Starting Off

Three things you can do in the next three days to get ready to job hunt.

There are a few of universal truths of job hunting:

  1. It’s a numbers game, the more you apply, the higher the likelihood of success;
  2. It’s generally a daunting experience that can leave you feeling discouraged ; and
  3. It only takes one offer to make you feel much better about said experience.

I have never been that person who is headhunted.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always held my own in my jobs, been promoted and done OK for myself. Plenty of my old bosses would re-hire me, well, at least two have said as much.  But I am just not that person who gets a call out of the blue and gets a fabulous offer at just the right time.  I am the person who sends out many tens of applications, then, getting lucky, goes through the laborious interview process (and as I have become more senior this has become longer and more onerous), then they think about me, then, sometimes I get the offer.  At least once that I know of I was not the preferred candidate, yet I still ended up with the job.

The fact of the matter is, for most of us mere mortals, job hunting is a hard process that can wear away at our confidence and leaves us feeling somewhat bereft.  However, like childbirth, long-haul flights and the wait for the next season of Game of Thrones – after we have gotten to the other end, much of the agony of the process in getting there is forgotten.  If you are one of the lucky ones looking for work right now, here are three things may be helpful in preparing you for landing that illusive interview or to get you the job:

Day 1.  Get Grooming.  You know the song, ‘get a haircut and get a real job’ (probably not the right lyrics, but you get the gist), take on that advice, please.  Grooming is incredibly important when you are looking for work, and I think that many people don’t realise how important it is.  I am not talking short back and sides for men and a severe bun for women but I am saying when you are looking for work you should always present as clean, neat and in clothes that are in the same condition – you’d be amazed at how many people cannot even manage cleanliness at an interview.

Gentlemen, I realise that for some achieving hipster status requires an ironic beard, but if you are only in your third week of growth, chances are you look closer to a Survivor participant than a verified hipster.  Unless you are applying for a hipster role (think Capital city barrister), then please keep any facial hair either off your face while job hunting or kept very, very neat.  Grooming need not be expensive for women either, clear nail polish can be purchased for $2, hair just needs to be washed and tied back if long and you can get decent workwear from most of the reasonably priced chain stores (and if you have the time, thrift stores are an excellent source of workwear).  Do it today, washed everything, neat hair & clothing, neat nails, facial hair managed.

DAY 2.  Sort out your Resume and have a copy of it on your Phone.    If you are new to job search or even more importantly, if you have been at it a while you need to spend some more time on your resume.  In fact, as it is your introduction to your prospective workplace, I believe you should refresh it every four to six weeks while you are job hunting.  Why?  Glad you asked!  If one method is not working for you, why would you continue to use it thinking that you will get a totally different outcome.  True, you are sending it to different people, but different versions will help you focus on different roles and help you tailor it for the application.  There are literally thousands of sites that offer advice on resumes, free resume builders and templates.  I have provided a couple of links below.  It is said that recruiters now spend about six seconds on your resume, may as well make that time count.

If you don’t have access to internet, get down to your local library, or find your local Government Jobs Agency, both of whom will provide free internet access.  Save different versions of your resume to your phone, do it tomorrow.

I would just add at this stage that the paper resume is more or less dead.  Some folks may still advocate for a drop off, but most organisations won’t accept paper CV’s any longer (entry level like Coles, Woolies or McDonalds will only accept online applications).  If its on your phone, it is easily emailed or attached to an online application.

DAY 3. Make a list of three people that can help you with your job search and speak to them, in person.  I get that we live in a world of online applications, I am not suggesting that you forgo this century and conduct job search in person only, but I am saying that real people can help you get real jobs (in lingo talk it’s called Networking).  If you are looking to break into an industry, find someone who works in the industry and talk to them.  Ask for nothing more than their time, and if you can stretch the budget, offer to take them for a coffee.  Your parents (or children, or siblings) are excellent sources of information, and you may be surprised about who they know and can connect you with.  Teachers, Police Officers, Store Managers – all who have a wealth of experience, many of whom would be happy to share it with you.

If you desperately want to work for a specific organisation, then ask to meet with their HR or recruiting person (it’s a ballsy move, but the worst that can happen is that they say no).  Ask them what they are looking for in a new recruit, and how others have been successful in joining the company.  Remember, this is fact finding, nothing more – but if you do happen to have a breakthrough conversation, then your resume is right there with you on your phone and can be emailed through instantaneously.  Talk to real people, if you gain nothing more than information about getting into work, then you are still better off than where you were before the conversation.

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Links to resume advice & building sites (some of these are big ones that will have plenty of info to get you started):

SeekCareer OneHudson

Really if you just search ‘how to write a resume’ in any search engine you will come up with so many options that you won’t know what to do with yourself.

PS – Turns out it was the right lyrics.  Thank you George Thorogood:

Get a haircut and get a real job

Clean your act up and don’t be a slob

Get it together like your big brother Bob

Get a haircut and get a real job

…..Genius George!!

Photo by Joe Shillington on Unsplash

What do you do to get ready for a job hunt?  Comment below, I’d love to know….

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