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Gain an edge in a competitive job market

With unemployment at its highest rate since 1998 and it not looking like it's going to improve any time soon, the job market (as you can imagine) is super competitive.

This week I was working with a client on an application for her dream job. It was posted last Friday and was taken down from SEEK last night after less than a week!

We were planning to submit the application today (cue freak out as we missed the deadline) so have now attempted to submit it direct to the manager after a bit of LinkedIn stalking (and having no luck working out who the recruiter was). It may or may not work, but at least we tried.

They must have received a LOT of applications to remove it from SEEK so soon.

So, what's the moral of the story? There are a few, actually...

Be Prepared

My favourite motto is to be prepared! You need to have your resume up to date and a cover letter template ready to go.

So many clients get headhunted via LinkedIn, or they weren't even looking for a job but their absolute dream job is advertised.

Job applications do take a lot of time, so make sure yours is as up to date and high quality as you can make it. This will help you to apply for a job or send it to a recruiter ASAP.

Submit Early

As per my story above, during this economic climate you need to submit your application early, preferably within a day or two of it being advertised.

In order to achieve this, you need to be ready with an up to date resume and the basics of a cover letter (that you will need to amend/tailor).

You also need to regularly check SEEK and LinkedIn for new job opportunities. You can set up automated emails for key words/jobs on each platform, and also maybe add a time slot into your calendar to dedicate to job hunting each week.

Stand Out

So, you apply for a job on time. Now you need to make sure your application stands out from the crowd. How?

  1. First of all, make sure that your application includes lots of key words from the job ad, so that you make it through Applicant Tracking Software (if used). For more information on keywords and ATS read this blog post: Keywords 101

  2. Tailor your application (particularly the cover letter) to make sure you address the key selection criteria - basically tell the reader that you have the skills to do the job!

  3. Find out the hiring manager's name. Do a bit of searching on the company website or LinkedIn to find out who to address the letter to. This will show that you have done research and help you to stand out from the crowd who have said "To whom it may concern".

  4. Choose a clean, modern font and layout for your resume and other job application documents. Use a font like Ariel or Calibri (I like Calibri light in very dark gray) and make sure there is white space on the page. Consider 1.5 line spacing. Don't go crazy on the colours and don't include a photo.

  5. Use the same template for all your documents. I recommend that you put your name and contact details in the page 1 header of your resume, sp you can use this as your letterhead. That way all your documents look the same.

  6. Make sure page 1 of your resume really sells you. See Selling YOU 101 for more information.

I hope the above tips help - it's a tough market out there!


Want some help updating your resume? Make sure you grab your free 5 day RESUME MAKEOVER CHALLENGE!

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