Jan 20

Super Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker by Simon Gray

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 Keeping ahead of the competition in 2013 From ‘Super Secrets of the Successful Jobseeker’  Author

Getting yourself to market

“Knowledge is power” might be a cliché these days, but the stark fact of the matter is that it’s never been more of a truism. When you know more about the environment you’re about to enter, then the better you can market yourself, and adapt.

I have interviewed a number of people recently who have been in secure jobs but have been thrown into the hustle and bustle of the jobs market because of redundancy. To be frank, some of their expectations have been unrealistic. They often think that the jobs market is exactly the same as when they last looked for a position –  but times have changed.

I often equate this to a prisoner who has been newly released from prison after serving a 10-stretch. Their surroundings are unfamiliar, and time, people and technology has moved on. It’s no wonder they’re confused.

In my experience, jobseekers react to this in two different ways: they bury their head in the sand and try and pretend nothing has changed; or they take a more enlightened approach and try to gain more understanding of the modern job market and how best to place themselves within in it.

It’s no secret that there are now more people applying for the same job than ever before. With this comes a downward pressure on salaries, and, as far as employers are concerned, it’s most definitely a “buyer’s market”.

Employers are under the impression that they don’t have to try too hard to find great candidates with the skills they need because there appears to be so many out there looking for jobs. They’re also in no rush to make snap decisions when it comes to appointments – nor will they hire unless completely necessary because of the cost risk that taking someone on incurs. In short: employers believe they sit in the seat of power.

Jobseekers, meanwhile, are going into the jobs market believing it’s going to be tough to land a role. They’re thinking to themselves: “I’m going to have to work really hard to find a job and I’m not guaranteed to find one – is there any point?” They also believe they should be grateful for any job that’s offered to them at whatever salary. But the main thing they believe is that they have absolutely no power in the jobs market at all.

I think this is misguided. Why? Because you simply can’t control what is out of your reach. The mindset of employers is beyond a jobseekers capability to alter, and so trying to do so will only waste time and lead to a dead end. The jobseeker would be better spending their time and effort trying to understand what their future potential employer is thinking, and how you can tailor your skills and experience to meet their requirements. In doing this, you’ll be instantly rebalancing the relationship.

The first thing any jobseeker should do is remember who their competition is. Make sure you differentiate yourself from other jobseekers; instantly falling in-line with what the competition is doing will put you at a distinct advantage. Arm yourself with the weapons you need to make you stand out from the crowd.

This can seem like a daunting task, but it needn’t be. Research is vital, and this can be done at a local level rather than trying to ascertain what’s happening nationally.

The local press is a good place to start. Find out what’s happening in the regional economy, and basic steps such as measuring the thickness of the local jobs paper is a good place to start if you want to take stock of hiring activity in the market.

Recent figures show that as many as 20 per cent of people online at any time are looking for a job. Use this time to take a look at jobs boards and search for skills that employers are looking for.

Talk to the professionals – set up meetings with local recruitment businesses. Ask their advice on what’s happening, skills sought after and salary levels.

Do your homework on your local business scene; who are the larger businesses and who are the up and coming SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises)?

By undertaking these simple steps, you the jobseeker, will have a more realistic handle on the jobs market and a better of the times on the times your are living in.

With a clear picture of how things are, you are far better informed and more empowered to plan your attack and find your next position.