The good news about job seeking: figures released by the Office for National Statistics in January indicate that unemployment rates are at a 10-year-low. The bad news: that still equates to 5.1% of the population (or 1.68m people, for those not so savvy with a calculator) which means that there’s still plenty of competition for available vacancies out there.
Of course, the unemployed are not the only ones applying for jobs, either. Factor in the 51% of workers who are currently employed but are open to new positions, those looking to climb the slippery career ladder and those coming from overseas in need of an income and you’ve got yourself one hell of a competitive arena for job hunting. How can you mark yourself out from being not just another pretty face in the crowd?
Never fear – help is at hand. Follow these 10 simple guidelines and you’ll be turning heads, securing interviews and knocking the socks off recruitment teams before you know it. The first five tips are dished out for you below; roll them around in your mouth for a while and if they taste good, help yourself to seconds with How to Get Yourself Noticed as a Job Seeker – Part 2 that will be published on the 28 of April.
1. Be selective
Much like asking out every attractive stranger in a bar one after the other, overstretching yourself with the same bland proposal on hundreds of different job applications is going to smack of desperation and disinterestedness. If a recruiter gets even a whiff of a generic application, your CV will be headed straight for the bin.
Moreover, you’ll do nothing to keep your morale levels up after the countless inevitable rejections you’ll receive. “Are you applying for the right jobs? Jobs that are a strong match for your qualifications?” Job-seeking expert Alison Doyle asked the BBC. “If not, you are wasting time because there are so many applicants for each position, only the most qualified candidates will be considered.”
2. Do your homework
Once you’ve pinpointed the positions that you might actually be suitable for, put in the hard yards and learn everything you can about the company in question. Stalk them ruthlessly on Google, gobble up every piece of information on their LinkedIn profile and generally try to find out exactly what they’re about and what they’re looking for. You can then tailor your CV to demonstrate just how fabulous you are and how you’re the missing piece of the puzzle – the yin to their yang.
Customising your applications to meet the job description will set you apart from others… but failing to do so will consign you to the scrap heap immediately. As Australian career coach Mary Goldsmith says, “It looks like sheer laziness, which can appear disrespectful to the person screening your application at the other end.
3. Pimp your profile
Just as you should do your due diligence when researching prospective employers, expect them to do exactly the same for you. That means vetting your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other relevant social media sites to remove all traces of that debauched holiday to Magaluf and replacing them with strategically chosen keywords and tales of skilled competence to paint yourself in the most golden of lights.
In fact, 94% of recruiters currently use or intend to use social media when searching for potential employees – and as we venture further and further down the cyber rabbit hole, you can only expect that figure to increase.
4. Know your strengths – and market them well
It might sound too obvious to mention, but the amount of job seekers who aren’t even aware of their major selling points is staggering. How can you expect someone to hire you when you can’t coherently explain why they should?
Make a shortlist of all of your best attributes and then sit down and work out how they apply to each particular position, on a case-by-case basis. This will show the recruitment team that not only have you done your research, you can also bring value to the company, as well.
5. Be precise
Executives and recruiters love facts and figures. When setting out just how wonderful you are, try to quantify it in relatable terms. For example, instead of saying that you surpassed targets or saved the company money, state exactly the percentage by which you exceeded expectations or the total amount of moolah you earned for your previous employer.
Turning duties into accomplishments helps to make them more intelligible to prospective employers and allows them to visualise how your talents will benefit their own business.