Written by Dave Cullen
Today’s hyper-competitive job market is filled with highly qualified candidates, making employment opportunities that little bit harder to come by. Successful jobseeking in the current economic climate is about adaptation, persistence and personal development. During the boom years being able to put together a solid CV and ace an interview were enough to make you a strong contender for a role, nowadays the bar has been raised considerably. Candidates have had to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate every aspect of their job hunting strategy.
Organisations have also altered their candidate profiling and screening standards with many of them looking for candidates to demonstrate the potential economic value they will bring to the business. Examples of how this has impacted on jobseekers can be seen in the emergence of the achievements-driven CV. Successfully landing a job has become about learning to develop your personal brand and sufficiently differentiate yourself from the competition.
Sell yourself: Consider yourself as a salesperson; the product you are marketing is yourself. Your aim, be it prior to or during the interview process, is to highlight your strengths, abilities, talents, experience knowledge, contacts and successes. The key area to focus on here is showcasing your relevant transferable skills and expertise that you can bring to the new company. Employers want to know how you can be of benefit to their organisation and align with their objectives.
Networking: As we have mentioned on several previous blogs, networking is one of the most powerful jobseeking weapons in your arsenal. Your goal is to build a wide and varied contacts base and connect with as many people who you think can help you as possible. An example of the advantages of networking would be if a friend or colleague knew of a job opportunity being advertised internally by their employer, they could recommend you directly to their HR recruiter. This allows you to bypass the heaps of applications being submitted by the candidates you are competing against. Join social networks and tailor them to your career profile, attend business and industry events and trade shows. For more information on networking check out the following blogs: How to use networking to find a job and Using Linkedin to find a job.
Research the company: A great way to impress your potential future employer is to know the company inside out. This demonstrates your interest in the job you are applying for. At the end of an interview you will typically be given the opportunity to ask questions. This is an excellent chance to show the interviewer how serious you are about the role. Be sure to prepare some insightful questions such as: “Can you describe your ideal candidate for this role?”, “How would you describe the companies culture?” and “How does this position factor into the long-term goals of the organisation?” For more information on asking questions at interview check out the following blog: 5 questions to ask at a job interview.
References: Another form of self-promotion is references and testimonials. A personal endorsement from a former employer, colleague or client is an excellent way to showcase your capabilities, experience and achievements. They can vouch for the quality of your work and your work ethic. Your references serve as success stories that underline your credibility as a candidate. In the interests of politeness, ensure that you personally thank each one of your representatives for their testimonies. It is important to recognise the positive contributions of those in your network. For more information on developing and maintaining your references check out the following blog: 5 tips for getting a good reference.