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09 Apr

You may be one of 50 job applicants… how will you stand out?

It’s a tricky time to be a candidate right now. If you’ve been recently made redundant due to COVID-19, your current workplace is closed and you are looking for new work to keep you busy, or you are an active job seeker trying to find your next opportunity – it’s hard to know what the next step is. The market has shifted dramatically in a matter of weeks. In February 2020, there were an average of 26 jobs for every 1 job seeker*. As it stands now, that figure has likely flipped to over 30 candidates for each single vacancy. That means your competition has suddenly increased drastically!

The flow-on effect of more applications for every vacancy means that your need to stand out and set yourself apart is even more critical than it’s been for the past year.

We realise that you may be feeling overwhelmed with a need to secure another position, uncertain of what companies plan to do during this crisis, and what that means for you in gaining another role. We have put together our 7 tips on how to manage your job hunt in the current climate.  

  1. A mediocre resume will cost you the job
    This may sound harsh but it’s the truth. Your resume is the only impression a prospective employer has of you and, on average, a resume is only read for 10 seconds or less. With increased competition and application numbers, that number may decrease as hiring managers experience ‘resume fatigue.’

    But you can help them avoid that! Create a resume that stands out. Design plays a big part for instant appeal but, more importantly, focus on the basics – ensure you use one consistent font type and size throughout your resume. Use consistent bullet points and delete unnecessary content. I see so many resumes that contain non-specific tasks like ‘general admin duties’ so just delete these to keep your resume succinct.
     
  2. Know the key information to include
    A professional summary that states what you are looking for or aiming for in your career; emphasise results or accomplishments, not just your duties, and order your jobs with most recent first. If you have lots of short-term roles (less than 2 years), then include reasons for leaving.
     
  3. Use your time at home to do some research
    There are three types of CV formats: chronological, skills-based and combination. By Google searching ‘CV format’ or ‘tips for creating a great CV’ you will find a world of information on the internet to help you spruce up your CV (or request us to make one over for you*).
     
  4. Include a photo to create a personal connection
    This advice always gets the most debate – to include a photo or not? My belief is that including a photo instantly makes you more than a name on a piece of paper. A photo means you become a face to the name, a person behind the experience and it creates an emotional connection that has been shown to result in your resume being read for longer. But please, ensure you select a professional photograph! No pictures of you out on a Friday night or surrounded by shopping bags at the mall (yes, these are all photos I have personally witnessed on a resume!). A professional smiling headshot is your best bet.
     
  5. Keep your social profiles up to date
    As we know, social media is a key platform to showcase yourself. Make sure to keep your professional profiles such as LinkedIn up to date with skills, experience, knowledge and information. It may pay to look into some ‘influencers’ in your industry and share any interesting articles they have written recently so potential employers who view your profile can see that you are actively interested in your chosen industry. Be careful to keep unprofessional photos, comments or actions private though, or better yet don’t post them on social media at all, especially if you are actively job hunting.
     
  6. Network, network, network
    As we are all confined to our homes at the moment, physically networking is not an option. This doesn’t mean go quiet! This means get out on your social channels (LinkedIn is the most professional-based) and communicate and engage with professionals in your area and/or chosen industry. You never know when someone might have an opportunity they haven’t gone to market with yet and because you talked to them, they will think of you! Liking posts, commenting, engaging and generally being interested in what others have to say in your network will both give you something to do, and increase the chance of people thinking of you first when they hear about an opportunity.
     
  7. The real question. Should you apply now or wait?
    Quick answer – make sure all the above ducks are in a row and then yes, apply away! Even in recessions, companies will still need to fill critical roles or replace people who have left the business. While overall hiring rates will slow, if you see a job advertised that interests you, go ahead and submit a well-tailored application including your CV and Cover Letter.

 

Our final advice is, use any extra time you have to upskill. There are a range of free learning courses online that can help you hone your skillset in almost any field. That way when a company calls you for a phone interview, you can say that you’ve been using this time productively!

* If you need any assistance with sprucing up your CV, you can always get in touch with our team for a CV Makeover! https://www.talentpropellerjobs.co.nz/cvmakeover/cv-makeover-form/campaign

* Statistics provided to Talent Propeller from Indeed February 2020