“Finding a job in a competitive market can be tough, but there are some steps you can take to stand out from the crowd”, says Greg Harper, Torrens University Pro-Vice Chancellor, Business. Read on for his top tips on how to make yourself more employable and securing the job you really want.
1) Keep your CV in check
Even if you aren’t actively looking for a new role, Greg advises that you should be regularly updating your CV so that when the time comes, you’re not frantically scrambling to pull it together. “My CV is essentially a live document. Whenever I have a particularly big win at work, such as rolling out a successful project, I will add it to my CV straight away. This way you’ll ensure nothing is missed when the time does come to start looking for a new role,” Greg says.
You’ve probably noticed that most roles you’re applying for today have a minimum requirement of a bachelor’s degree. You can set yourself apart from your competitors by furthering your education with short courses or better yet, a postgraduate qualification such as a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). It’s rarely a prerequisite, but having a postgraduate qualification will often set you apart from other candidates. “If I have two candidates who have very similar experience, I’ll often lean towards the one who has gone that step further and undertaken some postgraduate study as it is a good indicator of motivation and a strong work ethic,” Greg says. Likewise, you might find that you will go further in the interview process if you have additional skills such as speaking a second language, or knowledge of how to use a specific technology program. “In short, the less time a company has to spend on training its new employees, the better. Make sure you highlight any unique skills you have as you never know when they may come in handy,” says Greg.
3) Get social
Even if you aren’t particularly tech savvy, improving your online presence can help you to get noticed by prospective employers. “Keeping your LinkedIn profile updated is particularly important as many employers have recruiters who will actively research these sites for potential candidates,” Greg says. You’ll probably also want to consider restricting what can be seen publicly on your other social media accounts, such as Facebook. “These days it’s very common for prospective employers to look candidates up online before and during the interview process, and you don’t want anything they see on here to overshadow what you have to offer in the workplace,” Greg adds.
4) Manage your expectations
The job market is competitive so try and go in with realistic expectations about how long it might take you to find the right role. “Be prepared to get knocked back – unfortunately, it’s a part of life but try not to let it get you down,” says Greg. If you’ve been looking for several months, it can be disheartening – but try not to bring a negative attitude with you to interviews. “Try and stay positive. Don’t let a few knock backs ruin your confidence.”
5) Be flexible
According to Greg, a little flexibility can go a long way. “You might have a set salary in mind, for example, but it is worth considering taking an offer than is slightly lower if the organisation is a place that is going to offer you more long term career opportunities. Try not to have too many rules in place when you are looking for a role,” Greg says.
6)…and one for good luck: believe in yourself
It might sound clichéd, but having confidence in your abilities and being able to articulate yourself can go a long way in the interview process. “It’s a competitive market out there and candidates need to have faith that they are the right fit for the role – and be able to tell us why. Being confident that you have the skills we are looking for will get you a lot further than someone who is unsure of themselves or undersells their experience in an interview situation,” says Greg.
Greg Harper is Pro Vice Chancellor for Business and Entrepreneurship at Torrens University Australia. He is a highly experienced educator, executive, leader, and consultant. The former General Manager of Swinburne Industry Solutions, Greg has held a number of senior executive positions in the public and private sectors: for example, Chief Executive of a large Queensland TAFE Institute and a Senior Executive in the Queensland Department of Education and Training. He is a highly experienced organisational development consultant having worked with some of Australia’s leading corporations. As a leader Greg’s focus is on developing people by providing coaching and developmental assignments.