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Haven't Searched for a Job in Years? Here's How the Market Has Changed

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In the current market, the number of people looking for work has increased dramatically, including many who haven’t had to job search in a long time. While people who have changed jobs frequently will be relatively familiar with today’s job market, the more senior professionals who have built a career path through several years at the same company may find themselves faced with a whole new world of work; one that is very different from that which they experienced the last time they were looking for roles.

So, what has changed over the last 10 years and how can candidates adapt their approach to succeed in the present climate?

Searching for Roles

One of the most significant changes that has shaped the market in the past decade is the acceleration of online job searching. From Seek to LinkedIn, to Indeed, there are countless websites that host job advertisements and allow you to apply for roles at the click of a button, but not all online job boards are created equal and it’s important to understand the differences between them.

Combined job sites pull ads from multiple job boards and collate them in one place, and although they can be useful tools for sourcing lots of opportunities quickly, they are not catchall solutions. These sites often don’t include roles that are being advertised directly on an employers’ websites, listings may be out-of-date, and the sheer volume of postings can be overwhelming, making it hard to narrow down the list to only the most relevant positions. Consequently, they should not be relied upon as your sole avenue for job searching.

Targeted job feeds can save you the trouble of repeatedly trawling through long lists of vacancies by automatically sending job alerts directly to your email inbox. However, the effectiveness of the feeds often depends on the specific queries/keywords you target as well as how accurately the job descriptions themselves are written.

Lastly, you can use platforms such as LinkedIn to find roles through your network. Referrals remain excellent ways to get a foot in the door to opportunities, but they do require you to maintain relationships with your contacts and cultivate your online presence to get your network working for you.

All these online job search tools can be useful if you know how to take advantage of them, but they do still require you to do the legwork to find the right roles.

Submitting Applications

While the CV remains fundamental to your job application, the conventions of the resume have evolved in recent years. If your CV has a cover page, a photo of you, your full address or a detailed education section, this can make it appeared outdated and indicate that it’s been a while since your last job search.

In the current market, hiring managers and recruiters are inundated with applications and often only have a very small amount of time to review each one. This makes it vital to ensure that the first page of your CV sells you at a glance, providing the reader with key details that encourage them to find out more. The top of page one is premium real estate, so don’t waste it by listing your interests or writing a lengthy personal summary – save it for the most pertinent information that is relevant to the specific role you’re applying for.

Here are my simple tips for writing a CV that is on-trend and impactful:

  • Keep your CV up-to-date, even when you’re not actively searching for jobs
  • Make it personalised and tailor it to the job description
  • If you invest in a professional format, make sure it’s in a file type you can edit easily (not a PDF)
  • Ensure your work history is in reverse chronological order, placing the most relevant roles first
  • Highlight achievements and look for ways to demonstrate progression, even if it’s not formal promotions
  • Aim to submit fewer, higher-quality applications for specific roles that you are a close match to, rather than sending out a generic CV to a large number of vacancies

The key is to look ways to stand out from the competition wherever you can, whether that is through your CV or by making a direct approach to the hiring manager/recruiter to ask for more information and establish rapport. Remember, there are many different ways to apply for a job, so be flexible and keep an open mind to different ways of managing the process.

Attending an Interview

As a recruiter, I regularly see candidates who are a good fit for the roles they applied for but do not progress beyond the interview stage because someone else demonstrated more enthusiasm for the position than they did. This can be a disappointing piece of feedback to get for jobseekers, largely because it is so easily avoided if you’re aware of it. So, how can you show the interviewer that you want the job when interviewing as a senior candidate?

  • Preparation: Before the interview, do your research about the company and the role, and make sure you understand the nuances of the interview format (i.e. casual meeting over coffee, panel interview, presentation, video interview, etc)
  • Alignment: Look for ways to show that you align with the job requirements, illustrating with specific examples wherever possible. Prepare relevant practice answers to a variety of question types (i.e. competency-based, behavioural, STAR format)
  • Dress to impress: It’s always better to overdress than underdress!
  • Professionalism: Show up on time, be ready to emphasise why you want that specific job (not just any job), and be patient when waiting for a final decision

Getting Help

In the current market, the competition for roles is fierce, so it’s a good idea to give yourself every possible advantage to stay a step ahead of the other candidates. A recruiter serves as an “extra pair of eyes” to help you find the right role and can provide you with invaluable support and guidance throughout the job search process, from preparing for an interview to identifying the next step in your career.

Keep in mind that it’s always best to seek out a local specialist in your industry, as they will regularly recruit for the types of roles you’re looking for and often have access to opportunities that aren’t advertised publicly. By treating your specialist recruitment consultant as a partner in your job search, you can work together to find your best fit.

While the job market may have changed, staying positive and having the right support around you will ensure you’re in the best position to succeed. If you need more job search tips or would like help with finding a new opportunity in New Zealand, feel free to get in touch with me – I’d be happy to assist you in every way I can.

Good luck!