In Australia, the winter months are typically a flurry of activity for jobseekers and recruiters.
June 30, the end of the financial year, signals new beginnings. Employers, having put off making hiring decisions until now are typically cashed up and motivated to seek new talent. And, as a handy coincidence, workers are getting itchy feet and long for something new and exciting.
So on one hand we have workers wanting a new job, and on the other, we have employers seeking new talent. Theoretically, this is a match made in heaven where demand meets supply.
Or does it?
Have you been looking for a job for a few months without success? If, so, let’s do a mid-year job search checkup.
Are you sending out hundreds of resumes and not getting an interview?
It’s time to look at two things: the jobs you’re applying for, and your resume.
You need to be absolutely realistic and honest with yourself. Are you applying for jobs for which you are well qualified? And… is your resume 100% targeted to the role you want to pursue?
- Apply for jobs where you have recent experience in the right industry. For example, if you are a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative and you want to break into the horticulture sector as a Tree Doctor, then you need to be aware that this is unlikely to happen overnight. Pursuing a change of career is an indulgent move for people with a financial buffer, not for those who are desperate and short of funds. If you need a job immediately, then apply for jobs where you are an exact match and put the dream job on the backburner until you can look from the luxury of a pay-packet.
- Look to your social network and stop your sole focus being on advertised jobs. What friend or former colleague can introduce you to a company and influence decision makers? An advertised job attracts hundreds, and sometimes thousands of candidates. Don’t put yourself in the largest pool where you are unlikely to be seen. Instead, leverage your relationships with people you know and who can act as your unpaid workforce. It is easier to get before decision makers through a recommendation, than to compete where you cannot climb high enough to get a competitive advantage.
- Review your resume critically. Is your resume targeted towards the position you want to get now or is it eulogising your past? Is your resume too long, too short; does it focus solely on duties and responsibilities instead of achievements? Perhaps it is so general and so dull that you’d have a hard time trying to convinced yourself to hire you! If you look at your resume and realise that it just is not selling you, then the next step is researching professional resume writers and paying to have professional help.
Are you confused after a highly successful telephone chat with a recruiter didn’t eventuate in an interview as promised?
Often you’ll receive a phone call from a recruiter and the two of you will just click. You have a laugh, the recruiter sounds impressed, you have the skills her client (the employer) needs. You know you’re going to get an interview. But then a week goes by and you start to wonder. Your call to follow-up yields a brick wall with the recruiter either being too busy to speak or you’re given a pretty lame excuse as to why you haven’t been considered.
Look to three things. People who know you and your reputation in the industry, someone who has stumbled over your online persona and doesn’t like what they see, or the job brief either being changed or filled internally.
- People who know you personally, and your industry reputation. It wouldn’t be the first time, particularly in tight-knit industries, to bump into people you know and didn’t like from another job. It is quite possible that when your name came up in front of the employer, he or she knew you (or an influential offsider did) from a previous life in another company. If that’s the case, there is not much you can do, other than to remember that the next time you throw an immature hissy fit, or undermine someone’s authority, it’s likely to come back to greet you later. The mere mention of your name will most likely stop your application in its tracks and no amount of pleading and stalking the job search consultant is going to get you before the employer.
- Your Online Reputation: Enthusiasm from your call melts when the recruiter returns to her desk and Googles your name to see a series of negative, angry rants across the internet on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more. Your online persona will indicate “TROUBLE” and particularly for high-profile positions, the job search consultant will not be advancing your application to the employer. Angry calls will only reinforce their beliefs of your unsuitability. What can you do? Attempt to rebuild your online persona. No swearing, no off-colour photos, no name-calling, no promoting questionable sites or activities. Instead replace the negative with a positive. Profiles on Linkedin, Google and starting a professional blog, along with more positive tweets will start to rebuild your online reputation.
- The job has changed, has been filled or never existed. Yes, it’s not fair. The company may have been looking to see whether external candidates stood up against their internal candidate and decided they liked their guy better. The employer may have revised the brief by adding extra experience and skills that you don’t have, or the agency were really just looking for business. Unless you want to antagonise recruiters, just accept it and move on. Sometimes things just don’t work out. It’s a pain, but you need to live with it because no amount of anger or whiny stalking is going to change the situation.
Are you getting an interview, but not getting to the job offer stage?
Forget about tweaking your resume. The sole job of your resume is to get you into an interview. If you are consistently getting interviews, then the resume has done its job. Save yourself the time and effort and instead….
Look at your interview skills. If you are always getting interviews and missing out on the final cut, then there is probably something amiss. If you are getting similar responses such as: you’re over qualified, you don’t have enough local experience, your skills are too broad-based, then you are clearly failing to communicate your value.
Think of regular communicators; for example, telemarketers.
Telemarketers are trained in the art of handling objections. They have a solution for whatever excuse you come up with, that (typically) aims to calm concerns and build trust.
It is the same with interviews. If the interviewer has doubts and objections after your interview, then you haven’t closed the deal. You haven’t calmed your interviewer’s concerns or provided a compelling reason to hire you.
The solution to this problem is not to leave the country in a huff, not to tweak your resume (again), but to do something different. Seek out an interview coach who can help you frame your experience and responses to negative perceptions. Recruiters/employers are looking for someone to make their jobs easy. If you provide them with an unbeatable proposition that answers all their concerns credibly and truthfully, then you’ll no longer be in that holding pattern of being the bridesmaid and never the bride.
So there is your mid-year check list. If something isn’t working for you, then take a new approach to resolving the problem. Continuing to repeat actions that have not worked before is quite simply, wasting your time.
I’m part of an incredible group of career professionals. We call ourselves the Career Collective and we post once a month on a specific career-related topic. See all my colleagues articles below. You can also follow us on #careercollective at Twitter.
- 4 Summer Strategies to Step Up Your Job Search, @DebraWheatman, #CareerCollective
- Putting Your Job Search Up On The Rack For Inspection, @dawnrasmussen, #CareerCollective
- Mid-Year Job Search Checkup: Are you wasting your time? @GayleHoward, #CareerCollective
- What is your unique value proposition? @keppie_careers, #CareerCollective
- It is Time for Your Check-up Ms/Mr Jobseeker, @careersherpa, #CareerCollective
- Mid-Year Career Checkup: Are You “On Your Game?” @KatCareerGal, #CareerCollective
- How to Perform a Mid-Year Job Search Checkup, @heatherhuhman, #CareerCollective
- Reposition your job search for success, @LaurieBerenson, #CareerCollective
- Mid-Year Job Search Checkup: What’s working and What’s not? @erinkennedycprw, #CareerCollective
- Mid-Year Job Search Check-Up: Getting Un-Stuck, @JobHuntOrg, #CareerCollective
- Mid-Year Check Up: The Full 360, @WalterAkana, #CareerCollective
- 5 Tips for Fighting Summer Job Search Blues, @KCCareerCoach, #CareerCollective
- Are you positive about your job search? @DawnBugni, #CareerCollective
- Where Are The Jobs? @MartinBuckland, @EliteResumes, #CareerCollective
- Mid-Year Job-Search Checkup: Get Your Juices Flowing, @ValueIntoWords, #CareerCollective
- When Was Your Last Career & Job Search Check Up? @expatcoachmegan, #CareerCollective
- Is Summer A Job Search Momentum Killer? @TimsStrategy, #CareerCollective
- Is It Time for Your Resume Checkup? @barbarasafani, #CareerCollective