To say that today’s job market is competitive is an understatement!
How do I know this? Because I have been on all sides of the job fence, I have seen firsthand how hard it is to get a job, to get that face-to- face time of opportunity in front of a potential employer to sell yourself.
Not to mention the disappointment of not receiving any type of feedback whatsoever afterwards to assist you with improving your resume for future applications.
From an employer’s perspective I know firsthand how hard it is to stay focused when sorting through 135 job applications only to see generic application after generic application from potential employees. Potential employees thinking that you have the time to see how fantastic they may well be through their one-size fits all resume.
But all’s not lost; there are some activities you can do, activities that cost you absolutely nothing except your time. These free activities may just put you in front of the crowd or give you the edge against one of your fellow job hunters. Let’s look at some of these preparation activities now in a bit more detail! Remembering that they cost nothing, not a cracker, just your time, enthusiasm and want to gain employment!
Notice I didn’t write ‘Interview Preparation’? Why? Because there is a lot of other preparation you can do well before you even start thinking the interview stage, we will cover interview preparation in another upcoming article.
Take the time to do some research on the company that you are applying to work at. If you haven’t go access to the internet at home check out places like your local Library, Centrelink or employment agency to see if they have short sessions you can book for free. If you haven’t got access to the internet at all from one the those means and the company is local to you, go in and see if they have any brochures or information at their site office or front counter that may give you some information.
Look up the company’s website, learn what they are really the about, what programs they may be involved in, what projects they have or are about to start working on, what technology do they use, what charities do they support or how do they treat their employees.
Follow the company and its staff on LinkedIn. Most importantly here notice that I wrote ‘follow‘ the company and its staff on LinkedIn? Following is different to stalking, annoying or asking for a job the minute you manage to become a connection on LinkedIn with someone. The constant contacting or asking for a job approach simply, does not work and will only serve to alienate you from the company and its employees.
Only this week I accepted someone as a connection on LinkedIn and literally within 3 minutes of pressing the connect button I received a sales e-mail asking me to sign-up to a service. Not cool!
What do the above activities do for you? They allow you to have a better understanding of the company that you want to work at and what they are really about. They allow you to familiarise yourself with their activities and even adjust your resume or covering letter accordingly so that you can include information that may strike a chord with the recruiter or hiring manager.
Here is a sometimes forgotten idea in today’s tech savvy world, ring them! If you are able to; go ahead pick up the phone and ring and speak to the company contact who is advertising the job. I understand that this not always an option when applying for jobs but believe me it is a very underestimated approach that is rarely used in today’s online world.
What does ringing potential employers do and why should you do it? Simply, it allows you to make a personal connection and to being in a one-on-one position to ask questions like:
- Is it a new role or is it as a result of internal staff movement or promotion; or
- Is there anybody currently doing the role or is it vacant; or
- Is there anything in particular that you are looking for from the candidate for this role?
Believe it or not you will be surprised how many potential employers will give you some important information about the role if you simply ask the question. This is information that you won’t get from reading an online add or looking up the company’s website. For example it could be something like:
- Yes we are looking for someone who has previous experience with fixing pneumatic power tools and equipment, as our plant uses a large amount of pneumatics tools; or
- We would ideally like someone who has been able to build good working relationships with the state or federal regulators as we operate in a highly regulated environment; or
- The person who is successful should have a strong working knowledge of change management as our organisation is embarking on a period of considerable change.
Those three snippets alone have provided you with information that may not be readily available to other candidates from just reading the job advertisement or looking on the internet. It also allows you to adjust your covering letter and resume accordingly so that you can provide specific examples incorporating the provided information so you can stand out from the crowd.
If nothing else you have just put you name in that person’s mind, if they are further involved in the recruitment process that connection may just be the difference between the person taking the bit extra time and effort to read through your application because they liked the fact that you took it upon yourself to ring up and ask some questions.
Industry or Community Events
The company that you want to work for may be involved in industry or community events. By now you may have already identified this by using one of the above mentioned techniques to find out more about your new potential employer.
Industry events can be things like trade shows, job fairs, open days or the like. These offer further opportunities for you to get more information about the actual company and also the possibility of making a connection with someone who already works there. Making that connection at a trade show or job fair may just be the ticket you need to get your first connection on LinkedIn with an employee from that company.
Don’t forget how you present yourself at that opportunistic moment is how you will be remembered, so make it count.
Community events may be things like charity events, golf days, money raising lunches or sponsorship of certain sporting events where there may be company staff in attendance. Once again attending events like this and making a connection at the right time might just be your ticket to a connection at that company. You may be able to glean some information from the staff at the event about the company whilst showing your genuine interest and enthusiasm.
So there you have it 3 totally free activities that may well boost your job opportunities. So go on give it a go you might be surprised with the result!
Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss how I can assist you with this or any other matters relating to changing careers. #ChangingCareers #HMHFuture
Stuart Rawlins | Healthy Mind Healthy Future
Guiding you through life’s challenges!