Competing in a Tighter Job Market

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Made redundant recently, or current project come to an end? If so, you may be finding it a bit of a challenge to get work at the moment, or at least to get work as quickly as before, particularly in industries such as mining or oil and gas. How do you address that? Perhaps it’s time to re-assess your approach. Here are some things you can do.

  • Remember, over 70% of all jobs are filled worth of mouth, so who are you talking to?
  • Registering on Linkedin, the professional networking site at https://www.linkedin.com may help. Take a peak, play with it, look out for names you know, make the connection. There are job listings as well and you can follow companies. If you do decide to register, it will take commitment to set up your profile and check in regularly to monitor areas of interest.
  • Now for your resume, fold the first page in half and look at what is listed in the top half. Will it make a recruiter want to read more? No? You may need to make changes as we know a resume gets between 10 and 20 seconds attention, sometimes less.
  • Is your resume e-recruitment tool compatible? In the 21st century it needs to be.
  • Check resume details, start at the top. Your personal details – has your address or phone number changed? If you have included your date of birth, delete, it might be working against you, even if you are young.
  • Your email address, is it a professional one or something like whackojacko@thrive.com? If a recruiter cherry picks your email address onto a spreadsheet or similar, which email address do you think will keep your name up front and centre, whackojacko@thrive.com or yourname@thrive.com? It’s best to use your name in a job search email address, and again, don’t use your birth year if you need to use a number.
  • Set up signatures in your email account. Include your name, your job title, email address and phone number, and Linkedin address too if you want. Use every opportunity like this to brand yourself.
  • Make sure you have your name, phone number and email address on each page of your resume.
  • Qualifications and training – are the details up to date? Add any recent training you have completed. Check the expiry dates of listed training and licences to ensure currency (and check your licence cards, e.g. your Licence to Perform High Risk Work to make sure renewal hasn’t escaped notice).
  • How long is it since you have undertaken any training to improve skills? Many of the large employers favour people who are continually value adding to skills, and yes, I know it costs, but it may be worthwhile.
  • Your most recent job, has it been added to your resume? You would be surprised how many people forget to do that.
  • How long is it since you spoke to your referees? With so many people working on short term contracts and projects, details can change quickly. Check-in with your referees, make sure they are still willing to be your referee and that all contact details are up to date. Tell them what your intentions are, who you are applying to. It’s an important conversation to have as referees can make or break a job application. They may also have the inside scoop on upcoming jobs. It has become important to include referee email addresses as many recruiters and employers are electing to send out questionnaires rather than phoning.
  • And finally, make sure your social media is squeaky clean, over 90% of employers and recruiters will google your name to see what comes up.

While not an exhaustive list, it will help to make changes knowing that just one small change might give you the competitive edge in getting over the line. Attention to detail, presentation and professionalism are important, particularly in a tight market.

Tips on choosing referees

Normally recruiters and potential employers like to see your most recent supervisors named as your referees as they are the person in authority with first-hand knowledge of your work. What happens then when you are not in the position to offer supervisors as referees, as in the case of people who have been self-employed and who are now seeking to return to work for someone else? It means widening the net. If you have been working in a self-employed role, think about professionals you may have dealt with often over the course of your self-employment, such as your accountant, a supplier, or a regular consistent purchaser of your goods or services. Another potential source is where you may have served long-term in a voluntary role with organisations such as the CFA or a local business group. Sourcing appropriate referees in these circumstances is not an insurmountable issue it just takes a little extra time and thought. And remember don’t just name an individual as your referee without first seeking their agreement to act in the role.To do otherwise may turn out to be an act of self-sabotage.

Let’s Talk Hair!

Sometimes a Mum or Dad will accompany their VCE son or daughter to a consultation with me as they support them in taking the first steps in their career. Often parents express a belief that their child should have their hair cut or changed to something more traditional as they believe it will go against them in a job interview otherwise. It is something that actually prompts needless friction between child and parent. For the most part, the truth is employers and recruiters are not bothered by a young person’s hair unless it poses a safety or hygiene risk. Other things are far more important in an interview than style or cut. When it comes to hair, the thing to remember is not to fiddle with, or groom it while in the interview.

Referee Details in Short Term Employment

If you are person who is working shutdowns, contract or project roles, often your referees are supervisors from each position worked. These supervisors are usually in the same situation as you, on a shutdown, contract or project, and just like you they move on when the job is complete. Some of them have company email addresses or mobile phones issued just for the duration of the gig. If you are not keeping in touch and checking details of your referees in this environment, then you are probably sabotaging your job applications as a prospective employer / recruiter will be unable to contact your referee. For each job you apply for, check that your referees are still working where you last had contact with them. If they have moved on to a new role and you want to show how you are linked to them, you can add a line to your resume that states they were (formerly the …….), so the employer /recruiter will be able to map the connection.

Meeting Selection Criteria

When choosing jobs to apply for, focus on job ads where you meet 70-80% or more of the selection criteria. To do otherwise is a waste of energy and most likely sets you up for disappointment. Repeat disappointments may lead to feeling demoralised, to the point of giving up or not caring. Take care of yourself and maintain focus on those jobs where you have the best chance of success.

File Names for your Job Search Documents

You may have used your name in the file name of your resume, but what about your other job search documents?

When scanning certificates and licences for uploading into online job applications, again, use your name as part of the file name, for example, Joe Bloggs Licences.pdf, or Joe Bloggs Licences.jpg; make sure though, that you have read the requirements relating to what type of files the recruiter/employer will accept, and strictly comply with that instruction.  Recruiters and potential employers have their reasons for those stated requirements.

At every opportunity, use your name in all file names related to your job search. It makes you easier to find.  It’s all about using every available opportunity to keep your name up front and centre.

Our values vs company values

When we find ourselves in the position of being unhappy in our job, often we can’t work out just why we are unhappy.  We trawl through the tasks we do and find that we enjoy most of them.  We mostly like the people we work with and the hours we work. So where does the problem lie?

The answer may be found in values. Our values vs company values. In drilling down to the core of the problem, quite often we find a lack of alignment between what we value and what our employer values. Try asking yourself this question. What behaviours tick me off at work?  Make a list. Then ask yourself this question.  Are these the same behaviours that tick me off in my personal life?  The answers to these questions give us a pretty good indication of the values we hold.

Sometimes, when we analyse the reasons for our unhappiness, the results are such that we are in a position to make changes that improve the situation. However, if a misalignment of values is the problem, and we have no control over employer values, it may be time to accept that the relationship is a mismatch, and it is time to move on. In moving on, we have learned a valuable lesson, to make sure as far as we can, that a potential employer’s values sit comfortably with our own.