Has anyone lost their job in the current global pandemic and isn’t worried about when they’ll start working again? I suppose there are a small number who are benefiting from the job seeker/keeper arrangements, but, I have been unemployed a couple of times in my career, due to end of contract or moving overseas, and I have always known I would get through it. But COVID is a little bit different simply because of the vast increase in numbers of people competing for the same job.
Check out some prediction stats from the BCEC to August 2021 of the effect of job losses in the market.
Huge numbers, and whilst we’re not all competing for the same job in the same locations, the market has significantly shifted and it is most important now more than ever to stand out from those who are vying for the same job as you. The impact on our mental health is devastating – how do we stay motivated rejection after rejection after rejection? Through increasing our chances off success through standing out.
How to stand out
- Tailor your CV – Every. Single. Time. Why? Your resume will contain great information for some roles, and irrelevant information for others which will knock you out of the process. They say recruiters take 6-10 seconds to look at resumes before deciding to progress or eliminate. Tailoring your resume details to the attributes being advertised is paramount and necessary so these details are captured in those first 6-10 seconds – remove anything that doesn’t match the criteria. Don’t remove ROLES altogether unless they’re completely irrelevant. Just joosh up the content within each role that demonstrates your ability to meet the selection criteria. Better off submitting 15 well-tailored and targeted applications, than 30 carbon copies.
- Make an introductory call – Every. Single. Time (unless the ad specifically asks you not to). Why? If the advert contains contact details that invite you to seek further information, definitely reach out to that person for an initial introductory discussion – high level – to discuss something about the role.
If there aren’t any details, look them up and ask to speak to someone. The only time you shouldn’t do this is if the advertisement asks you not to.
I prepare three questions/speaking points and the conversation evolves from there. After checking the person is available to speak, (Always ask if now is a good time, once you get through to them before you start your tirade. You are courteous of this busy person’s time, and don’t want them to interrupt your rude tirade with ‘Ah now isn’t a good time.’) the questions I use, and in this order are:
- “How important is previous experience in [insert industry] to this role?”
This will tell you whether or not your industry experience can be transferred into this role/company.
- “What is the size of the client group/department/company?”
From an HR job perspective, this gives you an indication of the resourcing ratio. It’ll demonstrate whether you’re working in a large team, a small team, the number of people you’ll be leading, etc.
- “What are the key background/experiences you’re looking for in the ideal candidate? The non-negotiables?”
This is so I can tailor my resume specifically to what they said they’re looking for.
A suggestion is to try and pick certain things out of the advert to query. This also showcases your strong communication and interpersonal skills.
Then tailor your covering letter, referencing the call
“Name, I was delighted to speak with you earlier today, and am writing to apply for the position of XYX with Company ABC as advertised on Website” etc.
You are better off taking these steps before you apply, instead of just applying for jobs willy-nilly. Rejection is hard (See HR Hot Tip #29) but it happens so you need to be prepared for it, but you also deserve to stand out and increase your chances of getting that job.
Another note: Not all companies and people respect returning phone calls, which is why I have included this at HR Hot Tip #74. In my opinion, it’s just courtesy and shows respect to the person seeking you out. I would have a 50% call return rate at the moment. Frankly ‘better late than never’ is good in this situation. I’ll always respond positively to someone who owns their stuff-up and apologises, than avoids me altogether. They got your message; they’re just being rude. Personally I don’t want to deal with people like that.
More information on how to stand out is in Part 1 in HR Hot Tips: Handy Secrets for Success in the Workplace. Purchase it here.