Recently there has been a spate of articles throughout all forms of media regarding the state of the current job market, the competition to win work and the levels of unemployment. There is no doubt that these economic times are making organisations and hirers more cautious about hiring new staff, and in turn more thorough throughout their recruitment process. As the mentality of the hirer changes, so must the mentality of the potential jobseeker to ensure that they not only stand out from the pack but they definitively meet the expectations of both the hiring organisation and the role on offer, technically and culturally. If you are a job seeker looking for your next career opportunity, you may want to consider some of these suggestions to put you on your next employer’s hiring shortlist.
1. Understand the role you are applying for and the organisation you are applying to.
A recent article published by New Limited (http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/five-in-race-for-every-job-vacancy/story-fn7kjcme-1226244136389) stated that the ‘number of jobseekers in the hunt for employment has climbed with national figures showing 3.2 jobseekers are chasing each job vacancy, compare to 3.0 in 2010’. As competition becomes fiercer, jobseekers must become smarter and more refined in their approach to finding the right next step in their careers. This starts with collecting relevant information about the role & organisation to get an accurate understanding of the type of employee required.
Start this process by undertaking research to find out the history of the hiring organisation, their company ethos / values / culture and what they are looking to achieve in the future. Additionally and maybe more importantly, finding out what is really required in the vacant position, why it is vacant, and what they are looking for in the successful applicant. With today’s technology, information is easy to come by and the opportunity to connect with former and current employers of the organisation to enquire information about the company’s values and culture are at your fingertips. This information will also allow you to form a more educated opinion of your suitability to the role and organisation.
2. Build a CV and cover letter that reflects your skills, attributes and cultural fit in relation to the role and organisation, and answers any questions they may have.
In today’s market, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to CV building and submission. Many articles have been written about the power of a relevant CV and cover letter (http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/03/07/dont-underestimate-the-power-of-your-cover-letter), and for good reason. By tailoring your cover letter and CV to suit the individual job within an individual company, you are demonstrating several different traits that always impress employers:
- An ability to research – by researching the organisation and position, you are demonstrating a trait that is transferrable to any workplace – the ability to find information and use it to solve problems.
- Interest – You have taken the time to research the company, clearly demonstrating that you are not just applying to any role with any organisation, but you are interested in THEIR position with THEIR organisation.
- Compatibility – by demonstrating knowledge of the organisation & role in more detail than given on a job ad or website, you are demonstrating to a potential employer that you know their business and you feel your skill set and style will be a good fit. It goes without mention that you will articulate this point clearly in your cover letter.
In addition to tailoring your cover letter and CV to reflect your knowledge of the role and organisation, ensure you answer all the required skills and attributes outlined in the job ad you are applying to. This can be done throughout the CV, in bullet point form in your cover letter and in a case study that is outlined below. Make sure that your responses are clear, concise and easy to read. In relation to your suitability to the role and organisation, leave no stone unturned and no question unanswered in the employers mind.