09/12/2016 - 12:58

Standing out from the crowd

09/12/2016 - 12:58


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Getting a job is hard. Gone are the days where all that was needed was a pulse and the word ‘manager’ in a previous job title to secure a plethora of interviews.

The current job market is highly competitive. Photo: iStockphoto

Getting a job is hard. Gone are the days where all that was needed was a pulse and the word ‘manager’ in a previous job title to secure a plethora of interviews.

Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest that unemployment in Western Australia is continuing to rise and is now the highest in the country. The word ‘boom’, which for so many years dominated our conversations and newspaper headlines, has been unceremoniously replaced with the word ‘slump’.

Registered training organisations are now trying to fill their courses by making cold-calls to find people who are unemployed and in need of ‘reskilling’.

The talent market is awash with highly qualified and experienced professionals caught in the rip that is the post-boom slump.

The good news, however, is that there are jobs. In fact there are more than just jobs, there are really exciting career defining roles out there. The trouble is that more than 80 per cent of these roles will never be advertised. If by chance (or more likely, company policy) a great role is advertised, there are likely to be well over 100 applications for it.

Getting noticed among all the other professionals who have the same qualifications and experience comes down to two things – knowledge of all the relevant roles available, and an effective resume.

An effective resume is the single most important document an employee (or hopeful employee) will ever write. It is the only document that will determine whether a candidate will be considered for a particular job.

A resume is not, as many people mistakenly believe, an autobiography; it is a sales document. Recruiters are used to seeing resumes – thousands and thousands of resumes – and when there are 200 applicants for one position, a bad resume will be put on the ‘reject’ pile without a second thought. Even a good resume can easily find its way to the reject pile, because when securing a position on the shortlist is as hard as securing tickets to an Adele concert, only the really great resumes will make the cut.

Most of the time a resume has less than 30 seconds to secure you an interview.

Now here’s the rub – writing a great resume is not easy. The main reason for this is that most of us are never taught how to write a great resume at school or university, and an internet search will return results of many very average – not great – resume examples.

However, a great resume is not an end in itself. Having an effective resume without the awareness of career opportunities is like having a solar-powered car with no sun. It is imperative for candidates to have current knowledge of the job market. Most importantly, candidates must manoeuvre themselves to be aware of all the great (unadvertised) opportunities that exist, particularly through effective and strategic networking.

Now more than ever, candidates need to have an edge to secure a career-defining role. Saturated with talent and insecurity, successful candidates  in this volatile job market are starting new jobs while at the same time creating plans A, B and C just in case they are made redundant.

So what’s more important when comes to securing your dream job – is it what you know or who you know? Actually, it’s both.


• James Fairbairn is an experienced executive search consultant and partner at Lester Blades. He is the author of Career Karma.




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