For many young adults, it is now only a number of weeks before looking for a job becomes reality as the secondary and tertiary semesters come to an end. For the more seasoned worker, the end of the year often brings about a desire to explore other career options.
Whatever your situation, there are a number of steps you can put into place to avoid falling into the deep dark hole of ‘unsuccessful applications’.
1. Blindly applying online to every possible job is ineffective, not a great use of your time, and it certainly is not good for your self-esteem. With many businesses utilising Automated Tracking Systems (ATS) now, you will often receive an automated rejection, or worse still, no response at all, leaving you wondering just what did you do wrong. Limit your applications to include only jobs that match with your skills, experience and personality.
2. Planning is critical. Virtually every job requires you to meet specific goals, expectations and targets, and job search is no different. Your job search should be well planned and not on an ad-hoc basis, if you want it to deliver results. Simply going through the motions is counterproductive. Take the time to plan! My clients will attest to the fact that I have a firm belief that if you are looking for work, then, until you find work, your full time job is to find work!
3. Think outside the box. You must understand that you need to consider all options during your job search and this means thinking beyond job listing sites such as Trade Me, and Seek, or other online and social media sites. With an estimated 70-75% of jobs not even being advertised, it is imperative that you use your contacts, networks and other techniques as part of your job search.
4. Prepare for a less than 100% success rate. Dan Carter is arguably one of the world’s greatest rugby players and is a highly regarded goal kicker in modern rugby, ranking as the 6th best goal kicker in the 2015 season, yet his success rate was far from perfect at 77.6%. Throughout your job search, just like Dan Carter, you will miss opportunities too – and sometimes you will miss jobs that you really want. It’s important that you are prepared for this – it’s a true testament of your character and level of resilience. Be prepared to pick yourself up and try again.
5. Get your documentation right. Remember, your applications are often being screened out by a machine, and therefore you must change your approach and develop an up-to-date strategy that ensures your application actually gets past the system and through to human eyes. It is critical that your CV and Cover Letter contain key and relevant information that will work to get you through the automated process, and once there – gain the attention of the recruiter.
In today’s highly competitive job market, it is critical that you stand out from the competition, and employ a number of different strategies throughout your job search. You must take into account an increased use of technology, a greater level of competition, and the real need to employ a high use of initiative and variety in your job search.