Getting knocked back is tough. Yet in our competitive job market, it is a consistent reality for most job-seekers.
So how can we give ourselves an edge and stand out amongst the crowd in the gruelling job-seeking process?
If these are questions that have kept you awake in the middle of the night, keep reading, as we’ve spoken to an expert about five simple ways to get noticed and land the job you want in 2019.
With around 70 per cent of the job industry hidden (not advertised) finding a way to ensure you’re in the know when new opportunities arise is vital, to say the least.
Whether it is through networking and industry events, or internships and work placements, Edith Cowan University Careers and Employability Adviser Sara Moore said using these means to make meaningful connections was one way to get noticed within your chosen industry.
“Forming and nurturing these relationships with people within your industry can lead to job prospects in the future,” she said.
She said through extracurricular activities, you’ll put yourself on a potential employers’ radar, and you’ll be able to begin building your professional brand with them straight away.
Top tip: It is not about quantity, but quality, when it comes to making genuine connections. They won’t happen without zero effort, so take the time to get to know people, and stay in contact.
For most people, the word ‘interview’ will induce butterflies and get their palms sweating, unless you’re one of those enviable people who thrive on nerves.
Whatever your attitude towards this aspect of the job-seeking process, Ms Moore says self-knowledge and employer-awareness were two of the most important things to consider in an interview.
“Self-knowledge looks at your own capabilities, so come into the interview with examples of how you can do the role. Employer-awareness sees you researching the organisation and knowing what they value,” she said.
“In the interview, you can match the two, and show how your values and experience make you a good cultural fit for the job.”
Top tip: Always research the company you’re applying to work for. If their values don’t align with yours, or if their culture isn’t a good fit, that’s okay, not every job will be right for you.
The answer is yes, your employer will be delving into your social media accounts, and yes, that means you should delete some of your summer 2014 memories.
First up, let's talk security settings. Ms Moore says she is continuously surprised that people don’t review their privacy settings.
“If you have a presence online, you will need to audit your social media, and potentially turn on security settings,” she said.
But it isn’t all bad news, Ms Moore says in many industries social media will be utilised to attract and scan candidates.
As a focus on digital literacy grows in the workplace, she says social media is one way to showcase these skills, but you need to ensure the right message and personal brand is being presented.
Top tip: A personal brand isn’t built in a day, so if this is important to your future job prospects, spend time on your social media to share your story, and who you are.
But sigh, cover letters take so long, and according to Ms Moore, so they should!
When it comes to penning your cover letter, the most common mistake is making it generic.
“Your resume presents the facts, and your cover letter is your way to personalise these skills to the job and provide examples,” she said.
“It is like storytelling, you want to connect with the reader.”
She said job applications were about quality over quantity. Instead of applying haphazardly for 10 jobs per week, apply for two or three and really analyse the job and what they want. Treat it like a uni assignment, and give it the time and effort it deserves.
Top tip: If you’re applying for jobs, and haven’t heard of ATS, make sure you google it. Applicant tracking systems manage the many application processes online, and long story short, can immediately rule you out if you’re not using the right words in your application. Always thoroughly read and respond to the keywords in the job description.
Most of us have a Plan A, and if we’re super organised, potentially a Plan B, but according to Ms Moore, we should all have a plan A-Z when we’re considering our career.
“When we have just one plan, we can be disappointed,” she said.
“If you’re open-minded, you’re more curious and welcome more opportunities and unplanned events. You’ll meet new people, get out of your comfort zone, and become more aware of who you are.”
She said times had changed. In the past, many people had one job for life, but today they are realising it’s a big world out there with many different opportunities and experiences to be had. So why limit yourself to just one opportunity?
Top tip: If you’re feeling it’s time for a change, have you considered postgraduate study? Employers are always looking for a point of difference, and a postgraduate degree can give you that elusive edge.
Postgraduate qualifications can help people improve their career prospects or even change their careers. For more information on postgraduate study at ECU, visit the postgraduate webpage.
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