How to take control of your job search and get results

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to take control of your job search and get resultsWhen you’re hunting for a job, there are so many factors outside of your control that it can make the process feel stressful and overwhelming. But there are plenty of factors you can manage too. So if you’ve been searching without much success, it could be time to take control! Here are six ways you can do it.

  1. Get some perspective – It’s tough out there. Being turned down numerous times can be discouraging. But sometimes we get caught in a negative mindset when things aren’t actually as bad as we think. Try bringing a fresh perspective to your job search. Recognise that it’s a process that takes time and commitment, and set some realistic expectations about the work involved. Give yourself a decent period of concerted effort before you even think about feeling disheartened.
  2. Be over-prepared – You can’t control your competition but you can control your own performance. That means presenting an application that responds to all the requirements of the role, and being as prepared as possible in an interview. Get clear on what you offer and where your strengths lie, and be prepared to talk confidently about yourself and your achievements. Make an effort to understand the company and/or the industry to understand and articulate how you might be able to solve a challenge or contribute to the company’s success.
  3. Be clear about your value – Recruiters are time-poor so make it easy for them to see your value. Review the job ad and ensure your application ‘matches’ what they are searching for. Sometimes companies rely on an applicant tracking system to filter applications. Other times, a less experienced team member might complete a first review. This means you need to be very specific about your experience and capabilities, using keywords such as exact titles and important words and phrases used in the job ad.
  4. Demonstrate success – Past performance is a clear indicator of future success. Detail previous accomplishments to show employers what you might be capable of in a new role. This is important in your application (including your cover letter, resume and any selection criteria response), but also in an interview. Come armed with stories about your successes that you think the employer will relate to and that align with the organisation’s goals.
  5. Access the hidden job market – Many jobs are never advertised; instead they’re found on what we call the ‘hidden job market’. Word of mouth is your way in, so get networking with people in your industry, connect with appropriate recruiters, join relevant LinkedIn Groups and keep building and using your LinkedIn profile. Develop a standard pitch about why you want to connect and what you can offer, then set up meetings with potential recruiters or introducers to discuss opportunities. Think about companies you’d like to work for, then read their online careers page and follow them on social media. Let your network know you are seeking new opportunities. There are many ways to connect with your network so use them all: phone calls, emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, professional association seminars, and in-person and online networking groups.
  6. Be realistic – Be honest about what you can realistically offer a new employer. It’s tempting to apply for more senior or challenging roles, which is great (it’s important to expand our potential!), but make sure that what you’re applying for is attainable. If you’re not hearing back from companies you’ve applied to, put yourself in the employer’s position. What do you look like on paper? You may believe you have what it takes, but if you can’t demonstrate that, you might lose out to another candidate who already has the relevant experience.

Today’s job market is competitive and the job search process can feel daunting. But that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve success. If you’ve been feeling discouraged about your job search, it might be time to take back control!

 A customised job search strategy and a tailored, professionally prepared application can make a huge difference to your job search. Need some help? Take a look at our Job Search Coaching Services and Resume Writing Services.

 

Busted: common recruitment myths

Article by Belinda Fuller

In a crowded job market, it can be difficult to stand out. This is particularly true if you believe some of the common recruitment myths. Read on for a list of the myths we hear most often, so you can rethink your application approach and give yourself a better chance for success.

MYTH: You should apply for as many jobs as possible

FACT: While broadening your horizons is often a good thing, we believe quality is more important than quantity when it comes to the jobs you go for. Applying for some well-chosen roles and tailoring your application to ensure you hit the mark for each one will most likely give you better results in the long run.

MYTH: You won’t get the job without experience

FACT: There are many exceptions to this, so don’t let that belief hold you back. If you demonstrate the right attitude and transferable skills, you may have a shot. Think about existing skills and achievements that make you an asset. Network with people you’d like to work for or with and attend relevant industry events. Companies really value cultural fit these days so show the employer what you have to offer, using passion and commitment to make up for your lack of experience.

MYTH: Your resume needs a unique design

FACT: This can actually be a hindrance. In most cases, an elaborate or unusual design isn’t a good idea since it can detract from your message and make it harder for a recruiter to find what they’re looking for. (The exception may be if you’re in a creative industry). The content you include is more important than design, although it must look professional, of course. It’s best to stick with a clean, simple style with a conventional layout. Aim for a contemporary design that attracts the recruiter’s eye without overwhelming or polarising.

MYTH: Your resume must be no more than one or two pages

FACT: Keeping your resume too short can mean you don’t effectively showcase your capabilities. We recommend three to five pages depending on your role, industry and seniority unless otherwise specified in the job ad. Some countries such as the US and Canada prefer shorter resumes so make sure you adjust the length accordingly.

MYTH: You shouldn’t apply for a job unless you meet all the requirements

FACT: We often recommend to clients that they apply for jobs where they meet at least 80% of the requirements. Only applying for roles where you have all of the experience and qualifications stated may limit your chances for growth and development. Plus an employer isn’t necessarily looking for someone who’s done the exact same role before – rather, they want someone who they believe can do a great job now and into the future.

MYTH: You don’t need a cover letter

FACT: You usually have a very short amount of time to grab the recruiter’s attention (some recruiters say 20–30 seconds). A cover letter provides a great opportunity to customise your content to the role and show why you think you’re the ideal candidate, to help your application stand out. It allows you to share information about yourself (as it relates to the role) that you can’t include in your resume. A tailored cover letter also shows the recruiter you’re serious about the role.

MYTH: Working with one or two specialist agencies is the best approach

FACT: Many of our clients tell us they’re working with a great recruiter who specialises in their industry and will find them a suitable role. But recruiters work for employers and they’re usually hired exclusively for a role. As a candidate, you need exposure to more employers, which means you should be working with as many recruiters as possible. This also means doing a lot of legwork yourself. Sign up to job boards, research companies you’d like to work with and network with people in the industry to make sure you know about the jobs on offer.

MYTH: You should include a photo on your resume

FACT: You should only do this if you’re a model or an actor. The initial decision about your suitability for an interview is based on your capabilities, experience and accomplishments, not what you look like. Including a photo on your resume can also make it look a little dated, as this is an out-of-date practice. However, you should always include a photo on your LinkedIn profile (make sure it’s a professional-looking head shot). Want to learn more about how to supercharge your LinkedIn profile? Read our top four tips here.

MYTH: Your resume should include your entire work history

FACT: We generally recommend going back 10 years, and beyond that, including some background or summary information if relevant. So long as your recent career history is relevant to the role you’re applying for, we recommend limiting your content to that.

There are many factors involved in securing a new role and if you’re finding it tough, you’re not alone. Have any of the common recruitment myths above been holding you back? If so, you might need to change your approach – and you could just find it opens up new possibilities.

Are you confused about the recruitment process and feeling disheartened? Our professional writers can help you prepare a winning resume, cover letter or job application. See our Resume Writing Services to learn more.

7 job application mistakes to avoid

Article by Belinda Fuller

7 job application mistakes to avoid When you’ve spotted a great job and you’re preparing your job application, it can be tempting to rush it. You want to get it in quickly and it can all feel a bit tedious. But since your application is your first (and sometimes only) chance to show why you’re suitable for the role, it’s important to pay attention.

If you’re applying for roles and not hearing back from recruiters, you might be making some of these common job application mistakes. So what do you need to avoid?

Mistake 1: Typos ­– Spellcheck and proofread all your application material meticulously. Spelling and grammatical errors are still a primary reason applicants are rejected, and it’s a mistake that’s easy to avoid. For any online responses, we suggest writing your response in Microsoft Word or Google Docs first, then copying it over once you’re happy. Feel free to use the spellchecker but make sure you also read everything multiple times to correct any incorrect autocorrects! Plus, your spellchecker won’t pick up on everything. Ideally, you should also have someone else read through your materials.

Mistake 2: Ignoring selection criteria requirements – Not addressing the criteria is a key mistake, but reordering them or not adhering to page, word or character limits are also big no-no’s. Don’t be tempted to rewrite or re-order specified criteria. Respond to it exactly as it appears in the job description, address the points they’re looking for and take careful note of page and word limits. You can provide other relevant ‘value add’ information in your resume and/or cover letter.

Mistake 3: Too much information – We regularly receive resumes from clients that are 10 or more pages long. No recruiter will read that much detail so determine what’s most important and cut the rest. Aim for a maximum of 3–5 pages. Use short, sharp paragraphs (5–6 lines) and plenty of white space. Break it up into clearly defined sections using subheadings and bullet points, and if you’ve held multiple (similar) jobs in the one company, consider grouping them rather than giving each one a new heading.

Mistake 4: Incorrect document file format – ­ Make sure you follow any instructions about the document file format to use; for example, some job ads ask you to submit a PDF or MS Word document only. Many recruiters can’t open documents saved in Pages for Mac or other open-source or less-common formats. We recommend sending your document in MS Word format if the ad doesn’t specify.

Mistake 5: Not personalising your cover letter – Taking time to address your letter correctly can make a difference. If there is a name listed in the job ad, do a quick LinkedIn search to find out their correct job title and look at the company’s website to find their address. If no name is provided, add in the company’s address and attention the letter to the Recruitment Manager.

Mistake 6: Not customising your application – It’s important to tweak the content of both your cover letter and resume to suit the job requirements. Clients often ask us to write a ‘general’ resume or cover letter they can use for a range of different roles. By taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach, you miss an important opportunity to show why you’re ideal for the role and you may end up appealing to no one. If other applicants have highlighted more specific and relevant experience and skills, there’s a good chance they’ll be selected for an interview over you.

Mistake 7: Excluding contact details – If a recruiter likes what they see, they may want to call you immediately for a quick telephone screen or to organise an interview. Make it easy for them by including your email and mobile number in a prominent place on all application materials. And ensure your voicemail greeting is professional and friendly. (Read more about why your voicemail greeting may be hindering your chances of getting an interview.)

Many job applications contain mistakes – make yours stand out by eliminating any errors. Check, double check and triple check your application and ensure your content is clear, concise and relevant to the role you’re applying for.

Are you failing to get results from your job applications and feeling frustrated? Our professional writers can help you prepare a winning resume or job application. See our Resume Writing Services to learn more.

How to answer: “What interests you about this role?”

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to answer: “What interests you about this role?” The latest instalment in our ‘How to answer’ series looks at the question “What interests you about this role?” This very general question can seem tricky to answer – exactly what should you focus on? Often it’s another way for the recruiter to ask “Why should we hire you?”. It’s not enough to simply say “I’m a great fit for the role”. Instead, your answer needs to touch on your relevant abilities, skills and experiences as well as demonstrate your interest in the company. It’s an opportunity to show why you’re ideal for the job and why you’re excited about it.

You should ideally frame your answer in a way that shows enthusiasm (for the role and the company) and understanding (of the role, the company and how you can add value). It’s essential to research the company and role beforehand and have a strong answer prepared. When considering your response, we recommend you focus on three key areas: the job, the company and how you fit. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about these areas and what your answer might sound like.

The job

  • Talk about your priorities and preferences – identify three key things you really like about the role.
  • Discuss areas of the role in which you excel and support those with examples using the STAR technique. These examples should demonstrate your accomplishments and success in the context of the role you’re applying for.
  • Mention the opportunities the role offers to further develop special knowledge or skills.

Example: This role really interests me because I’d be responsible for X, Y and Z. In my current role, I manage X and Y, and I’ve excelled at providing X to various internal and external stakeholders. I’m keen to continue building on that success while also developing specialist expertise in the area of Z.

The company

  • Mention the company’s reputation or history of success (if relevant) or discuss a recent innovation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding or appreciation of the work culture (based on what you’ve learnt through friends, colleagues, media etc.).
  • Talk about a problem or issue that you know needs to be addressed (and your interest in supporting or participating in that process).

Example: I also value the company’s long history of success in the market and recent innovations that are seeing significant market share gains. I heard about the issue with distribution of ABC – I faced a similar problem in my last role, which we solved by rethinking the customer experience. I’d love to be able to contribute to something similar again.

Your fit

  • Compare the job description with your experience, and explain how you’ll be able to contribute, again using examples from your past to demonstrate success.
  • Discuss your fit with company culture.
  • Mention your interest in career progression (if relevant).
  • Talk about any experience you have with the company (for example, that you use their products or services).

Example: My previous experience and success would help me to achieve some quick wins in certain areas, including XXX. I’m also excited at the prospect of learning more about XXX. The company’s mission aligns with my own professional values and I believe I’d be a great fit culturally. I loved what I read in the recent article by the CEO about the initiatives the company is undertaking to ensure ongoing enhancement to culture and employee engagement.

As with all interview questions, remember to answer the “What interests you about this role?” question strategically and with enthusiasm. Give the recruiter something to think about – a point of differentiation from the next candidate. Work out a response that includes something about the role you’re going for, the company and your suitability, and you’ll come off looking great.

Do you struggle with answering questions like this during interviews? If you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, so you can build your confidence and increase your success rate, take a look at our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

 

How to create your best ever job application

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to create your best ever job applicationWhat’s the best way to stand out during the application process and get yourself an interview? In today’s job market, it’s common for recruiters to receive upwards of 100 applications for one role, so there has to be something special about yours. Here’s how to give yourself the best chance of success.

Customising your job application to suit the specific requirements of a role is one of the most effective things you can do to secure an interview. When we talk about a ‘job application’, we’re referring to a collection of documents: your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and response to any selection criteria or specific questions.

While you might think it’s too hard or time consuming to customise this content every time, we encourage you to look at your application from the recruiter’s perspective and ask yourself ‘What’s in it for them?’ Your application should immediately present you as someone who can add significant value in the role. If it doesn’t do that, you’re not giving yourself the best opportunity to succeed.

Follow these steps to create your best ever job application.

Step 1. Research: Read the job ad carefully. If possible, obtain a more detailed job description from the recruiter and identify exactly what’s required. Highlight skills or experience that seem important and make notes. If you know the company, view their website and search for any news or recent activity that may impact on the job. And take some time to understand the corporate culture. Emulating the kind of language the company uses and/or writing just one sentence in your cover letter referencing a current challenge or opportunity for the company could mean the difference between success and failure at this initial stage.

Step 2. Sell yourself: If you don’t show the recruiter you have what they’re looking for, you probably won’t succeed. This process is simple once you know their pain points (i.e. problems) because you can clearly demonstrate how you have the best solution. Again, customisation is important, so make sure your documents address as many of the role requirements as possible. Use previous successes and achievements to show how you’ve added value in the past.

We recommend including a strong, carefully crafted career profile as the first section of your resume that gives a snapshot of your skills and experience. This also applies to your LinkedIn profile summary – you can tailor that section to cover off the key skills and attributes required in the role you’re applying for. In LinkedIn it’s not necessary to do this for every role, but if there is a role you’re applying for that involves new, different or unique skills that aren’t covered in your profile, you should incorporate them.

Selling yourself throughout your job history is also important. Within each role listed on your resume, provide examples of projects, successes and accomplishments where you added value.

A cover letter provides another important place to ‘sell yourself’ and is a great opportunity to customise content to the specific role and clearly state why you think you’re the ideal candidate.

Step 3. Use keywords: Once you know the top attributes a recruiter is looking for in a candidate, you can create a customised checklist of key capabilities. Your resume should already contain a section highlighting your key skills or capabilities. To tailor this section, check the job ad for important keywords and incorporate those into your list, and re-order your list so the most important/relevant skills come first. You can go one step further by rewording those points to suit the role.

Again, this applies to LinkedIn too – check you’ve covered off the main areas within your ‘Skills and Endorsements’ section. Writing a customised cover letter also allows you to use keywords – and it’s one of the best ways to make your application stand out. Research has shown that you literally have seconds to make a good first impression. If a recruiter receives a large number of applications, having a cover letter that highlights key skills, experience and achievements that are highly relevant to the role you’re applying for will help you get noticed.

Step 4. Tweak your experience: For certain people, getting strategic about how they present their experience in their resume is a good idea. But we only recommend doing that in the following cases:

1) When recent experience is not relevant. You can reorder roles to prioritise relevant experience from your earlier work history. Simply create a new section called ‘Relevant Employment History’, then move your most recent and other irrelevant roles to a later section called ‘Other Employment History’. This ensures the recruiter sees your relevant experience first but the section title will make it clear why that experience is not recent.

2) When you have 15+ years’ experience. We usually recommend going back 10–15 years in your resume – so long as that job history provides a good picture of your experience in the context of the role you’re applying for. Any more than that will unnecessarily date you, while also potentially providing too much information for the recruiter to read. Think of your resume as a concise sales tool rather than a lengthy list of everything you’ve ever done. However, be guided by the job ad – if it says you need 20 years’ experience then include it.

3) When you’ve been out of work for some time. We generally don’t recommend including hobbies or other interests in your resume (you can list anything relevant on LinkedIn), but if you’ve been out of the workforce for a while – or you’re new to it – you could include experience outside of full-time work. Think about things you’ve done that highlight your suitability for the role, such as freelance, consulting or volunteer work. List them in a similar way to your other jobs, with the role, organisation, dates and description of what you did.

If you’re serious about landing a great job, preparing a customised application for every role you apply for is something you should make time for. While it might seem tedious, the reward outweighs the effort. Be selective about the roles you apply for and create an application that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Would you like help preparing a top-quality job application or LinkedIn profile that helps you secure your dream job? Our experienced writers can help you create a professional resume, customised cover letter and LinkedIn profile designed to make employers sit up and take notice. To find out more, read about our Services.

How to craft a perfect career elevator pitch

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to craft a perfect elevator pitchFinding a job is a bit like a sales process. You are the candidate but you’re also the product – with features, benefits and great potential! So it’s important to position yourself well. Having an ‘elevator pitch’ about yourself as a job candidate can be hugely helpful. It lets you sum up your value and expertise in a compelling way – and then deliver it quickly and succinctly.

The idea of an elevator pitch is said to come from the old Hollywood studio days, when a screenwriter would catch an unsuspecting executive on an elevator ride and quickly pitch their idea. But have you ever thought about having your very own career elevator pitch?

Having a great pitch is important for a number of reasons. Imagine finding yourself in an elevator (or a coffee queue) with the hiring manager of the job you’ve always dreamed of. What would you say? It’s also a good way to start the conversation in a face-to-face interview or during a phone screen. Being able to clearly and succinctly articulate who you are, what you’ll bring and what you want from your next job is an essential job-search skill.

Creating your pitch

Below are some steps to follow that will help you develop a concise pitch that’s focused on your background and immediate goals, but also shows value in what you offer. Writing down your elevator pitch helps you get it right. Reading it out loud helps you refine it and ensure it rolls off the tongue.

  1. Who are you? Start by introducing yourself with your full name and a pleasantry such as, “Thanks for seeing me” or “It’s great to meet you!”
  2. What do you do? Provide a brief summary of what you do and where you’ve come from. You should include the most relevant information to the role you’re pitching for. That might include qualifications, work experience, personal attributes, and/or other specialties. If you’re not sure what to include at this point, just write everything down that comes to mind and refine it later.
  3. What do you want? Explain what you’re looking for. You might ask for the job, request some advice about a role or organise a meeting to discuss next steps. The ask should include why you’d be a good fit. You want to get your message across about what you’re looking for, but you also want to convey what’s in it for them (the recruiter).
  4. Now read back over what you’ve written and trim it down to 75–100 words. Delete any words that feel clunky or distract from your main point. Make it relevant, concise and easy to understand with no industry jargon.

Delivering your pitch

  • Talk with confidence and make it conversational. Don’t speak too fast and try not to sound rehearsed.
  • By memorising a general outline or key points, you’ll be able to modify your pitch to suit the situation. When you’re going for a job interview, review the job ad or role description and make sure you know your pitch in relation to that role.
  • If you’re approaching someone outside of an interview, there’s a chance they won’t be open to your pitch. If that’s the case, stop and ask if you can call or email them instead.

Examples of an elevator pitch

In a job interview, my pitch might look something like this (after the introductions): “Thanks so much for seeing me today – I was thrilled to get the call. I’ve been with Katie Roberts Career Consulting for more than 10 years, during which time I’ve helped more than 1,500 people search for a new role. My background is in marketing communications and I’ve also worked on the Katie Roberts blog and newsletter for almost six years now. When I saw this role combining marketing and career consultancy, I was very excited. I’d love the opportunity to leverage my marketing skills and career market understanding to develop your new website further.”

If I bumped into someone whose company I’d like to work for, it might look more like this: “Hi, my name is Belinda. It’s great to meet you! I’ve been following you on Instagram for some time now. I’m a career consultant with 10 years’ experience helping people develop their LinkedIn profiles and prepare complex job applications. I’ve also worked on a leading career advice blog for almost six years, and held a number of senior marketing communications roles before that. I’ve seen your website and love the fresh, innovative concepts. I think my background could work really well for you. Would you mind if I called you next week to talk about how I might be able to help you?”

Great job seekers know their career elevator pitch and how to customise it depending on who they’re talking to. Spend some time getting yours right and you’ll boost your job-search efforts and strengthen your personal brand.

If you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, so you can build your confidence and increase your success rate, take a look at our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

How to choose the right keywords to secure your next job

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to choose the right keywords to secure your next jobApplying for a job these days usually involves sending your resume electronically, which may then be processed using an applicant tracking system. Recruiters and organisations are also increasingly using LinkedIn to recruit. This means that using keywords is an essential part of getting your application seen and demonstrating that you’re the best person for the role. Here’s how to identify the right keywords and use them effectively so you can get the job you want.

A high percentage of resumes are now scanned using applicant tracking systems (ATS), which means your resume may not even be seen by human eyes – unless it makes it through the initial round of scanning. More organisations are also using LinkedIn to find candidates. That means you need to use the right keywords in your resume, online profile and other content if you want your application to be seen.

A keyword is simply a specific word, set of words or phrase that relates to or describes a job, skill or experience. They can be general or specific – for example, ‘general manager’, ‘administrative assistant’, ‘report writing skills’ and ‘agile software development’ are keywords that a recruiter might use to search for candidates.

Regardless of the job you’re applying for, there are some common principles for selecting and using keywords effectively. Here are our top tips.

  • Your name: Use your full name and ensure your online profile is consistent with your resume and other application documents. For example, if your resume says Greg Smith but your LinkedIn profile says Gregory C Smith, you’ve made it difficult for a recruiter to connect the two. There’s no need to include your full birth name if that’s not your preferred name. While we don’t recommend using nicknames, we do advise shortening (for example, Christopher to Chris) if that’s how you’re known in the workplace.
  • Job title: Recruiters need candidates with experience that matches the role requirements. To get noticed, you should include your target job title. This doesn’t mean deceptively changing previous job titles, but simply tweaking title(s) to better describe what you did. With many of today’s organisations opting for more ‘interesting’ titles for employees, it can result in the title not necessarily articulating what you do (think ‘Director of First Impressions’ versus ‘Receptionist’). A good solution can be to use a slash to include two titles – for example, ‘Receptionist / Director of First Impressions’ or ‘Senior Administrative Assistant Executive Assistant’. This will help you get found regardless of which title is being searched.
  • Qualifications: Include relevant education, licences and certifications with the organisation that conducted the training as well as the year you completed it. Always include study you’re currently undertaking (with an estimated completion date/year). And translate difficult-to-understand qualifications (or those gained overseas) into the commonly understood equivalent. There’s no need to include high school qualifications unless you’re a recent graduate with no other training or education.
  • Skills: Include a succinct list of relevant skills and capabilities focused on those most frequently mentioned in the job ad. You should create a section in your resume called ‘Key skills and capabilities’ or similar, which could include up to 15 individual skills, if necessary. This helps a recruiter to match your strengths with the right opportunity. And it’s just as important for your online profile as your resume. According to LinkedIn, members with five or more skills listed are contacted (messaged) up to 33 times more by recruiters than other LinkedIn members, and receive up to 17 times more profile views.
  • Location: Many recruiters check your location so it’s important to include a city and state on your resume. If you’re searching for a new role in another state, you could say ‘relocating to Queensland in June’ or something similar. It’s also important to include your location on your LinkedIn profile. According to LinkedIn, more than 30% of recruiters will use advanced search based on location, so omitting it will reduce your chances of being found.
  • Industry: Be sure to use commonly used keywords in your industry, such as ‘sales’, ‘marketing’, ‘information technology’ and ‘customer service’ to describe your field and area(s) of expertise. For LinkedIn, select an industry and sub-classification from the ‘Edit Intro’ section to better define your focus.
  • Seniority: If it’s not clear from your job titles, use words such as ‘graduate’, ‘mid-level’, ‘senior’, ‘executive’ or ‘C Suite’ to show the level of seniority of past roles you’ve held or people you’ve dealt with.
  • Legislation and regulations: Many roles require an in-depth understanding of, or experience interpreting and applying, laws or regulations. If that’s the case for your role, include the names of these laws, acts, regulations and codes of conduct on your resume, including shortened and extended versions if possible. Including memberships of industry groups and specific licences can also demonstrate in-depth understanding of a specific area and provides another way to include relevant keywords.
  • Jargon: Include industry jargon and technical terms that are relevant and appropriate to your expertise and future goals. This includes acronyms, with the full description in brackets the first time they appear, so both versions are included.

When preparing your application and online profile, think like a recruiter filling the job you want. How is that job described in job ads? What skills, capabilities, qualifications and tools are required? Decide on your keywords based on the categories we’ve listed above. Then incorporate those keywords logically into your content.

Avoid madly listing or repeating keywords – this is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and applicant tracking systems can easily recognise it and may reject your application. But get your keywords right and you’ll be well on your way to your next great job.

Would you like help preparing a top-quality job application or LinkedIn profile that focuses on the right keywords? Our experienced writers can help you create a professional resume and LinkedIn profile designed to make employers sit up and take notice. To find out more, read about our Services.

 

 

7 signs it’s time to move on from your job

Article by Belinda Fuller

7 signs it’s time to move on from your job

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut – doing the same things, day in day out, without really enjoying them, but not giving it much thought. Work can become monotonous but most of us can’t afford to leave a job whenever the mood takes us. However, sometimes work starts to make us truly unhappy. Often we wait too long to leave or put off the decision because it’s easier to stay. So how can you tell if it’s time to move on from your job?

Recognising and accepting that it’s time to leave your job can be tough. You may have a ‘good’ job and work for a good company. Maybe you like your co-workers and get on well with your boss. But when it comes to your career, that’s not always enough. Simply feeling dissatisfied might not be a sufficient reason to leave, but there are certain situations that definitely indicate it could be time to move on. If any of the following apply to you, start planning now.

  1. Mondayitis is extending to the whole week: And your ‘bad week’ has turned into a ‘bad month’. Everyone has their off days or weeks. Things can go wrong, or maybe you feel overwhelmed and unable to get on top of things. However, if you’re constantly stressed or unhappy, waking up miserable most days and dreading going to work, that’s a sign it’s time to find something new.
  2. You’re bored: Feeling challenged at work is crucial for long-term satisfaction. If you find yourself doing the same things over and over, with nothing new to excite you, talk to your supervisor about your options. Ask if you can take on new or different responsibilities or tasks. If that isn’t an option, is there something in another department, or a special project you can work on for a short period of time to reignite your passion? If you can’t come to an agreement about new responsibilities, then it’s probably time to exit. You can help prevent the same thing happening again by asking questions in your next interview about career growth, support and development.
  3. You’re not achieving your desired work-life balance: Most of us are working more hours every week, which can compromise our health and wellbeing. With technology allowing us to be connected 24/7, it’s even more difficult to switch off. If you feel your employer is making it difficult for you to find time for friends, family or doing some of the things you love, it might be time to start searching for a new opportunity.
  4. You’re consistently overlooked for promotion: If you regularly put your hand up but you’re not really getting anywhere, what is the reason? Is someone standing in your way or are you doing something to sabotage your own success? If the problem is something out of your control, try raising the issue with your boss and if they struggle to provide a clear answer, it’s likely that the situation won’t change much in the future.
  5. Your company or industry is shrinking: If your company or industry as a whole is experiencing slow or negative growth, it might be time to get out while you still have a job.
  6. You dislike the people you work with: While it’s not viable that everyone gets on with everyone all the time, sometimes personality clashes just aren’t fixable. It’s important to know when that’s the case, and if it is, you may be better off looking for a new role.
  7. You don’t feel appreciated: It can be frustrating if you feel taken for granted or your advice is often ignored. If you work hard and are committed, you shouldn’t feel undervalued in the business. Talk to your boss about how you feel, and if they can’t provide a solution you’re happy with, you might want to consider your options.

We spend so much of our lives working, you owe it to yourself to ensure you enjoy going to work each day (or at least most days). If you’re working in a job that isn’t fulfilling, and you’re no longer learning and growing, it might be time to make a move.

Would you like assistance from a Career Coach to help you work out if it’s time to move on? Or perhaps you’ve already made the decision to leave and you need some help developing a tailored Job Search Strategy to secure your future? To find out more, read about our services.

How to answer: “Why should we hire you?”

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to answer Why should we hire youOur new ‘How to answer’ series proved popular last month, when we looked at how to respond to the interview question, “Tell me about yourself”. This month’s question – “Why should we hire you?” – is just as important, and can be just as tricky to answer. You’ll need to prepare a compelling summary of why they should hire you, while remaining flexible enough to think and respond on the spot.

An interviewer’s main purpose is to collect information on candidates to help make the best decision about who to hire. They may ask this question in several ways, but your response will provide the same outcome. Examples include:

  • Why should we hire you?
  • Why are you the best candidate for the job?
  • Why are you the right fit for the position?
  • What would you bring to the position?

Even if you don’t get asked this question specifically, you should try to communicate the key reasons they should hire you throughout the interview. If you are asked this question, you’ll have a great opportunity to present a concise sales pitch describing what you offer. You’re usually being hired to solve a problem or address a requirement. The better you demonstrate how you’re going to do that, the more chance you’ll have of getting the job. Follow our step-by-step process to prepare.

  1. Create a pitch. Identify the skills, qualifications and experience you need to succeed in the role, and relate them back to yourself. Do this by reviewing the job description and highlighting key requirements, including qualifications, specialist technical skills, experience, soft skills and personality traits. Then match them with the qualities you possess. Select three of your strongest areas and make these the core of your answer. When you’re developing your pitch, focus on the positives and keep linking your response back to the company and the position.
  2. Research the organisation. Once you’ve identified the personal and professional capabilities you need to highlight, do some research on the company. Pay particular attention to social media accounts since this is where you’ll get a better understanding of company culture. This is important because employees who are a good cultural fit are more likely to feel satisfied in their jobs. This generally leads to higher retention rates, and since recruitment is a costly and time-consuming exercise, organisations tend to hire based on shared values and cultural beliefs.
  3. Tell stories. Stories paint a picture and a picture paints a thousand words! Rather than simply stating you have a particular skill or personality trait, support it with a story that ‘shows’ rather than just ‘tells’. For each of the points you highlighted above, think of a time you used that skill or trait to achieve a positive result. Structure your story using the STAR formula to ensure you cover all the important areas, and make sure your examples end with a positive outcome or result. (Want more tips on using storytelling to engage and persuade in the workplace? Take a look at our previous blog post.)
  4. Think beyond the obvious. You know you’re up against candidates who are likely to be just as qualified and experienced as you, so work out what you offer that others don’t. By thinking outside the job description, you can demonstrate how you’re a better candidate. Highlighting unique traits or experiences will set you apart. This is key in a competitive job market.
  5. Solve a problem. If you’ve researched the company well, you may identify a specific need or problem that’s driven this round of recruitment. Try to demonstrate previous success in a similar situation, or simply articulate an approach or an idea about how you’d begin to solve the problem.

“Why should we hire you?” is an important question to answer well, but try not to overthink it. While it’s a good idea to practise your pitch so you can deliver it smoothly, you don’t need to memorise it word for word or it will sound forced. Have a general idea of what you’d like to say, but remain open to addressing additional issues or information that arises during the interview. Talk for no longer than two minutes and aim to cover three main points.

Do you struggle with answering questions like this during interviews? If you’d like some help preparing for a job interview, so you can build your confidence and increase your success rate, take a look at our Interview Training and Coaching Services.

 

 

9 skills you’ll need for the jobs of the future

Article by Belinda Fuller

9 skills you’ll need for the jobs of the futureThe transformational impact of technology on people, processes and businesses is never ending. We have never been more connected globally and new technologies are emerging every day, so the skills you’ll need for the jobs of the future aren’t necessarily those that you use today. What skills will you need?

The jobs of today are very different to those of our parents and grandparents, so where will we be 20 years from now? And how can we make sure we’re still employable? As new jobs emerge, others become obsolete. It can be a challenge to stay ahead, but ensuring your knowledge and skills remain current and marketable is an important career move. Here are some of the key job skills we think you’ll need for the future.

  1. Tech know-how: Proficiency with technology is now expected in most jobs. Think about how a GP uses technology today compared to 10 or 20 years ago. The use of mobile technology has also dramatically increased, and the globalisation of many markets means that working with technology rather than against it is key. The more flexible you are in navigating these changes, and in becoming proficient in using new technology, the easier your work life will be.
  2. Critical thinking and problem solving: The future will have problems we’ve never experienced. The ability to think outside the box, see the big picture, analyse different situations, rearrange information to identify explanations and make decisions on the fly will put you in a great position.
  3. Creativity: We know that workers with creative-thinking and imagination skills will remain in demand. Examples include jobs where you need to create original content, manage others and/or interact with stakeholders, think unconventionally, or apply expertise to make decisions or innovate. Creativity isn’t limited to traditional artistic pursuits such as art, music and writing. In this context, it’s about innovation and resourcefulness – the ability to pull together disparate information and conceive viable solutions and approaches.
  4. Adaptability: The ability to quickly change, develop new skills, take on new responsibilities and work with automation or machines is important. Having flexibility to move to other areas will drive future career success, and acquiring the necessary skills or retraining in other areas will be your responsibility.
  5. Information analysis: In our current information age, we generate more data than we know what to do with. While access to the information we collect has significantly improved in recent times, the ability to analyse it through a critical lens to come up with meaningful observations that drive decisions is key.
  6. People skills and collaboration: While technology will eventually take over many areas, human interaction will never disappear, so the ability to work with people will remain important. Success will require you to ask questions, listen, interpret needs and work cooperatively with others. Learning how to use new communication and collaboration platforms will also be vital.
  7. SMAC: You’ve probably heard of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) is fairly new. Learning how to leverage these platforms in your daily work will help you stand out in the future job market.
  8. Cultural acumen: The modern workplace is full of remote employees, global offices and flexible contracts. For many of us, our workday reality is living in one country and working virtually with people in other parts of the world. Being able to understand and appreciate cultural differences and social interaction will be essential.
  9. Networking: Most experts agree that networking and word of mouth will be more important in securing jobs in the future. While networking is not new, technological advances mean the way we do it is vastly different to 10 years ago. Keep track of everyone you meet, stay in touch, join professional networking groups and take advantage of LinkedIn.

Are you always listening, learning and planning? Continuous learning of new skills is essential for job success in the future. Take on new responsibilities, remain flexible, embrace our rapidly changing world and use any setbacks as learning experiences. That way, you’ll find yourself in the best position to capitalise on opportunities as they arise.

Would you like assistance from a Career Coach to identify areas where you might be able to improve your skillset to create your dream career? Or perhaps you’d like some help developing a tailored Job Search Strategy to secure your future? To find out more, read about our Services.

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