Looking for a new job? If yes is your answer, here are some tips on how to present yourself to employers and easy steps to increase your chances of being found by hirers and considered for live job vacancies.
Be proactive and visible.
Think like a politician! Yep, I actually said that. Although campaigning politicians can be frustratingly annoying with their bombardment of web, television and radio advertising along with phone calls, pamphlet handouts at public venues, town hall speeches and door knocking activities, they do know something about making themselves visible.
When looking for a job, you need to be visible to ensure you are considered the for the jobs your after. If you have transferable skills that employers are wanting, why wait for a job to be advertised?
Take a proactive approach to your job search by researching the market, identifying possible employers or opportunities and making either a direct approach or via a recruitment agent who can do this on your behalf. Recruitment is often a reactive activity that is stimulated by a resignation. But that doesn’t mean managers aren’t open to making hiring decisions at other times. In my job as an agency Recruitment Manager, I meet with senior leaders daily. I regularly ask them if they have the “ideal team” right now and in most cases the answer is no. “What are you doing about that?” I then ask. If the answer is anything but “I’m hiring now”, I will ask “would you be open to hiring a great candidate for your team if the right person became available?” Rarely is the answer “no”. This means, many managers are open to growing their team right now, but not doing anything about it. What an ideal time to present yourself!
If you feel this approach is too pushy or you just can’t see yourself making proactive contact, at least ensure you can be easily found, which leads to STEP 2.
Make it easy for employers to find you.
To be considered for job opportunities, it is as much about applying for jobs as it is being found by hiring managers.
With the various online tools available (eg. LinkedIn, Seek, Indeed etc), it is easy to set up a profile or post a resume, so that employers can run a search, find your details, check for a match and make contact with you. You can make this more effective by adding key words used in searches to ensure your profile is one of those uncovered. Specific skills are a great example of this. For Software Developers it may be words like “Scrum”, “C#”, “node.js”, for Accountants it could be “budgeting”, “SAP”, “tax effect” etc. Inhouse and agency recruiting specialists are savvy when it comes to sourcing via online tools and key words can help you be found.
Another tip is to list your job title as one of the more commonly used terms such as “Financial Accountant” rather than obscure, company specific phrases like “Tribal Finance Agent”. You won’t be found if no-one knows the quirks of your company language.
Look beyond the obvious.
As new jobs become in high demand, candidates with niche skills in specific industries are becoming harder to find and more expensive. This creates a wonderful opportunity for you to change industry or job type. Hence, knowing your “key transferable skills” and being open to different jobs that you haven’t previously considered, opens up the job market for you enormously.
The hard part is really zoning in on what your key transferable skills are, what evidence you have to showcase those skills and understanding what value they bring to an employer. Ask yourself, “what can I do well that would be most valuable to my next employer?” If you find it difficult to answer this question, ask your previous colleagues, your former bosses, your friends and family. Think about a specific accomplishment you are proud of during your career. It may be a project your delivered successfully, a deal you closed, a whitepaper you wrote, an “app” you developed. Whatever it was, break it down into the tasks involved and you will identify the key skills you needed to make this happen. Those skills are most likely the things your next employer will want.
The more effectively you can present a compelling case based on your transferable skills, the more likely you are to convince a hiring manager than you can do the job well. If you are looking to break into a new industry, your ability to remove the “risk” in the mind of the hiring manager is critical. Often managers assume they need someone with “five years industry experience”, when in fact, they need someone with the skills of “x, y and z” regardless of where they’ve deployed those skills in the past. They don’t care if you have the experience, they care if you can do the job.
This may sound stupidly obvious, yet when it comes to looking for a job, it is amazing how creative people become and invent a false version of themselves. For some reason, they don’t feel their true self will be good enough to get the job. Yet, if you do Step 3 well, you will have the confidence you need because you will understand what you have to offer and what the employer will value. Being true to yourself and authentic in how you come across in a job application and interview, is a positive differentiator and will allow you to shine brighter than others who are trying to be someone they are not.
Play to your strengths and be confident with what you do well. A strength is an activity that strengthens you further (not something you are good at that you hate) and gives you energy to perform during the good days and the bad days… and lets’ face it, all jobs have both.
General Manager, Recruitment