Updated: Aug 12, 2020
As a Career Coach who has helped more than a thousand job seekers over 10 years (ranging from school leavers to post graduates and from more than 30 countries), I believe that finding a job, is a job (in itself). The important thing is to make sure that your steps to sourcing a role are smart. So often job hunters continuously apply to hundreds of roles without any success. According to Einstein the definition of Insanity is, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. So, having a holistic process and being cognisant, of what is working and what is not, is essential. Here are some key steps to follow.
Your branding needs to be clear and consistent. If you appear to be unsure about what you can offer, then how can anyone else be certain? Your branding includes all your documentation – resume, cover letter, selection criteria - and your LinkedIn Profile. Your resume is the only part of your job search that you have complete control over. As your resume will typically be reviewed for 20 seconds, it is crucial that it is in a format that recruiters are expecting and that every word matters. A cover letter should not be a repetition of your resume, but a one-page summary and substantiation of your most important competencies. A LinkedIn profile is a great way to get your voice heard. The most significant sections are your profile picture, the headline and the summary. Having a LinkedIn headshot means you are 14 times more likely to be found.
The advertised part of the market is only a portion of the market, not the market. Over the last few decades, job boards have become the main area to advertise. The most popular job board is SEEK.com. This means that if you apply for a role through this job board, you will be competing with several candidates. While it is a good idea to use SEEK.com to search for roles, it is also key to look at other job boards like Indeed.com and Adzuna.com.au. LinkedIn is also a great source of roles. You can look at companies you are interested in on LinkedIn and see if they are currently advertising roles or you can look at, “jobs” on your LinkedIn menu to see what comes up as, “jobs you may be interested in”. Setting up job alerts on each job board will help refine the roles you consider.
Recruiters are employed to match candidates to their clients’ requirements. They are therefore very good at matching candidates to the roles and specifications they have on their books. If you can find recruiters who have the roles you are chasing, and you have the competencies they are pursuing, then engaging their services is a good use of your time. By reviewing job boards and recruiter websites, you will be able to ascertain which recruiters have the best roles to complement what you can offer. To determine the value of a recruiter you need to assess their trustworthiness, the scope of their clients, their integrity and proactivity. If you register with a recruiter, it is a good idea to understand how often you should keep in touch. Be sure to ask your recruiter to request your permission before sending your resume out to any employer. This will prevent double ups. Any employer receiving a resume from two different sources will exclude you from the process.
Rather than rely on recruiters, some job hunters approach organisations directly. A good approach is to make a list of the top 10 organisations you would like to work for and go to their websites to ascertain whether there are roles available. Have a look at the organisation’s website and the LinkedIn profile. Look at people who have recently secured roles (similar to those you are seeking) on LinkedIn and connect with them to ask what methods worked for them. Ensure you research as much as possible before making these approaches. LinkedIn can be useful in determining who you know in an organisation. The more connections you have, the better your ability to research and make approaches.
Studies have shown that networking is fundamental in job search strategy since 70-80% of roles are sourced in this way. It will surprise you that if you sit down and think of your contacts (both personal and work related) you will come up with at least 200 immediately. There are many ways to store your contacts. You could use LinkedIn, Excel or a manual book. The important part is to determine which contacts are most relevant currently by looking at each one and deciding how they could assist you now. Create KPI’s for yourself in terms of how many contacts you will connect with each week and schedule them into your calendar. These meetings will bring new connections if you ask the right questions. Ask for advice, never a job and view the networking process as a research opportunity.
A Career Coach is someone who can assist you in every aspect of your Career. This ranges from determining your career direction to negotiating an offer. An area that many job seekers benefit from when working with a Career Coach is branding as it is not always easy to be objective about the benefits you can provide. Having an expert collaborate with you and identify your value can be well worth the investment. Career Coaches understand what organisations expect and cultural differences. Positioning yourself correctly will increase the likelihood that you will secure interviews and ultimately a role.
Following these key steps will provide you with a framework to ensure a holistic approach and that you don’t continuously repeat the same actions without success. As you work on the job of finding a role, assess the results and determine what is working for you. Keep refreshing your course of action to maximise your results and engage a career coach if you are not experiencing any traction.