A record-breaking number of U.S. workers quit their jobs in 2021—4.4 million in September—so it's not surprising that articles with pointers on how to find a new job resonated with SHRM Online readers. And for HR professionals charged with recruiting and developing employees, rethinking soft skills and learning to delegate were popular topics.

Here are some of this year's most-read articles on organization and employee development. 

1. Words That Land Interviews and Job Offers

The words you use in a resume or social media profile—your most critical career management marketing documents—can increase your chances of landing an interview and subsequently turning that interview into a job offer.

If we reduce these marketing documents to their barest essentials, their purpose is to describe your skills and experience in the same language recruiters and hiring managers use in job postings. The reason: Recruiters will use that language to search resume banks and social media platforms for candidates.

Your marketing documents should reflect as much of the language of the job posting as possible. This will give you a resume and social media profile that are customized to employers' needs for the job. When you submit a resume to a specific employer, make sure to customize it before sending.

Your resume plays such an important role in determining the quality of your future employment that you need to use words to their maximum effect. 

2. Viewpoint: 10 Fact-Based HR Practices for Company Success

As companies strive to return to a new normal, it is important to have an integrated approach that ensures the new normal is a positive one for all employees.

Ben Schneider shares 10 HR practices he developed from 50 years of consulting and research. He is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Maryland, and an affiliate research scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California. In 2009, Schneider won SHRM's Michael R. Losey Excellence in Human Resource Research Award. 

Collectively, he notes, these 10 HR practices send a powerful cultural message that people are central to the planning, operations, strategy and success of every company. 

3. Coming Back from a Poor Interview

Few people are naturally good at job interviews. While the ability to turn job interviews into job offers is probably a professional's most important skill, many of us don't have it. Most people think that being good at your job is all you need to land job offers or win promotions, but that's incorrect. You must be able to package and sell your skills and accomplishments.

The secret to turning interviews into offers is simple: Turn the fear of the unknown—"What are they going to ask, and how do I respond?"—into the predictable. 

[For more career advice, visit SHRM's Career Preparation & Planning resource center.]

4. Finding an HR Job, Mid-Pandemic

In March 2020, Angelo Apollos informed 88 employees they no longer had jobs. He was the head of a North American HR team for a large travel software company, and he was one of three people tasked with delivering the message.

Ultimately, he knew his position would disappear, too.

Apollos expected to land a new role within three months despite the pandemic. It took nine months for him to obtain a position as HR business partner at Inovalon, a health care technology company.

A prolonged job search is especially difficult for HR professionals who feel they should be able to easily handle job seeking—after all, recruiting and hiring are big parts of what they do. They should have inside information that makes job seeking a breeze! But everyone needs support in this process. Here are a few tips for surviving (and maybe even enjoying) a job search. 

5. Rethinking Soft Skills in HR

Recruiters often emphasize the importance of so-called soft skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication—skills that are not specific to any particular job and can be applied to any role a worker takes on. Both job candidates and HR departments may need to re-evaluate their approach to these skills because while they are not technical, they are essential—particularly when it comes to being successful in HR.

Laura Mazzullo, founder and owner of East Side Staffing, a New York City-based recruiting firm focused on the placement of HR professionals, sees the term "soft skills" as a bit of a misnomer. She refers to them as "core cultural contribution skills"—skills that would allow a job candidate to make the greatest contribution to a company's culture.


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