Prior to COVID-19, the New Zealand job market had a moderate but steady flow of candidates seeking new opportunities, either as a result of finishing their current assignments or just naturally looking for their next step, along with a decent amount of roles coming through.
Then COVID-19 happened, and the market has changed dramatically. So many candidates have been affected in their jobs, whether it is due to contract roles finishing early, projects being paused, reduced budgets or redundancies. Roles are being pulled (or put on hold), and there are many more candidates looking for jobs.
What does that mean? With the market flooded with a pool of new talent and fewer roles to go around, landing a job in this competitive environment can be tricky. Candidates must be fully prepared and find ways to stand out in order to get ahead of the other jobseekers.
Below, I have put together my advice to help you set yourself apart in the talent pool and secure the job you want.
Tips for Getting a Job in a Competitive Market
In this challenging climate, getting the basics right and paying attention to the little details is key to success. If you want to rise above the competition, keep these job search tips in mind:
Showcase your unique strengths
The key to standing out in a competitive job market is to position yourself as a high performer in your industry and highlight the unique combination of strengths you bring to the table. Perhaps you have been promoted repeatedly in the past, were chosen for special projects, speak another language or hold a project management certification.
Identifying these features and incorporating them into your CV, LinkedIn profile and job interviews is a great way to demonstrate your skills and experience to employers and emphasise the things that make you exceptional.
Leverage online tools
Since recruiters and hiring managers often use social media to find qualified candidates, having a strong LinkedIn presence that brands you as an expert in your field is vital for catching their attention. Use LinkedIn to expand on your CV and “tell a story” about who you are as a professional. It’s also a good place to build your network, which can help you find inroads to companies you want to work for, so make sure you’re regularly contacting connections, creating posts and engaging with others on the platform. Don’t forget to request recommendations and endorsements from people you’ve worked within the past, which will help validate your skills and experience.
It’s also a good idea to sign up to online job sites, which allow you to receive notifications about new jobs when they are posted, as well as get an idea of which companies are hiring and what they’re looking for.
Fine-tune and tailor your CV
When trying to secure a job in a candidate-rich market, it’s important to ensure your CV is as polished as it can be before you submit it for a role, as a mistake or omission is often all it takes to lose out on a potential employment opportunity. Try and keep it reasonably brief, and use a simple, clear layout to make it easy to read the key information.
Your CV needs to be tailored to each job you apply for – it should clearly demonstrate why you are the best fit for that position. Make sure you include as many keywords from the job ad as possible and aim to highlight the skills, experience and attributes the employer is looking for in the document. Some candidates even have a couple of versions of their CV depending on the field they are targeting, which they can then tailor further to match the requirements of a specific role.
Thoroughly prepare for job interviews
If you do get an interview, make sure you are fully prepared. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because you haven’t researched about the company you are interviewing at! Take some time beforehand to learn about the business, its values and vision, key members of the leadership team and any recent news, and make sure you have a full understanding of what the job entails. Go back over your experience and try to think of relevant examples that you can pull out during the interview to highlight the strengths and track record you can bring to the role if hired.
Choose the right recruitment partner
Be prepared to have numerous agencies call you about the same role. At the end of the day, it is your decision on who you want to represent you for the opportunity. Think about how that person approached you; was it a phone call stemming from a relationship you’ve built up with them over time or was it just an email out of the blue? These things count in the long run, as building relationships with recruiters is paramount – they (we) are your advocates during the job search.
While there are no shortcuts to landing a job in a competitive market, your efforts will pay off in the end by helping you rise above the crowd, demonstrate your unique value and secure the role you want.
In addition to these tips, remember that giving yourself the best chance to succeed often means having the right support. A recruiter who specialises in your industry will be able to use all their market knowledge, connections and client relationships to your advantage, not to mention finding opportunities that may not even be advertised.
If you need help finding a job in this difficult climate, feel free to reach out to me – I’d be happy to help you with everything from polishing your application to preparing for the interview and can support you in determining your next move in the Technology, Transformation & Digital sector.