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.
Have you never owned a mobile phone or acquired an email address? Are you a person doggedly resisting the technological age? In terms of applying for jobs in the 21st century what will this say about you, will it impact on your job search outcome? The answer to that question is almost certainly a resounding yes. If your reputation is such that employers are beating a path to your door, you might get away with it … for the rest of us, it’s an enormous risk.
Some debate exists around whether you should submit your resume in word or pdf format when applying online. My contribution to the debate is, read the job advertisement thoroughly. A significant number of ads state that your resume should be submitted in word format only. This is one of a number of costly mistakes people make when applying for jobs. If you are not submitting your resume in the requested format, not reading all of the material provided, not following the specified application instructions, or not downloading or requesting the position description, you are sabotaging your chances of success.
What do you not do, that you should be doing when applying for jobs?
Ensuring your email address and the email addresses of your referees are correct is critical in your job search. Those hyphens or full stops are important – don’t get caught out.
Try reading lots of job advertisements and position descriptions from a range of companies. Talk to others already working in your target field and then come back to yourself and evaluate your existing knowledge, skills and experience.
So how do you go about it? Search for, and read a variety of job advertisements from across the country for the job you want. Don’t just read local advertisements, as they will only give you a limited view, and you need to know standard requirements for the industry. Compare position descriptions, how do they differ, how are they the same, what are the common threads across each document? Talk to people working in the industry, how does their knowledge and experience fit with your research, how did they go about getting their job? Lastly, explore your own history. What have you done? What skills and experience have you gained? What challenges have you encountered and what are your achievements? What do you have to offer that the industry wants?
When you have done all those things, ask yourself how you measure up, what you need to do to enhance your chance of success in applying for jobs in your target field.
Online job sites are a great way for jobseekers to find job vacancies, near and far. Companies, businesses, organisations, large and small advertise vacancies on job sites. Some advertisements include closing dates for applications, some don’t.
What isn’t so great is a noticeable trend in advertisers removing their job vacancies before the closing date or within a few days of advertising. When asked why the advertised vacancy has been removed, the usual response is sufficient applications have been received.
In light of this trend, consider your current resume, that’s if you have one. Would you be remotely Resume ready should a job be advertised that you would like?
In choosing suitable individuals to list as your referees, answers to the following two questions are essential.
- What makes a good referee
- And secondly, how can you make your referee’s job easier and more effective?
Before answering these questions important ground rules and details relating to referees need to be thought about.
- Never list a person on your resume as a referee unless you have sought their agreement to the role.
- Make sure you have a minimum of two referees with a number of additional people if possible to draw from.
- You will need the name, current role and employer, (previous role and employer as well if that is where they supervised you), their email address and the contact telephone numbers of their choice. Make sure all details are kept up to date and correct if they have been on your resume for a while.
Now to the first question, what makes a good referee?
- They need to be someone who has supervised you, preferably in your current role, but if you don’t want your existing employer to know you are looking for another job, your immediate supervisor in your previous role.
- Use different referees for different job applications so that the best individual will speak to the specifics of the job you are applying for.
- If you are a school leaver approach your careers teacher or a supervisor where you undertook work experience.
- If you have been self employed and consequently don’t have supervisors who can assume the role of referee, look to your business associates who can speak to your work or characteristics, for example your business accountant, bank manager, a supplier or a satisfied repeat customer.
- The best referee will answer a resounding ‘Yes!’ without hesitation when asked the 64 million dollar question, ‘would you re-employ (insert your name here)?’ If you have any doubts they would answer with a resounding yes, use a different referee.
Secondly, how can you make your referee’s job easier and more effective?
- Speak to your referees about what you are doing, provide them with copies of the advertisements and position descriptions of the jobs you are applying for.
- Have a conversation with your referee and remind them how what you do or previously did, are connected to the job you are applying for.
And finally, in answer to the question of whether or not you should list your referees on your resume; there is no definitive answer. Personally, I come down on the side of making the recruiter’s job easier and so I list referees on resumes unless otherwise indicated.
Over to you now, what do you think your referees will say about you, have you considered and addressed all aspects relevant to the role of a referee? Are you making the most of this element of your job application?