It’s the New Year, we’ve made it past the festive season and all it entails with presents, family, food, drinks and merriment. The end of the year and the beginning of a new one can be a time to reflect on how far we’ve come over the past 12 months. It may also have many of us asking the question, where do I want to go? If the conclusion you draw is that it’s time for you to start searching for a new job, you’re not alone.
Google data tells us that the term ‘job’ is searched for more in January than any other time of the year, with over 1.1 million searches across Australia and New Zealand. A higher number of active job searches means if you’re looking for a new role in January or February, the job the market is competitive.
The good news is that jobs are out there. According to Talent’s Practice Lead, Carly Llorente, the first few months of 2019 are shaping up to be very active. ‘We are already seeing an increase in job opportunities due to big projects of work being approved. Government, IT and Digital sectors are full steam ahead making up for the inevitable lag over the holiday period.’ Carly warns that there is also an influx of applicants, ‘so candidates need to be on their game!’
Here are some tips to help you break from the pack when searching for a job in a competitive market.
If you are beginning your search you need to…
Keep your resume updated. Don’t wait until you see the job you want advertised before you look at your resume. Keep a good resume template and ensure it’s updated. Go back every few months, read over it and have it ready to be easily customised to a specific job.
Try your best to apply within 24 hours of the job being advertised.
Your application will be less likely to be buried under the stack of qualified applicants who applied first. Waiting a few days or until the weekend might see you lose the opportunity all together.
‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’ – Benjamin Franklin
Learn about the organisation’s products and services, areas of growth, financial performance, management team, company culture and its place in the industry. This information will help you understand how you might fit and add value to the company. If you’re applying for a role, it is more than likely many things about the company have attracted you, but it’s always worth finding out more and this information will help you when you get to the interview stage of the hiring process.
If your resume makes it off the pile and into the hiring manager’s hands, here are some areas to focus on to help set you apart in a competitive market.
In a competitive job market, it’s often the quality of the references that will set you apart. Make sure your referees are relevant, willing and informed. Have you briefed them about the job you are applying for and asked them to be your reference? It’s also worth providing your referees with a few dot points about the projects you worked on together and some helpful details about the job history you had with them e.g. period of time you worked together, the KPI’s you worked towards.
Research the role and if you’ve been given a job description, study it. It’s like a cheat sheet revealing most of what you are going to be asked in an interview. Make sure you have relevant examples of work experience relating to each point outlined in the skills and experience section. If there is a skill or experience required that you don’t have, prepare an answer to address the gap. This is an opportunity for you to talk about transferable skills you may have that will help you in this area.
Find a recruiter
Enlisting the support of a recruiter can help you launch a more effective job search. Finding the right recruiter who values you as a candidate and has connections with employers in your industry will be vital to your job search success. They can help showcase your personal strengths, assist with interview preparation and recommend you to your future employer.
If you’ve applied for a job and made it to the stage of speaking to a hiring manager or even interviewing for the role it’s beneficial for you to follow up with that person. In a follow up email you can thank the interviewer for their time and further expresses your enthusiasm for the job. The email can also highlight your talents and how they align to the role, it allows you to elaborate on any points from your interview and it lets the hiring manager know you are focused and determined.
Don’t give up
It might be a long process. Successfully changing jobs requires timing and opportunities to be aligned, and often we don’t have much control over these things. Focus on the above points, what you can control and keep going.