Advice for Jobseekers

Posted on July 28, 2020
By Catherine Heilemann

Finding a new job in the midst of a crisis is hard. There are many people in the market right now and that makes competition tough. This in turn can make you question yourself. Here are my tips for job seeking right now: 

Networking is touted by many and for good reason. How you go about this when you can’t meet face-to-face requires the technology, a kettle, coffee or tea and milk – if desired. I’m meeting with someone this week and we have all of what is needed – Zoom, a calendared time and instead of commuting, I shall be boiling the kettle. You should be mindful of a few things: where you position the camera relative to your face, lighting, reducing distractions, the way you engage with the other person and not talking over them (unlike when face-to-face,  speaking over one another on zoom = “I have no idea what they just said moments”).

Another way to stay connected is by signing-up for industry news via newsletters and joining LinkedIn groups. 

You may have noticed a phenomenal proliferation of courses online, some you pay for, others you don’t. LinkedIn learning have lots and I think they’re pretty good. Some tertiary education institutions are also providing free courses. Coursera is another great source.  

Work on your CV. You may want to read my tips on this: 

People talk about value all the time. The truth is talking, knowing and being able to communicate it are three different things. In my experience many people understand that speaking in terms of value is important. When it comes to knowing your value and being able to communicate it – that’s where it can be tricky. The starting place for knowing your worth is how you perceive yourself. Use my Self-Perception tool to strengthen your grasp on you. I love it when people find out something new about themselves and brim with pride. It’s the best! 

Job searching… here’s a statistic – pre-COVID,  25% of opportunities were advertised directly, 25% were through agencies and 50% were through your network – just another reason for you to tap into your network. There is an art to job hunting. In my experience if you’re not getting about a 25% response rate to job applications, there is something wrong with your resume. Right now that may be a bit different, especially in the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.  

Another tip when job hunting is to contact the hirer, if you can get in touch with them before you apply that would be ideal. Then, follow-up once you have submitted your application – try calling and if that doesn’t work email or LinkedIn message them. You want to stand out from the crowd. 

Video interviews are de rigueur right now. Preparing for an interview no matter the medium is important. I suggest treating a video interview from home with as much professionalism as you would in an office environment. Dress up; look into the camera (not at yourself), remain focussed on the interviewer; use your space to your advantage – that is lean in when wanting to make a point, use your hands, be as expressive as you can be to convey meaning and emotion; position the camera at eye height; be sure to set up with a good background that doesn’t distract or detract; aim for as little interruption as possible; and check lighting – be sure it doesn’t cast shadows on your face, or change through the interview.  

The art of job search isn’t an exact science. There are however some general rules of thumb – subscribe to jobs from employers you want to work with, connect with people who could help you out, subscribe to job posting sites such as LinkedIn, Seek, Indeed, eFinancial careers, Hays and ask around your network about any potential opportunities. Be sure to have something interesting to say when doing this – some kind of insight to help you be noticed. Speak to the job agencies who have coverage and connection to the industries and companies you are most interested in. Keep at it. Spend about an hour – no more than two hours a day job seeking. Be sure to give yourself a break as it can be daunting. 

Finally, unless you really need the cash, be sure to say yes to the right job for you and if you are settling, set yourself a duration for how long you will stay in the role before moving on.

Advice for Jobseekers

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