Job hunting during Covid 19

Last month I had a great time chatting to Military Wife Life about career development during Covid 19. We discussed a lot in our hour long live chat on Facebook, including looking for work in the current job market. Here’s a run down of what we discussed about job searching.

It’s time to think less about job titles and more about skillsets. Don’t just think about occupation-specific skills – employability skills are just as important. These are things like problem solving, communication, organisation and time management, adaptability etc. Think about what you can offer a potential employer and market these skills in your resume and cover letter. Try the Job Outlook Skills Match tool to get an idea of what skills you’ve developed in previous roles, and how these might apply to other jobs. The government’s Labour Market Information portal surveys employers to find out what they are looking for in employees. You’ll find information about this in the Employer’s Recruiter Insights section

Who is hiring in this current job market? Whilst many businesses have reduced their workforce some sectors are still hiring. The sectors that are hiring include healthcare, retail, manufacturing, IT, customer/call centre support, community/family services and support, transport/logistics etc. If you don’t have experience in the sectors that are still hiring think about how your skills translate. The government has started up a new jobs website to source job ads called The Jobs Hub and you’ll find it on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website. Some state governments have their own platforms as well (like the ACT and QLD). Jobs are still being advertised on big job boards like Seek (although numbers are down). And don’t forget LinkedIn as a jobs board. Diversify your job search. Networking is a great way to get insights into different industries, and to find out about job opportunities. Do your research on companies you think may still be hiring and could benefit from your skillset and cold call them. The government’s Labour Market Information Portal is constantly updating jinformation throughout the pandemic

Pay careful attention to your job application. Make sure your resume is highlighting the skills and attributes that you have that relate to the role you are applying for. Use the same language/keywords as in the position description and focus on accomplishments and contributions in your previous roles (you don’t want your resume to simply be a copy of previous job descriptions). Ensure the formatting of your resume is applicant tracking system (ATS) friendly. Applicant tracking systems are often used by employers expecting a high volume of applications. These systems scan applications for keywords, qualifications and other parameters set by the employer and score applicants. It’s an easy way for them to quickly eliminate unsuitable applicants. The problem is that even if you’re a suitable applicant you may be eliminated if the system can’t read your resume. Keep the formatting simple, don’t put key information in headers or footers, avoid text boxes, graphs, symbols and graphics, use standard headings, and make sure you are using the same keywords as the position description when describing your skills and experience. If there’s a point of contact for the role in the job and give the person a call and find out as much as you can about the role before you apply. Follow the application instructions to the letter. Use your network to see if there is anyone who can give you a referral or provide an introduction for you. Write a personalised, compelling cover letter that outlines your suitability and value.

National Careers Week is happening 18-24 May. You’ll find free resources on the website including information about applicant tracking systems, networking your way to a new job, resume guid for 50+, and 6 steps to take before applying for a job.

Did you know that job seekers who receive professional support are more likely to find a job? You can find a qualified, professional career practitioner on the Career Development Association of Australia website

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