Working in Australia

11 Tips That Will Set You Apart in Today's Job Market

It’s a tough, competitive world out there! Most people don’t just go for their first job interview and land the job instantly. It takes creativity, tenacity and drive. 

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And there are things you can do to tip the odds when it comes to being the most favourable candidate for a job. Let’s take a look.

No. 1 Do your research!

Know your industry, know the companies you are applying to and know your value. If you walk in to a job interview and have more questions than answers, you’re not likely to make a good impression. Your prospective employer will want to know how well you will fit in their organisation and one way you can show them that is by impressing them with your knowledge.

Do some research on the history of the organisation, check the background and career histories of the key people and learn how well positioned the company is among its competitors. With all this knowledge at your disposal, you can speak with authority and your interview will be memorable for all the right reasons.

No. 2 Get plenty of experience behind you

Finding a job is a long game. You have to start preparing years in advance to get the prime position you’re looking for. That starts with work experience and internships, preferably in the field in which you’re studying to work. Anything you can do to show your commitment to your industry will be of huge help.

A common complaint among job seekers is: “they want someone who’s experienced but I need a job first to get that experience!” That’s so true but you need to help yourself. Work at the bottom rung of the career ladder. Start in the trenches and work your way up.

Accept tasks that are not necessarily relevant to your career goals and in the process, you will gain respect and more interesting tasks will follow. All that experience will stand you in good stead when you go for interviews and you can show proof that you’ve done the hard yards and are willing to follow the path to success.

No. 3 Volunteer in the community

Employers love to see evidence of community spirit. Proving that you will work out of the goodness of your heart shows compassion, dedication and a willingness to succeed. Your volunteer work doesn’t have to be in your chosen field.

No. 4 Gather references

Proof of your good character, work experience and other skills is highly regarded. As you move through life, it’s a good idea to request references from employers and character references from people with whom you associate. It could be your church minister, your leasing agent, a university professor or a mentor. Include the most appropriate ones with your job application and have the others on hand in case you are asked for more.

No. 5 Engage in extra-curricular activities

Being active in extra-curricular activities gives you visibility and puts you in touch with people who could be useful in your search for your dream job. Maybe you enjoy public speaking, team sports or social activism. Perhaps you are a scout leader, you frequent incubator events or you host networking lunches. Whatever your passions, get involved, be seen and make yourself heard.

All these positive activities look great on your CV and give you a wonderful grounding as a person, not just a job candidate.

No. 6 Craft a highly positive online profile

This one is kind of a double-edged sword. You need to sift through your online presence and shut down any profiles that contain negativity such as drunken photos or provocative stances on social issues. On the positive side, you should build and craft a positive presence across pertinent platforms.

You may like to build a personal website that outlines your life, your education, work experience and career goals. LinkedIn is an obvious choice for corporate careers but if you are looking to enter a more creative sphere, then try Instagram and YouTube. Populating your profiles with career-friendly posts will gain you the attention you deserve.

No. 7 Keep abreast of market trends

Whatever field you want to get into, you need to stay on top of current trends in the careers market. For instance, if you are headed for a career in mining engineering, you need to know where the booming regions are and which resources are trending. If you’re looking to get into computer science, you need to be up to date on the latest programs and developments.

No. 8 Join industry associations

Show your commitment to your industry by joining associations that are relevant to it. Depending on your goals, it could be the Australian Institute of Management, the Australian Marine Sciences Association or the Audiological Society of Australia. Also take a look at Graduate Careers Australia (GCA), who assist graduates in seeking employment opportunities.

No. 9 Present yourself appropriately

Dressing the part is important because first impressions count. Wear clothes that suit how conservative, creative or open your industry is. Your hair and personal grooming should also reflect this.

No. 10 Determine ways that you add value

Anyone can apply for a job and have a well-written CV on hand to show off. What makes a huge difference, however, is being able to articulate the value you can bring to the role. Do you fluently speak a language that is important to the organisation, perhaps because they have offices overseas?

Do you have special expertise or deeper knowledge than your fellow candidates may have? Have you grown up in a large family business that’s connected with the industry? Think of ways that you will seem more compelling than other candidates and work that into the conversation.

No. 11 Think “who you know, not what you know”

It may seem like an unfair advantage but genuinely, when you know a key player in the industry and they can vouch for you or help you find a position, it can be very handy indeed. Whom have you come into contact with that could be of assistance to you in securing that dream job?

The jobs market is concentrated with ambitious, hard-working individuals who want the same job that you do. Anything you can do to stand above the crowd will work in your favour.