Is Finding A Job Your Full-Time Job?

By Becca Cole

From scrolling pages and pages of job ads, cold-calling employers, writing (and re-writing) your resume, cover letter and selection criteria, to the interview preparation and follow up, finding a job can easily turn into your full-time job.

 

Often when it comes to a job search, you get out of it what you put into it.

Are you tailoring your resume for each job? Are you calling the company to follow up on your application? Are you taking every opportunity to network? Are you applying for jobs you are actually qualified for? Because I guarantee that someone else is doing all of those things.

This brings me to my first point:

#1. Do not underestimate self-awareness

 

When I moved to Australia, I had no idea where to start applying for jobs. My Social Work degree didn’t really transfer over, and I was stuck between applying for Social Work jobs I wasn’t technically qualified for, or finding a new path. I spent a lot of time on job applications for jobs I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy, and when I’d get to the interview stage, I’d back out. It was an incredible waste of time; not only my time, but also the employer’s time as well.

Rather than spending precious time on applications, it would have been good to spend time thinking about my skills, values, strengths, and personality. Using Job Outlook, you can see what types of skills employers are looking for in different industries and fill in the gaps by upskilling in areas where you aren’t as skilled.

#2. Stop ‘Shot-gunning’ Applications

You may have heard that a good job search strategy is to apply for any and every job you can find and surely one of them will stick. I see this all the time in my role as a Recruitment Advisor and let me tell you, this has a very low success rate.

First of all, it’s not a great time investment if you are applying for jobs when you are sufficiently under-qualified (i.e.  You are an undergraduate student applying for a job that requires a PhD).

Rather than spending an entire day applying for as many jobs as you can get your hands on, it would be a better use of your time to spend a significant amount of effort looking for the right job and tailoring your application for that advertisement.

The response I usually get from students using this method is: “but if I tailored my application for each job, that would take forever!”. And they are right. It would take a long time if you were tailoring your application for thousands of job applications per year. But if you filtered out all the jobs you aren’t qualified for, wouldn’t enjoy, and aren’t relevant to your career goals, you’d have a good handful of jobs each week to really focus on.  You’d probably be able to reorder your resume in order of relevance, write up a personal cover letter, find the contact name to address the application to, call the employers before you apply, and even start building rapport with the company. Wouldn’t that start you out on a much better foot than if you just sent off a standard template application?

If you still aren’t convinced, here are some other reasons:

  • It is annoying (not to mention inconsiderate and a waste of time) for recruiters to receive applications that clearly haven’t been tailored to the job
  • If you are applying for a small company or team, your repeat application will start to gain a reputation and by the time a relevant job comes up you’ll be written off

#3. The hidden job market is the real deal

If you are only submitting online applications, you are limiting yourself to a small fraction of the job market. With the hidden job market making up a majority of jobs, you are putting all your resumes in one basket (so to speak) when you use online job boards as your sole method for job search. So what do you do?

  1. Put the word out to your network. Even if you don’t know anyone that works in the industry you want to be in, it’s still worthwhile letting your network know. They may meet someone at an event, get chatting and one thing leads to another, and they mention they are looking for an intern or have a position open and your contact is able to recommend you for the role.
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  2. Go to networking events. These are fantastic if you are looking for work, but are also important to attend throughout your career. Before you go, be sure to have an elevator pitch ready, prepare to dress for success, and get your mind ready for networking.
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  3. Don’t be afraid to cold-call an employer. This can work for any size company but tends to work particularly well with small to medium size companies that don’t have an HR team or extra time to put together an advertisement or facilitate interviews. It’s important that if this is your strategy, you follow a few simple steps:
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    1. Research the company – Make sure you’ve read the ‘About Us section on their website (if they have one) and have a good idea of what kind of company it is.
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    2. Don’t play hardball – Avoid coming on too strong by just asking for a job. Use that elevator pitch you’ve been preparing and lead with your interests and skills before you come out and say you are looking for work. By using the research, you can connect your skills and interests to the company and explain why you’d love to work for a company like this one.
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    3. Respect their time – Have a list of a few important questions you’d like to ask, try to get your elevator pitch down to a minute and be respectful if they say they can’t talk.

Remember that job search is sometimes a long game. As I mentioned before, you get what you put into it, so if you find a job you’d love to do (and are qualified for) give it all you’ve got! As always, I recommend coming to the Careers Drop-in space (CB01.04.13) to discuss your own personal job search strategies, as well as getting your resume and cover letter reviewed before submitting to any jobs you are really interested in. (Remember drop-in requires printed documents and we focus on getting one document right before moving on to the next one.)

 


Becca Cole is a passionate Recruitment Advisor at UTS:Careers. Her previous experiences as a Social Worker, along with years of University administration experience have given her a great amount of compassion & knowledge when advising students. She is also currently studying a Graduate Certificate in Career Development & Education and is committed to staying up to date on ‘all things careers’.

 


 

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

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