EGM Insights: Tips on Finding a New Role in 2021
Updated: Dec 7, 2020
The pandemic has accelerated the rate of change to the way we work. Working from home has brought a number of challenges; including how to manage remote teams, how to keep staff engaged and how to protect the well-being of employees. It has also brought serious economic consequences across the world.
We discussed the economic impact of the pandemic in our report ‘EGM Insights: Adelaide Economy and Jobs - Signs of Hope?’ We found that Australia has fared better than other nations.
However, unemployment and underemployment are big issues.
In our own state of South Australia, the unemployment rate is slightly below the national average at 6.9% and the economy is performing relatively well compared to other states.
As a result, we are seeing an uplift in recruitment activity as life returns to normal. Citing research by LinkedIn, HRD Australia report that ‘one trend that stands out is the increasing number of employees changing their career paths in reaction to a more fluid job market.’
Whether you are looking for a new role having left your previous one – or looking to change roles, we hope these tips will be of value in your search.
Job Hunting Strategy
When you’re hunting for a new role, the biggest challenges are always knowing where to start, how to get organized, and figuring out the most effective way to approach your job search. (Forbes: 16 November 2020)
Identify clear goals – list the kinds of roles, industries and companies you’re interested in. what’s important to you in your next role? What will success look like in your search?
If you’re not currently working, plan your job hunting day the way you’d plan a business day – investment of time and focus are key. However, build a sustainable schedule in which you balance searching for a role with self-care so you don’t go completely crazy and burn yourself out. Staying organized is essential to this process
Adopt a marketing / business development strategy approach – identify and co-ordinate actions, plan follow up, measure results and identify lessons learnt.
Allocate a time each week to review progress and define actions for the coming week – this will help you keep on track
Reach out to your network – include colleagues you have worked with in the past and professional and personal contacts – make your network aware you’re looking - word gets around. Speak regularly to your contacts about progress. Be mindful of contacts who can make introductions to companies you would be interested in working for
Remain positive at all times – things can change very quickly on one phone call - lift yourself up, believe in yourself and promote yourself
According to the career website, Ladders, recruiters spend only 7.4 seconds reviewing a cv. Meaning, you as a job seeker have less than 8 seconds to make an impression on them. Many job seekers want to share everything about themselves in their cv, therefore, their cv becomes cluttered and overwhelming for the recruiter. Moreover, the cv lacks a clear purpose making the recruiter confused about how a candidate’s skills will translate to the role in which they’re applying. (Forbes, 13 October 2020)
Always keep your cv up-to-date – but be prepared to tweak it to fit the job opportunity
Keep your cv to two pages maximum – give more detail about recent roles. It’s unlikely that the hiring manager will focus on those roles you did years ago
Given the amount of time you have to make an impression, the information on the first page of your cv is vital. Make sure the first page contains a short summary outlining why you have the skills and experience to for the role as described in the advert – this catches the eye of the recruiter
Keep your cv simple and make sure it’s easily understood. To get noticed at a glance - be sure to bullet point your most marketable skills and relevant management experiences. Don't go into so much detail that a reader can't form a quick mental picture of you as a candidate
Tailor your cv to the role before you send it off. If you have the role description, draw out the experiences on your cv that match the role requirements
Identify keywords in the job advert and role description and use them in your cv where you have the relevant experience
No gaps in your cv – give an explanation for any gaps in your employment over 3-months, otherwise, questions may be raised and you could be ruled out of the process
Double-check spelling and grammar – it’s surprising how many simple errors there are on cvs – hiring managers may rule applicants out on these grounds alone
Try and describe the achievements you accomplished in each of your roles – but no exaggeration.
A simply designed cv in Word is generally the best format – Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are used to store cvs. Some ATS find it difficult to load cvs in pdf format or with complicated designs or photographs. If this is the case, you could be ruling yourself out at the opening hurdle
Include a (maximum) one page cover letter – describe how the experience you bring, how it fits with the role and you key qualities. Think of it as an ‘elevator pitch.’ Keep the letter concise and personalize it to the company or individual it is addressed to
Where appropriate include samples of your work; for example when applying for design or marketing roles
The current economic conditions have made sites like LinkedIn premier networking tools. Your LinkedIn profile is one of the most powerful career assets you have. It’s your professional portfolio—a multimedia representation of who you are and the value you deliver. And in our new all-the-time, all-virtual world thanks to Covid-19, your LinkedIn profile has become your first impression. (Forbes: 10th September 2020)
Recognize that LinkedIn is important – 30 % of hiring managers will check the LinkedIn profile of the applicant during the selection process (Fast Company: April 2018)
Make sure the details on your LinkedIn profile and cv match
Don’t simply list the roles you have undertaken on your LinkedIn profile – add a short description and the benefits you achieved against each
Have a professional looking profile – photograph, layout and concise language
Post high quality content on LinkedIn on a regular basis (at least weekly) – like and comment on content posted by other users
Follow companies and thought leaders you are interested in. Nearly every company has a LinkedIn profile. Search for companies you would be interested in working for and follow them on LinkedIn. When you select a specific company, additional, similar companies will also appear. Following them also expands your network. Plus, you can set up alerts for when positions of interest open, providing you with the advantage of being one of the first applicants.
Get recommendations from previous colleagues and clients – there are mixed views on the worth of LinkedIn recommendations – but they are valuable as public acknowledgements of your skills and achievements
When you apply for roles or are successful in getting an interview, use LinkedIn to identify connections in your network who are employed by the company or have worked there previously
Interviewing can undoubtedly be a nerve-wracking experience for many. The unfortunate reality is that a great deal of job seekers were never taught how to prepare for an interview. As such, they unknowingly make common mistakes that prevent them from getting their dream job.
Aside from looking polished and professional, arriving on time and doing your research, you should use this time to let your personality shine. Employers want to know you’re qualified for the position, but they also want to know that you’d be a good cultural addition. The way they assess this is through your personality and how you interact with them throughout the interview. (Forbes: 30 November 2020).
Do your homework – before the interview check the company website and search to see if there’s any recent news about them. Research the people conducting the interview – by reading their LinkedIn profiles. A common interview question is ‘what makes you interested in working for our company?’ Hiring managers ask this to better understand your motivation for applying for the role. Not doing your homework and failing to research into the company is a sure way to be disqualified early on
For remote interviews, test the technology beforehand – join the interview early in case there are hitches
Never speak ill about you previous employer. One of the biggest red flags for an interviewer is when a candidate speaks badly about a current or past employer. It gives the interviewer the impression that should you be hired and then leave, you would also stab them at the back
Talk about your achievements in previous roles – but use most of the time to explain how you achieved what you did and what you enjoyed about meeting the challenges – you them come across as ‘more rounded’
Interviews are often criteria based – where the interviewer is looking for examples of specific behavior. They will give a score to the answers, If you are asked to give specific examples, make sure you do just that: for example, ‘tell me about a time you met resistance to your ideas and what did you do? Tell me about a high performing team you were part of and what you brought to the team?’
If there are specific requirements in the job advert or role profile, think of examples of your experiences in these areas before the interview and highlight them where possible during the interview
When answering questions it’s acceptable to use a small number of references to experience outside the work environment – for example, if you are asked about leadership and you have relevant none work experience
If you are asked about your strengths, be specific. Most candidates answer this question with ‘working with people’ or ‘working as part of a team.’ You will stand out if you say specifically what aspects you are strong at and what specifically you enjoy
When it comes to answering the ‘what’s your greatest weakness’ question, the worst thing you can say is that you have no weaknesses. This shows a lack self-awareness. Moreover, don’t make a weakness sound like a strength: ‘my weakness is I care too much’ or ‘my weakness is I have standards that are just too high.’ Everyone has weaknesses. The reason behind this question is not only to see how self-aware you are, but how you’re working to address and improve your weaknesses
Be prepared to ask insightful questions. Interviewing is a two-way process. When you ask questions during an interview, it shows the interviewer you’re engaged, you’ve done your research and you care about more than just a salary. Asking questions only about the salary and benefits tells interviewers you only care about what’s in it for you.
Why did the last person in this position leave?
What would the onboarding look like if I join the company?
How do you invest in employees development?
What makes you proud to work here?
What would you say would be my biggest challenge if I would join the company?
If you are being interviewed by the person you’ll be working for, ask a small number of questions about them – for example, about their leadership style (the best leaders talk about people development), what their expectations of you are (the best leaders have clear visions and expectations of their team) and how optimistic they are about company prospects in the forthcoming year (the best leaders are optimists)
Research the salary range for the role you’re being interviewed for – figures are available from LinkedIn, Glassdoor or through a simple Google enquiry
Don’t avoid the salary question – give a salary range, including the minimum you would take the role for. While some recommend not giving a salary and avoiding the question altogether, ultimately everyone has a minimum salary in mind. Furthermore, company’s typically have an inflexible budget In order to not waste your time or the company’s, it’s important to be transparent up front
Job boards can be a valuable tool for finding your next role. They’re also a good source of information about salary levels and other employment data. They can also provide feedback about what it’s like to work at your target companies
Ask the question: is the platform relevant to the skills and experience you have and the kind of role you’re looking for?
Set up job alerts – emails will be sent automatically when a role is uploaded that matches your criteria
If the name of the agency or hiring manager are given – send a follow up email or LinkedIn message if you apply through the jobs board
If the name of the company is given, check to see if the role is advertised on their web site. It may be better to apply directly on the company site
Recruitment agencies play an imperative part in present day recruitment space. Organizations regularly outsource their recruitment needs to a particular agency who will then take care of things such as shortlisting, interviewing, and reference checking while Job seekers will often head straight to their local recruitment agency when they are looking for a new job. Established agencies will have the best roles accessible and will do everything conceivable to match them with the ideal position.
Use recruitment agencies with staff who speak knowledgeably, are responsive and you trust to act in your best interests
Use recruitment agents who have specialist experience in the sectors you are looking in
Seek out agents who have placed candidates in companies you’d be interested in working for – ask for success stories to prove they have the contacts and networks
Don’t use agencies who speculatively send your cv to companies – no-one benefits if your CV is received by the hiring manager from two different sources
Use agencies who can fully answer the questions you have about roles – this shows that the agency has been well briefed by their client and they have a strong working relationship with them.
At EGM we send our very best wishes to all candidates who will be looking for roles in 2021.
We hope these tips are useful and look forward to providing a brilliant, responsive service to you if you choose to use us in your job search.