The Job Winners ten top tips for job search success
- Don't allow yourself to become a victim. Don't say "There aren't any jobs" or "No one wants me; I'm too old". Don't even think that way. When you do, you are admitting that you are a victim of the situation. Instead say "I haven't managed to crack a good job yet - but I will!" Then you are telling the world that you see yourself as fully in control of your life and career and on top of the situation.
- Don't consider yourself to be unemployed. Instead think of yourself as self-employed, the CEO of Yourself Pty Ltd, a micro-business currently without 'clients'. Your prospective clients are, of course, your prospective employers.
- Job search is a full-time job - or as full-time as you can make it. As CEO of Yourself Pty Ltd, what do you want your Chief Sales Rep to be doing, 9-5, Monday to Friday? Exactly. Looking for clients. And guess who is the Chief Sales Rep. That's right; it's you!
- Successful businesses identify a niche market and work to satisfy its needs rather than trying to appeal to everyone. In the same way, if you try to apply for every possible job that you come across, the chances of your getting any of them are small. On the other hand, if you restrict your job search to just two or possibly three job leads at any one time, if you put all your energies into making your applications totally relevant to each of those positions, the likelihood of winning one of those jobs is high. It is the person who puts in the best overall application performance - and by that I mean rsum, interview, research and networking - who is the most likely to win that job. You can't do that if you are spreading your efforts across too many positions, or sending off too many applications.
- Successful businesses invest a lot of time in research. Your micro-business needs to do the same. Ideally you need to research each job lead sufficiently to be able to plan your first few weeks in the job. It's a big ask but it gets results. If you can plan your first few weeks in the job, you will be able to answer interview questions as if you were already in the position. This really tells the interviewers that you will 'hit the ground running'.
- There are just three things that every employer is looking for in every applicant for every job. They are: the Skills to do the job, the Motivation to do it well and the ability to fit well into their Team. And Motivation and Team are each far more important than Skills. As Sir Richard Branson has been quoted as saying: "At Virgin, we look for attitude. If they've got the right attitude, we can give them the skills. If they've got the wrong attitude, it doesn't matter how skilful they are, they will be a liability". Motivation and Team constitute Attitude. Therefore demonstrate your Motivation for each position and your keenness to be part of their Team in all your dealings with employer organisations.
- Your resume or CV, your cover letter and any other application documents must all grab the employer's interest within the first few lines. A number of surveys in different parts of the world have shown that employers spend on average about 8 seconds to decide whether an application is worth further consideration or goes in the reject pile. In 8 seconds, a person can read about half-way down the first page. If you are not talking about your motivation for the job in the top half of page 1 of each document (because you don't know which document will be read first) your application may not be read through to the end.
- Use achievement statements to demonstrate in a convincing and interesting way your skills and your motivation. Tell the story of specific incidents, the more specific the better. If I were applying to you for a position that required somebody physically fit and I said "I am a very fast runner", you wouldn't necessarily believe me and you would also think that I'm boastful and you therefore wouldn't be inclined to like me. If, on the other hand, I said simply "Ran the mile in 4 min 16, Caribbean Games, Barbados, 2012", you would be impressed by my achievement and the long-term motivation it implies, and convinced that I know what physical fitness would be required. Also you would not think me boastful because I would just be relating a fact.
- Get them to like you; try to make everyone you meet during the job search like you. If they like you, they may employ you. If they don't, they won't. Be aware of their needs. Don't waste their time. Make them feel that any time spent with you is time well spent.
- Job search can be a lonely and dispiriting occupation. Employ strategies to build and maintain your self-confidence and self-esteem. One of these is to enlist some close friends and relatives to create a support network, perhaps a 'Board of Directors' for your micro-enterprise. Discuss progress and plans with them and take on board their ideas as well as welcoming their encouragement.
You can find out more about this approach to successful job search in the book. How to Get a Good Job After 50: a step-by-step guide to job search success. Click here for more information.