Competing in a Tighter Job Market


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 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 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, or 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.

The Hidden Job Market

hand-68952_640Depending upon who you listen to, it is commonly stated that about 80% of all jobs are filled word of mouth.  Imagine that for a moment …….. 80% of all jobs are never advertised.  Whether the statistic is accurate or not and while it raises questions about how these figures were arrived at, most recruiters acknowledge the existence of the hidden job market and can cite evidence of its existence.

So who are your contacts in this hidden job market?  The simple answer is they are your personal network which can include family and friends; friends of friends, current and former work colleagues, or even people in a church, sporting or interest group you might belong to. When asking people how they got their job, often you hear a comment like “I heard about it through a friend” or “someone I used to work with told me about it” or “I played golf with someone the other day who was talking about it.”

It is not uncommon to see resistance in people when you talk about this hidden job market, as they often feel uncomfortable about asking those closest to them if they know anyone who is looking for a worker. Some of the reasons for this include feeling embarrassed, a sense of failure, thinking that people will look down on them or that they can’t get a job on their own. It is worth remembering at this point just how many jobs are filled through word of mouth; it is far, far more common than you think. So try it, you might be surprised at the result and a little bit of embarrassment might be a small price to pay.

Then there is online networking, but that’s a whole other article!