Things to do to get a job quickly
We all change jobs for a multitude of reasons; a career that is going nowhere, a toxic work environment, an unreasonable boss, new skills, or a desire to follow our dreams. No matter how much we want something new, one thing is for sure: the process of submitting applications, writing letters and attending interviews is tedious and time consuming, and most of us could probably think of a thousand things we’d rather be doing. Obviously, we would all prefer a job search that is quick, efficient and easy; you apply, you’re interviewed, you’re shortlisted and you receive a job offer.
A quick and easy job search to get a job quickly usually incorporates the following factors:
- You have current experience in the same industry for which you are applying.
- You are currently at a similar level to the position being advertised.
- Your skill set and those being advertised are a match.
- You are approachable and an able communicator; the entire ‘package’.
- You are widely known and have a good reputation in the industry.
- There are no obstacles that will prevent you starting quickly.
- You are not seeking a senior-level role (CFO, CIO, CEO, COO and higher).
- You are seeking a job outside your current industry. First-hand industry experience is frequently more important than the job itself. Knowing how the industry works, identifying the key players and having access to the right people is highly desirable from an employer’s point of view. While someone from a different industry may bring in new ideas and a fresh perspective, employers are usually looking for the tried and true.
- You are looking to make a significant move in leadership. It is easier to secure a promotion in your existing company where they know you, than asking for a new employer to take a chance on your potential. You have ambition; those competing against you may have more than a decade of leadership experience. It is a hard sell, but can helped by industry knowledge, a good reputation, and skills considered ‘hot’ in the marketplace.
- You have a skill set in an industry in decline, or in a technology that is dated. Dated technologies can make you a ‘guru’ where legacy systems remain in large companies; however if you don’t update or transition your skills, those systems will disappear along with the need for your services. Don’t bank on the fact that your long expertise in a rapidly declining technology or industry makes you more desirable. Positions come and go, industries come and go. Meantime, you can improve you chances if you have a solid network of people who sing your praises. These people may have worked with you in the past and will recall your successes. They are your greatest supporters, so nurture your relationships with them.
- You only have some of the required skills and need more training. Applying for a job where you have fifty to seventy per cent of the listed skills makes you an outside chance at best. There will be people competing against you who have 100% of those skills and long-term experience using them and this will make them the ‘must have’ candidate. If you are keen to break into a new industry, then identify gaps in your skills and pursue training to acquire them.
- You are applying for a role that has less responsibility than your current position. Many job seekers think applying for jobs that they were doing ten or more years ago, will be a no brainer for the employer. After all, why wouldn’t a company want someone with this added-value? Well, there is more to hiring an individual than just his skill set. A new hire must fit in with the existing team, the culture, and fit the employer’s succession plans. If a former CIO joined a team of 20-something customer service officers, it would seem like “Dad” had joined the department. Without knowing it you may start to repress their enthusiasm, start to manage them or give them the benefit of your experience; all great value adds from your perspective, but not the employer who is looking for a trainable young person on the rise. You’ve heard the ‘over qualified’ speech from a recruiter? That’s why. You are diminishing your value. Either apply for roles for which you are properly qualified and are at your level, or if you are looking at scaling back, consider consulting where you can make your own hours and choose when to work.
- You are relying on experience from several years ago to position you for the advertised role. Whatever the reason for the gap between what you used to do and what you want to return to, you’re going to find it a difficult sell in the market. The perception will be that your skills are outdated and you will be competing with people who have current experience in that role and industry. It is not impossible to return to what you want, but it will take longer. You will need to rely on a professional with a vision to present your skills properly initially and then later, an employer who shares that vision to hire you. Using non-traditional routes for job search, hiring a professional resume writer to sell your skills, and nurturing your network are your best bets.
- You have been out of the workforce for some time either bringing up family, caring for parents, through ill health or incarceration. Again, using your network to pave the way for you is more likely to succeed than applying for jobs through the traditional job application route. The longer you have been out of work, the more your skills will be considered outdated. Training would help.
- You are currently unemployed and have been unemployed for more than six months. This doesn’t apply for executives where gigs tend to be few and far between and the average job search may be six months or more; after all, there are only so many $200,000+ jobs around). However if you are seeking roles that match your experience, skill set, industry and age, and you’re still unemployed, then red flags will fly. People want people who are wanted. It’s that simple.
- You need your employer to sponsor you for a working Visa. You may be the most wonderful, highly skilled professional in the world, but an employer will take one look at the government paperwork required to facilitate a new employee and get cold feet quickly. Large companies are often unafraid of jumping through these bureaucratic hoops however, but you had better have a unique skill set that is unavailable despite a nation-wide search. Executives with top-level experience, strong reputations and a proven track record are the exception with many companies willing to go to great lengths to secure such a professional. Regardless, the job search is always going to be longer than the norm.
- You are seeking an international placement from your home base. Looking for a job in one country while you live in another, is difficult. Often you have no idea if your application has been received by the correct parties and time zone issues can limit communications. Employers are fearful as to how long it may take you to settle and you can’t arrive for an interview the next day if needed. Your chances are improved when the role is at senior level, you have a global reputation, and a network of cheerleaders to validate your expertise.
- You are applying for a role where you are not a ‘fit’ with the culture. Do you visit the company, or view the website and see an emphasis on youth? Is the reception desk fronted by a young woman who could moonlight as a catwalk model? If you don’t fit that culture, then apply elsewhere. Are you a woman in a man’s world or vice versa? You may find your job search extended if you are outside the company’s vision. Using your network will help you break through and be seen. Your reputation will help.
- You are looking for a part-time / job sharing position. Just about every mother with a small child yearns for a part-time or job sharing position and it is not unusual for such a role to receive hundreds of applications where you can simply get lost in a crush of competitors. Your best bet is to seek out your prior employer and if you were valued there, pitch them the value of retaining your services part-time.
- You are hanging out for the right salary. Many people get a salary number in mind and will knock back great jobs and good offers based on what they believe is their value. But markets change and a reality check is needed. Your salary package prior to the global financial crisis may not be possible in the market today. You are only worth what the market is willing to pay. As time goes by, particularly if you are unemployed, holding out for a salary match to a bygone era is counterproductive, may smack of greed, and could speak volumes about your ability to understand current trends. Remember there is more to a job than the salary alone. If you are unhappy where you are, try putting a dollar value on emotional turmoil, your health, and how your situation affects your family.