System was introduced in the 90s, it really took off in the early 2000s with the widespread use of the internet and even more so today. The ATS is software that helps recruiters filter and organize applicants. Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use some variation of this software. Your goal is to get your resume ranked by the system and into human hands. If you haven’t updated your resume in a while, you should be optimizing it for digital and human readers. You’ll want to use the right keywords aligning with the original job description, use the right file type (Word versus PDF), and be specific with your employment dates just to name a few things.

Remote Workforce

Since the Pandemic, the remote workforce has expanded which means you might be looking for jobs nationwide versus limiting your search to your own backyard. You might only be looking for jobs that are remote and allow you to work from home. This might mean that you need to ask for additional benefits in the negotiation process like a technology reimbursement and there might be certain travel requirements throughout the year. But it opens new opportunities that you wouldn’t have had if you weren’t willing to relocate.

Company Feedback

In your last job search, the focus might have been more on the company interviewing you versus you interviewing the company. But today it’s just as important for you to be doing your homework on your potential employer. There are lots of great tools like Glassdoor where you can see reviews from previous employees and get a sense of what the company culture might be like. Companies also have social media profiles and a wealth of information on the internet that you can access to learn about the company and what your job there might be like. It can also arm you with questions to ask during your interview.

Virtual Interviews

Since the Pandemic, most interviews today are remote. You might never have an in-person interview, or it wouldn’t be until further along in the process. If you’re someone that excels in an in-person interview this might present a different kind of challenge. Not only do you have to make sure you look presentable, but now you have to consider your background and lighting. Setting up a test interview with a friend is a great way to test everything out and make sure it all looks good.

Mobile Applications

It’s easier than ever to apply to jobs today, in fact, you can apply to jobs right from your phone, whenever you want! During 2021, 67% of job applications were completed on mobile devices, according to a report by Appcast. There are a lot of things you can do to make this easier – like setting up profiles on a number of job sites for a quick application and making sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date.

What You Wear

In the past, it was customary to dress a few levels up from the job you want no matter what job you were applying for. Power suits might have been the go-to in your last interview but it’s important now to research the company and learn its culture when you’re trying to figure out your interview wardrobe. If you’re applying to a company with a more traditional company culture then a suit might be the way to go, but if you’re applying to a company that is more casual then you don’t want to be too overdressed. It’s always a good rule of thumb to dress professionally if you’re not sure, but understanding the company culture is a great way to show that you’ve done your homework on the organization.

The Rise of Social Media

Social media has grown exponentially since your last job search and it’s imperative to clean up your social media profiles before you start applying. This might be auditing all of your profiles and deleting old accounts, blogs, and photos that may not represent you anymore. Make sure to Google yourself by name and check out any Google images that come up so you know what’s out there.

Resume Revamp

If you’re a Friends fan like me, you might remember an episode where Rachel was preparing her resume by printing it out and stuffing it into envelopes only to discover a terrible typo!

Now you have access to all sorts of formatting and file options. Your resume now tells your career story instead of just listing out your previous jobs. You also must tailor it for the job and company you’re applying for. If you are in need of a resume update, download my Modern Resume Workbook for all the tips and tricks for a stellar document.

Expanded Hiring Process

The average hiring process takes roughly 23 days to complete (according to Glassdoor), compared to just 13 days four years ago. Instead of a quick interview, now your first interview might be with a recruiter that will put you through a detailed screening process. This might include a background check, skills test, drug test, and personality test just to make it through the first round. Once you’ve moved on to the next round you still might have to interview with a few layers of employees which might increase depending on the level of the position.

These are just a few of the changes you might encounter in your new job search. All of these can be intimidating, but I’m here to help! I offer a variety of options to help you navigate this process including a free consultation, resume and cover letter writing, LinkedIn profile updates, interview coaching, and salary negotiation coaching to name a few. With so many options available to you this should be a fun and exciting process. There is nothing standing in the way of your dream job! Schedule a consultation with me today and let’s get started!