It’s Not You! It‘s the Current Job Market. How to Stay Motivated to Get That Next Role

It is not news for any professionals or executives who are job seeking that job ads are down. In turn, recruitment agencies are reporting being down on assignments by 60-70%. Of the roles being advertised, many are being pulled at different stages of the hiring process and, some are of questionable authenticity (which has always been the case). What’s left is a small amount of job ads where an appointment will ultimately be made.

Given what the market is doing, it is easy for job seekers to become disillusioned about their job prospects, particularly in the short term.  I would encourage you to look at the bigger picture and the next 6-12 months when there will be a more positive picture and what you can do to position yourself well for this time. It is going to require a much more strategic approach and less applying online to job ads, which tends to be the default of most job seekers and it is not working anymore.

The Job Search Game Has Changed

Job ads have traditionally been the go-to source for recruiters to advertise roles. However, particularly with professional and executive level roles, LinkedIn and the Seek Profile Talent offering has changed things.

Shrinking Job Ads

While recruiters will post job ads, they are not as reliant on them anymore as there are many more services to use that get good results.

When they post a job ad, the recruiter will get 150-200 plus applicants, which creates a big administrative process of potentially replying to every applicant, returning 100 calls per job ad and so on. They have a big pool of applicants to whittle down to 5-10.  The recruitment process is an exclusionary one. They are looking for reasons to knock your application out of the game to get it down to the last few to call and take through to interview.

This is done in a number of ways – including by parsing software that looks for key words and humans that look for key words that match the clients job brief.   The human may be an experienced recruiter, or an administrative assistant who has little understanding of the role and your experience. At this point in the process, there is a high probability that you are included or eliminated if the wording you have used and/or your experience matches the brief. It has nothing to do with your capability.  It is simply a case of ‘how does your experience compare with the client brief?’ How close a match is it? If it is not next to 100% you will not progress to interview stage.

It is important to remember that the recruiter has a detailed client job brief that they must match if they want to get paid and remain employed.

Warning – not all job ads are authentic. Be sure to only apply for job ads that have considerable detail and only meet with recruiters who can provide information about the organisation they are hiring for, position descriptions etc.

LinkedIn Profiles

The growth of LinkedIn has been terrific as it has forced job seekers to look beyond having often a dry and traditional resume that details their past work history. LinkedIn is a more dynamic way for job seekers to sell their experience and potential. It is also more empowering in that if you have a great LinkedIn profile it enables you to be found and approached about jobs, rather than having to chase job opportunities which can be exhausting and demotivating.

The purpose of your LinkedIn profile is therefore different. It is to be found. So, your profile needs to be geared up for this if you want to receive approaches from hiring managers and recruiters about the jobs your targeting.

Recruiters are now heavily using LinkedIn as the numbers make sense for them. They can reach out to 20 plus candidates and will hear back from two thirds of them. They then can do a phone screen and take 5 of the candidates to interview. The administrative process is shortened significantly they still get the talent and get paid by the client.

The take-away here is you still need a great resume plus you need a great LinkedIn profile.

Staying Positive & Focused During Your Job Search

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Even the most resilient job seeker can find the emotional journey of job seeking a tiring and testing battle. 

To show up every day and put yourself, your resume, and your LinkedIn profile out in the marketplace for job opportunities is taxing, particularly now with so few jobs at the professional and executive level. There is the continual rejection with smatterings of hope as you get called in for interviews. 

Certainly, keep up the activity as it is essential, however be mindful of how and where you dedicate your time.  

Below are some suggestions for how to spend your time that will help you get that next job.

Get to know a lot of recruiters – recruiters are busy people however they are also there to help you. Get to know a lot of them (12+) and build solid relationships. Keep in touch. They do want you to keep in touch as they need you. Even if it takes them awhile to get back to you.

Spend less time applying online – while it seems easy in theory to apply online, unless you fit the job brief 100%, don’t bother applying. Each day you spend applying for a job ad is often a waste of a day. Also, don’t apply for jobs your overqualified for they will never consider your application.

Networking matters – while you don’t want to hear it, now is the time to be networking and building up your networks for the future. Companies are hiring directly – if they are hiring and a great way to get in is through referrals be it for contract or permanent roles. Leverage your work colleagues, former bosses, university alumni contacts and more. You need to be out there creating networks and in turn opportunities for yourself.

Look after your mental & physical wellbeing – it is hard work job seeking and the days can blend into weeks when applying online for job ads. Don’t. Make sure you have a routine each day that involves your job search, exercise, catching up with others, networking, researching, hobbies, study, volunteer etc. You want to be in a positive state of mind when you get called for interviews and present your best self!

Have a support group – it is tough togo it alone in thismarket. Be sure to ask for help, speak with family and friends about how they can support you.  Meet up with others you know job searching and help one another. Go along to networking events, seminars, presentations etc. If you need further support engage a counsellor or career coach.

You will get a great job or contract however it is less likely to happen if you spend 80% of your time applying for online job ads. The market has changed and how companies source talent has shifted significantly. Be sure to approach it strategically and give yourself the best chance of success.

Most importantly remember, how long it takes you to get your next job is not a reflection of how employable you are.

Complimentary Live Workshop

  • Keen to learn more about how you can improve your job search odds?  

Join us in August 2020 for ‘The Job Search Game Has Changed! How to Stay Motivated & Get That Next Role’ live workshop. This is a complimentary 1 Hour event. We ran the workshop in June & the feedback was very positive.

“I just wanted to thank you for such an informative, punchy session.  More advice in certain respects than I have received through outplacement!” Jane

“Thank you for such a great workshop.” David

EMAIL – Nicole, to register your interest

Looking to secure your first board or committee position?

Board Meeting In Progress

It is not uncommon for people in their mild life (35-55) to consider joining a board or committee. Which makes sense as you have no doubt developed some great skills and experiences that would be highly valuable to an organisation, however, it is difficult to know how to go about securing your first role.  It is very much like when you first entered the job market – it was likely a challenge to find that first organisation or person to give you a go!  

Before embarking on your board or committee search have a think about the following:

  • Why do you really want to join a board or committee? For example: develop new networks, help to make a career transition, apply skills learnt through post grad study, give back to the community etc
  • What types of boards or committees are you most interested in, and why? For example: a board position within the disability services area, as I have a family member with a disability and am passionate about the insights and experience, I can bring to improve the services provided. 
  • What tangible value do you offer? What your transferable skills or key capabilities to a board or committee? If you are not sure do some reflection of your skills and some research on what they look for! For example: Risk & Governance, Finance, Talent Management, Corporate Strategy etc.

There are many channels available to search for board and committee roles. The key really is to select the right channel/s for you and where you are at in your life and career.  There are other channels available I have just included those that I have used and can recommend.

Board Membership Organisations

Organisations such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Women on Boards are terrific however do require a financial investment to join.

Not for Profit Board & Committee Roles

If you are looking to give back to your community and are happy to start in an unpaid board or committee role,  Our Community is fantastic. There is no fee and they offer an extensive range of Board and Committee roles across Not for Profits in Australia. I secured one of my earlier committee roles via this site and to this day am thankful for the opportunity.

Other sites include: Good Jobs and Seek Volunteer which have some board and committee roles listed.  There is no fee.

Government Board & Committee Roles

For Government related board and committee roles  see your local state government site such as Get On Board for the Victorian State Government.

There is the Victorian Women’s Register where women can register there interest in opportunities. Check your state for equivalent government initiatives.

Before Applying……………

It is important to remember you will need to create a board CV or adapt your general CV to make it relevant for board or committee roles. Also remember, just like when your job searching, a great cover letter is required and reason for why you want to join them and the value you can bring.  Boards and committees are just as selective as other employers when looking to appoint talent so be sure to keep this in mind.  

Being on a board or committee is a wonderful thing to do both for yourself and the boards or committees you are contributing to. Wishing you the best of luck with securing your first board or committee role.

Unsure if your CV is Board Ready?

Not Sure Your CV is Board Ready? If you are unsure and need support email or call one of our coaches today.

Lets talk through your Board CV so you can start applying for great roles & not miss out

Are Cover Letters really needed in the digital age?

computer and emailsEven though online job applications are now the norm, cover letters are still widely used in the recruitment process. It could be argued that cover letters are more important in the digital age as many candidates are job searching across countries and industries where they are not established. New careers are being created so hirers will be looking for candidates who can clearly demonstrate their aptitude for the role and also why they want the role with some sincerity.

You cannot guarantee that every cover letter will be read thoroughly but many recruiters like to see a cover letter in an application as it shows that the candidate has really thought about why they are a suitable candidate for the role and they have considered why they want to work for your organisation. The secret is to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the hirer. What will make them interested to read your cover letter? The answer is usually some evidence that the candidate understands the role and can explain why they want the role with some authenticity.

A good example of this is from one of my clients who submitted a rushed and blandly written cover letter for an organisation she was very keen to join. She was not shortlisted for that role. After a few months there was another role and I encouraged her to reapply, but this time, write a cover letter that is authentic and accurate. My client wrote a really completing argument on why she wanted the role and why she was a great fit too. Not only she got the interview, she got the job and is still working for the organisation five years later!

The simple rule to follow is that if the hirer asks for a cover letter in your application, then write one! If you do not include a cover letter, you may not be shortlisted for the role.

Even though the cover letter is for the hirer’s purpose, writing a cover letter has many benefits for the candidate, for any level of seniority.

Here are five reasons why we recommend that you write a cover letter for every job application and how the process can be highly beneficial to you:

  1. Check that you are a credible candidate for the role. The primary purpose of a cover letter is for the candidate to describe in their own words how they are a good match for a specific role. i.e. do they have the skills, experience and qualifications needed for this role. Have you checked that you have at least 80% of the requirements listed in the essential criteria? If not, you are probably wasting your time applying for the wrong  roles.
  2. Identifies why you want the role. The process of writing the cover letter will help you to assess why you want the role and why you want to work for that particular organisation. Your enthusiasm for the opportunity can come across in the way you write your cover letter. The hirer will be ‘reading between the lines’ to get an impression of your personality and interest in the role. Focus on writing your cover letter with some enthusiasm and honesty. Tell the reader why you are suitable for the role and why you want it in your own words!
  3. It helps you to be objective at a stressful time. It is widely recognised that job searching can very emotionally challenging. Are you showing your desperation to change jobs or focussing on tangible reasons why you want the role? Many candidates waste time on rushed application and wonder why they get a high number of rejections. One explanation for feeling a fraud or not wanting to talk about yourself is the psychological concept of Imposter Syndrome. It is common in high achievers, perfectionists or simply people with a fear of failure. You might like to take this short quiz to see how Imposter Syndrome may be holding you back from writing about yourself. Having a strategic approach to your job search will include writing a cover letter based on your analysis of your fit for the role, including evidence such as achievement stories. Writing a cover letter can help you to manage the emotions of the job search and assist you to objectively evaluate a role.
  4. Keeping your application consistent to your interview. The process of writing a cover letter will also help you to prepare for interviews and help you to form your answers that are consistent to the rest of your job application. For example, ‘Why are you the best candidate for the role?’ ‘Why do you want the role? Preparing and practicing answering these questions before applying for the role will also ensure that you are applying for a role that excites you, and why you want to do that particular job.
  5. Marketing your Personal Brand and skills. Cover letters provide an example of your writing skills and need to be consistent and authentic to your personal brand as displayed in your resume and online profiles. The ability to analysis the requirements for the role and summarise your suitability in a one page, focussed letter will convince the recruiter that it is worth reading your resume. Writing in your own voice will be more compelling to read too.

In summary, the need for a cover letter is alive and well. The process of writing a cover letter will help you to focus on why you are the best candidate for the role and why you want it.  It will save you time by identifying the roles not to apply for! Instead of thinking if a cover letter as a chore, use it as a tool to differentiate yourself in a sea of lacklustre candidates.

Contact us for more information on our coaching programs to help you write your most effective cover letter. Here’s a link to our webpage on career coaching for professionals and executives.

#coverletters #jobsearch #jobapplications #writingskills #executivecoaching