You don't need to read every marketed advert or email nowadays to know that we're living in what we're calling 'unprecedented times' - we're all living in it. While we don't know much of what lies ahead of us, here is what is clear:
Australia is officially in a recession.
The unemployment rate, as at July 2020, was 7.5% of the population.
Women are taking the hit far harder than male counterparts.
With all that being said, it is now more important than ever that women enter and thrive in the workforce, for fear that if they don't, many women will be left behind as the world changes.
The most important thing in a recession is to have secure and stable income, which comes from secure and stable employment. If you don't have that right now, you're not alone and whilst it's scary, there are steps you can take.
Whether you're trying to re-enter the workforce after losing your job in the Event industry, or if you're looking for something more permanent than your gig economy work, below are the five things you need to work with and towards to reach your goal.
Know your why.
Knowing what you're looking for is just half the battle - you need to know why you're actually looking. And while that may seem to have a simple answer - we all need employment to make money to live - this is also an answer that won't fly in an interview when a recruiter or HR professional asks you what you're interested in. Take some time to reflect - sit down with some paper and pens, and work out what its you actually want out of your job.
Evaluating your past experiences is so important in know what you do and don’t want. If you want to work in a big, expanding company, that’s a great start. If you don’t want to work nights, that’s something to keep in mind. You may also find that talking to other people is the best way to work through some thoughts about career paths. And focusing on your strengths and what you lead ahead of the rest with will boost your confidence and enable you to think creatively about the work you could be doing.
Learning from other people and following industry updates are a really good start in knowing what you can get out of different jobs. Spruce your LinkedIn Profile and start connecting with people from different roles and experiences, and start noting the things you like and don't like.
Make time for what you need to do in order to get things going. Doing this shows commitment to not only what you’re working towards, but also, commitment to yourself. If you really need something - like a job in the middle of a pandemic to help put food on the table - then yesterday is the best time to start, with the next best time being today.
Spend time researching the roles and organisations you’re interested in and write down the skills and experience needed. Look at LinkedIn profiles of professionals who work in those companies or roles. Then reflect on your current CV and spent time reading over your own skills and experience. How can they relate, and how can your skills be transferable?
You’ll be surprised at what day to day tasks transfer into employable qualities. Like running a household with a new born can show time management, juggling priorities and working under pressure. Start by writing a resume and then write another to get you in the habit of constantly writing, as every job requires an adjusted resume, which can be frustrating, but ultimately worth every minute.
Search and Search
The average number of job applicants per job is 118 - a statistic that was correct before the pandemic. Now? Let's just say that a standard casual role at a juice shop had over on 1000 applicants. This sounds scary because it is, but it doesn't mean the end.
If you’re looking for a job, you’ve got to expand your search criteria and be broad. Recruitment agencies, job search engines, and surprising to some, social media - all of these have job adverts updated daily. In fact, 84% of Australian employers use social media for recruitment - a mix of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Now is the time to use these to your advantage (as well as the perfect time to ensure that those college photos on social media of you having a little too much to drink can probably be deleted)
Did you know that Tuesday is the most common day of the week for job applications? Applying for jobs on a Sunday to Tuesday midday would then put you into the application process first, ahead of others coming through. It might not be the most exciting thing to do on a sunny Sunday, but it'll set the tone of your week and be a fresh application in a recruitment officers inbox on Monday morning.
Apply and contact
A job application isn't finished if you've just submitted an application. You need to stand out from the rest. Generally, job adverts will have details listed for a contact should you wish to discuss the job more. Most will have emails, some with just phone numbers. You should note down these details and get in contact with them in appropriate business hours. This means, calling or emailing to make yourself known.
A simple email to state your name and interest in the role is handy, but you can go above and beyond. Mention your interest in the organisation after you've done some research and bring up something that made you interested to apply for the role in the first place. For example, if you're applying for a retail role in a clothing store, mention that you've been interested in the clothing line for quite some time and particularly appreciated the work that the company is doing for charity in a campaign they run.
Doing this puts your name in their mind and also shows your interest in the organisation and the role, above a general job application. It can put you ahead of many other applicants that are applying for multiple roles and it shows you're willing to go the extra mile - a very desirable trait for the workforce.
Some view this as too much and going overboard, but we disagree. There's no such thing as looking too keen for a role that you're interested in and if you're worried you're going to look strange, don't let your insecurities get in the way.
Don't be deterred
It needs to be acknowledged again that this is a tough time to be in the job marketing, and things won't always go your way, and that's okay, because each challenging knock back is a chance to review and improve how you do things.
Asking for feedback from HR professionals about your application if you don't get to the next round is a really good way to keep the conversation going. Responding with kindness and appreciation also puts you outside the box. You can ask questions about what you'd need to do to get into this role in the future and what the successful applicant had that you can look into also doing. Don't be disheartened if they don't respond - a lot of the time they won't. But they will see your name and it will prompt them to keep you in mind. You've got nothing to lose.
It's also okay to take a couple of days off the searching if things get too much. In most cases, you will be much better for the break than if you don't had it and you get mentally burnt out. Take a step back, reflect, persevere and get back to it.