Job Applicant Tips

The current job market is competitive and for those who have not looked for a new job for a while, the landscape has changed the past 5 to 10 years. Social media has made the world a much smaller place and virtual hiring has made the process less personal than it once was.

Tips to help you stand out and secure an interview:

  1. LinkedIn (and other Social Media)

Employers will look at your CV and then your LinkedIn profile. Later in the process they may look at other social media to ensure there is corporate alignment. Make sure your profile is either not public or it is conservative. 

If you have not already registered on LinkedIn, then you must sign up. Make sure your profile is fully up to date with a presentable, professional photo. Employers are looking to learn more about you and your experience.

Some ideas on how to do this include:

  • Posting or sharing articles. These can be related to your role or industry sector or can be about you and the things you care about.
  • Recommendations. This is so important! Ask current or previous colleagues to recommend and write something about you. It can also be external clients you have worked with. 
  • Make connections with people in your industry sector and join relevant groups. You will appear in more searches made by employers and recruiters looking to hire, as well as have a better opportunity to view posts and stay close to what is happening in your market sector. Joining groups has a similar impact and also demonstrates your interests to potential employers.
  • LinkedIn shares their top tips here:
  1. Your CV

The CV has always been important and continues to be the main way to secure a role. Make sure it is clear, not too lengthy (2-3 pages is ideal), well formatted and ensure you use bullet points so that the content is digestible. Our preference is to have clear points and successes from your career at the top rather than a general career summary. Use mainly industry-specific keywords and hard skills. 

Showcase your softer skills but make it succinct and remember everyone writes these – they will only stand out with examples. Another tip is when describing your duties, highlight the challenges you’ve faced and how you overcame them. List your achievements.

  1. Networking

Maintain connections and establish new ones. Get in touch with previous employers and colleagues, they may be able to provide you with market information or details of hiring managers that they know. Friends and family may also be able to help. Many opportunities are secured by networks. Get yourself out there! 

  1. Build your skill set

The only constant in the job market is change. By updating your skills, it will make you adaptable. This can be your technical skills, for example in accountancy brushing up on IFRS or update your CPA/CA progress. You can self-teach via articles, videos and free information on the internet or take a course. This doesn’t need to be costly either, for example there are free courses on Open University or you can join LinkedIn Learning for the first month for free.

You can also build your softer skills, maybe do an audit of yourself? Be honest about where you can improve areas such as communication, organisation, leadership and emotional intelligence. There are a huge number of books you can read or listen to. Future employers will be keen to hear about what you have been doing to change and adapt. Being motivated to build your skills demonstrates your drive to secure a role and work. 

  1. Building relationships with recruiters

Recruiters have good relationships with HR and hiring managers. They often work with companies over a long period and have insider knowledge, including what skills sets and team fit clients are looking for. Building relationships with your recruitment consultant will allow them to have a good idea of the type of role you are looking for and your career growth plans.

  1. How you handle rejection is important

The job market is currently very competitive, therefore staying positive is key. If you keep going and make small goals for yourself each day, then it is much more likely that opportunity will come. For example, it could be that you call 2/3 people a day or make 10 new connections on LinkedIn. However, you decide to approach it and don’t give up. 

The job market is very different, but companies are still hiring. Often first interviews are completed via video call so ensuring you practice interviewing over video is imperative as it is harder to gauge people’s responses. Clear concise communication is key to being successful during a video interview.