Tips for landing a new job this spring

WASHINGTON — If you’ve vowed to land a new job in 2015, combining who you know, what you know and how you package yourself will likely do the trick, a hiring expert says.

Heidi Parsont, president of TorchLight Hire, a marketing and communications search and staffing firm says that while filling highly specialized jobs — including legal, engineering and IT — is best done through job boards, “the majority of jobs these days are found by networking,” says Parsont.

According to Parsont, traditional channels such as Monster, CareerBuilder and LinkedIn can still provide information, but human contact can result in a better fit and a better-paying job.

In originating a job search, “Start with people that are going to be a friendly audience,” Parsont suggests. “At your college alumni office, you have an instant connection.”

“It’s really important to be visible, even if you’re not looking for a job,” says Parsont, “because these days who you know is such an important piece of the job search.”

While being in the right position can result in a job landing in your lap, generally patience is required for a successful job search.

“It really can take a while,” says Parsont. “The higher up the food chain you are, the longer it takes.”

For a good job, the process from networking to identifying a possible job to interviewing for it to accepting it can take between three and six months, she says.

Digital marketing is an important skill in today’s job market, according to Parsont, yet software and applications often morph quickly.

“Technology is constantly changing, so it helps if you keep abreast of changes,” says Parsont. “Curiosity is definitely a key piece of keeping current.”

In negotiating a new position, Parsont says, it can be difficult to know what your worth is. She says a lot of people base their worth on the salaries they have earned in the past.

But she says, “The more specialized your skills, the more likely you’re going to get the money you want — and the flexibility.”

Parsont sees a growing trend in employers offering flexibility as a way to lure candidates.

“Candidates aren’t just evaluating the monetary piece — especially the millennials,” says Parsont. “The culture, the work environment, the ability to work from home, with a collaborative organization — those are increasingly important.”

Parsont says flexibility, on the part of the employer and potential employee, is key to finding a mutually positive relationship. “In order to be competitive, a company has to come up with ways to work with candidates they really want to hire,” she said.

WTOP’s Rachel Nania contributed to this report.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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