Don’t follow the crowd – success in job applications relies on much more than sending in a Resume.
I was having an informal chat yesterday with some friends, and we got on to the topic of finding work, as all of us had started a new job in the past 12 months. Comparing our experiences and admitting on how much harder it was to gain employment than it was a number of years ago and the added pressure of the inflated cost of living highlight what a different climate we live in.
I have to concur, I count my pennies a lot closer today than I used to. There isn’t that much disposable income in my household any more.
But while looking for work, it’s no longer enough just to troll the job boards and send in your resume. Employers are getting 350 to 500 applicants for vacancies today*. So you need to do a lot in order to stand out. Unfortunately it may not have a lot to do with your experience. It comes to using concise language, bullet points, and easy to read layout for your CV – and a killer Cover Letter!
Then, once you have their attention, they’ll look at your skills and experience.
It’s similar to Ballroom dancing competitions; you do all this training to perfect your routine… but that means little if the judges don’t see you. So dressing it up in a sparkly, sexy outfit; stunning hair and make-up to mesmerise the adjudicators is a must. Then while you are busting out the moves on the dance floor, you’re competing with many other couples. The dance track will go, on average for 1-3 minutes; and in that time a judge will watch you for maybe 5 seconds. So you need to make those five seconds count!
So, like a dancing competition, don’t dismiss the window dressing. It’s survival. Do what you can to make your application stand out and present your best qualities clearly. Employers and Recruiting Agencies have a limited amount of time to fill vacancies, and most will only glance at your resume before binning it.
On your job search don’t be afraid to use contacts, show your Cover Letter and Resume to friends, or better still, pop into a Recruiting Agency and ask a Consultant for their opinion. It’s free and they could shed some light on valuable tips to have you stepping into your dream job sooner rather than later.
Many job boards will integrate with Social Networking sites, so use people you know to help you find work. Set up an online profile for employers to check out. Make it impressive – add pictures, media clips, copies of certificates. In today’s age of connectivity, use what’s at your disposal. You can even network with professionals online to boost your reach and credibility.
Remember to put all your skills in your CV or profile. You’re more than your qualifications. What life experiences do you have? What are your dreams & hobbies? Employees want people with passion to join their team. Ask friends to help build your lists, they can be much more objective and identify aspects you overlook.
When you’ve done as much as you can, applied for the jobs you want – be prepared. If they call, many will be conducting a telephone interview as soon as you say ‘Hello?’ So keep notes on the job you applied for handy. Print out a copy of your Resume and Cover Letter so you can refer to it in a glance. The last thing you want to do is stammer through a phone conversation when being put on the spot.
I hope these points will help you – they definitely made the process much easier for me. And don’t forget…
You are outstanding! Be bold and ask for what you want.
*actual figure from feedback of 50+ employers and recruiting agencies in Victoria for the month of February 2014.
© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.