10 Things You Can Do Right Now To Make Sure You Get The Job

Cleaning up your digital footprint and optimising your LinkedIn profile are just a few of the things you can do to amp up your job search

A new job means new beginnings!

You’ve just started your job search and are feeling crazy excited.

Well, you were feeling crazy excited until you had the crashing realisation that job hunting isn’t easy. So now you just feel crazy.

Finding a new job can feel like a job in itself! And oh man, now you’re getting cold feet, and wondering ‘What am I even doing?!’

Relax.

Take a deep breath.

You’ve got this.

Actually, you’ve got 10 of this! Here are ten things you can do right now to help you land the job. 

1. Know what you want

Do you want flexibility, new skills or a higher salary?

It might sound ludicrous, but when you’re hating work and desperate to get outta there, you can find yourself jumping head first into a job hunt without really knowing what you’re looking for. It’s easy to let the novelty and shininess of a new job distract you from what’s really important – and whether it is the right role for you.

Make sure you put together a ‘must-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ list, and ask yourself questions like:

  • Will the job help me meet my career goals?
  • Is it challenging enough and does it give me room to grow?
  • Will I fit in with the company culture?
  • Does the salary reflect my qualifications and level of experience? ?
  • Does it offer a good work/life balance?

Unless you’re in a situation where you need a job, any job ASAP, you should be absolutely sure that this job is worth applying for. Even if it’s not your ‘dream job’, it should tick most of your ‘must-have’ boxes and at least some of your ‘nice-to-haves’. 

2. Polish (or create) your LinkedIn profile 

Be sure to add a professional and current profile pic to increase the number of views your profile gets

As a jobseeker, you can’t afford to ignore the digital extension of your professional self. Prospective employers, recruiters and companies will search for you online. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it’s very likely to be the first result they find, so make sure that you give it as much love as your other social media accounts. And if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile at all, you risk seeming like a Luddite…seriously, get one!

To make a killer first impression, you need to optimise your profile. This is how to really stand out:

  • Add a current profile pic: Research shows that there is such a thing as a perfect LinkedIn photo, and by making a few simple changes, you can appear to be more trustworthy, competent and likeable. Plus according to LinkedIn, by adding a picture, your profile is 14 times more likely to be viewed!
     
  • Write a punchy headline that sums up what you do: Second only to your profile pic, your LinkedIn headline is one of the first things recruiters and prospective employers will look at. So don’t just let it just default to your current role! Use it as an opportunity to highlight your specialisations. For instance, if you’re a designer, don’t just write that; add in your niche and specialisations e.g. UX designer who specialises in cross-platform devices.
     
  • Add a profile summary: Write about your professional work history, your career goals and what you’re passionate about. Remember who you’re targeting and use keywords to address skills and industry specialisations, but also inject a bit of personality into your summary. LinkedIn offers some great tips on how to write a knockout summary and provides some stellar examples to use as inspiration.
     
  • Update your employment history: Focus on your achievements and any projects you’re proud of rather than a list of your responsibilities. Add hyperlinks to any work you’ve done to grow your portfolio. If you have your own website, blog, or YouTube channel, this is the perfect opportunity to mention it.
     
  • Add your professional skills (and get them endorsed): According to LinkedIn, profiles that have skills listed are 13 times more likely to get viewed than those without skills. Focus on skills that are in demand in your industry, and ask colleagues to endorse these skills.
     
  • Ask for recommendations: Recommendations are worth their weight in gold. To have a colleague, or better yet a manager, publicly praise your work ethic, skills and dedication adds a lot of credibility to your profile. 

Ideally, you want to do everything in your power to impress recruiters and employers before they even meet you – and your LinkedIn profile is a great way to do just that! 

3. Spring clean your digital footprint 

Delete posts you're not proud of, or tighten your privacy settings across all social accounts

Speaking of a great first impression – get your digital presence in order!

It’s important to clean up your digital persona and make sure that you’re putting your best (and most professional) face forward. Here’s a spring clean checklist to get you started: 

  • Ditch any email address that’s not your name: Anything that’s even remotely unprofessional has got to go (not to mention something that’s lewd, weird or inappropriate). Email addresses that your 14-year-old self thought were hilarious will definitely be noticed – and promptly get your job application trashed. While you’re at it, ditch any old-school email providers – aol, hotmail or rocketmail email addresses make you seem like a dinosaur who surfs the web on Netscape Navigator. Goodbye fanboy69@hotmail.com, hello matthew.hunt@gmail.com.
     
  • Give your social media presence a thorough scrubdown: A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t want your grandma seeing it, you don’t want your future boss seeing it either. Recruiters and companies are very likely to Google you if you’re a candidate they’re interested in. So, in the same way that’d you make a mad dash around your house before having your mum over, get your (digital) house in order too.

    Google yourself, see what comes up and remove anything unprofessional. Take the time to check every single social account you own, and delete posts that you’re not proud of, or tighten the privacy settings. 
     
  • Update your voicemail: I know, I know. Who even uses voicemail these days?! But, if you do happen to get a callback and you miss the call, you want to make sure the voicemail message that a prospective employer hears is 100 per cent professional.  

4. Know your audience (by doing research!)

Set up Google Alerts and find out everything you can about the company

Before you even think about tidying up your resume or writing a kickass cover letter, research the hell out of the company you want to work for, the department you’ll be working in, and if possible, the team you’ll be joining. Get an understanding of the company’s latest projects, and gauge where they’re at in their growth cycle. You can do this by setting up Google Alerts for the company’s name, competitors’ names, and any relevant industry keywords. ?

These insights should help you put together a more tailored job application that will resonate with whoever’s reading it, and also come in handy when (not if) you get called for an interview. 

6. Write a knock-out resume 

An awesome resume should be short, punchy and highlight your strengths

A standout resume should complement your cover letter, and needs to be tailored specifically to the job ad.

To write a great resume, you need to:

7. Pick referees who will back you 

Pick a referee who has worked with you, is your senior and comes across well

Once you get a callback for the interview, your first instinct will be to prep like crazy.
And yes, you should do this, but only after you’ve locked down at least two referees who will sing your praises and stand behind your work.

Why?

Because, when an interview goes well, one of the first things the interviewer will do is call your references and ask them a few questions about you.

When this happens, you don’t want to slow down the momentum by having to wait for your referees to confirm that they’re happy to be contacted etc. This will come off as unprepared at best and slightly dodgy at worst.

So pick your referees now, and be sure to brief them on the sorts of job you’re applying for. Choosing the right referees is extremely important, so be sure to follow our pro tips for picking the right referees

8. Prep for your interview 

Get together with a friend and get them to prep you

Interviews suck. Full stop.

They’re marked by awkward small talk, clammy hands, and pit-stain inducing waits outside the interview room. The good news is, the more you prepare, the less jangled your nerves will be on the day.

It can feel pretty overwhelming, but if you focus on these five main areas you should be covered:

  • Be prepared for any questions they’ll throw at you: Interview questions can be tricky. From straightforward ones such as ‘What are your strengths?’ to obscure ones such as ‘How many people are flying in airplanes over Australia right now?’ – it’s important to prep for any questions that might be thrown your way. Make sure that you also think of examples and real-life scenarios, and make them your go-to stories if questions like ‘Tell me about a time when you demonstrated leadership’ are asked. 
     
  • Have your questions on hand: Recruiters and employers will usually wrap up an interview by asking if you’ve got any questions for them. It pays to think of this ahead of time to show them that you’ve thought about the role and where it fits into your career aspirations. Just make sure that you don’t ask questions for the sake of it (they’ll see right through this, and it’s a waste of everyone’s time). Ask questions that you genuinely want to know the answer to.
     
  • Practice open body language: It’s commonly cited that 93 per cent of what we communicate is through body language and how we say something, not what we say. Our body language and tone of voice reveal a lot about our attitudes and personality, so be mindful of what you’re communicating, even when you’re not speaking. It can make a huge difference, and help you better connect with your interviewer.
     
  • Get your elevator pitch down pat: For those of you who don’t know what an elevator pitch is, it’s the 1-minute highlights reel of your career and what you tell people when you’re inevitably asked, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ It’s a great opportunity to show how passionate you are about your work, and neatly showcase the achievements you’re proudest of. Your interviewer might not be the only one you speak to on the day, so have this ready in case you bump into other managers or prospective colleagues too.
     
  • Keep on top of industry news: Whatever industry or field you work in, it’s imperative to keep abreast of emerging patterns, trends or the latest research and findings. It’s even more important to stay on the pulse when you head into an interview. Make it a habit to read industry blogs and trade magazines, so you’re not caught off-guard if you’re asked a question about recent events. 

9. Be smart about what you wear 

Go for a dressier version of what other people in the office wear

What you wear matters.

According to Princeton University researchers, it only takes a tenth of a second for someone to form a first impression of you.

That’s right. A tenth of a second. That’s barely enough time for a smile – much less a ‘You had me at hello’. 

These snap judgements aren’t always right, but they inform the entire interview process because it takes a lot to change people’s initial perceptions. So think hard about what you’re going to wear and what your clothes will say about you.

You need to:

  • Look the part: Use the company’s culture and philosophy as a benchmark for what to wear. If you’re applying to work at a bank, corporation or law firm, you’ll want to dress ‘corporate conservative’. If you’re applying for a tech job at a start-up, aim for a dressier take on the tech casual look. If you’re a creative professional, aim for a business casual outfit that hints at your creative style. Basically, go for a ‘dressier’ version of what other employees are wearing.
     
  • Wear something that’s ‘on-brand’: Your personal brand matters. It speaks volumes about who you are, what you value and where you’re headed, so make sure your outfit is ‘on-brand’ for you. Don’t have a personal brand? Here’s how to establish one.

10. Stay organised

Make sure you know who is calling from where

The reality is that you’ll probably be applying for a few different roles at a few different companies. Over time, it can be difficult to keep track of where you applied, and which job is which.

So it’s really important to stay on top of everything, because not knowing who’s calling you, or which job they’re referring to, will make you seem disorganised and unprofessional.

And nothing kills a potential job offer faster than seeming – guess what? – disorganised and unprofessional.

So, stay on top of your job search by doing the following:

  • Keep a digital record of each job application: Include your cover letter if possible, since you will have tailored it to the particular job. Add tags or colour code each folder to indicate whether you’re still in the running for the job (e.g. you’re waiting for a callback, and/or you got an interview), or whether your application has been declined (in which case you can archive the folder).
     
  • Keep a list handy: This list should include the name of the company you’ve applied with, the role you’re going for, and the names of any relevant contact people such as the person who listed the job or interviewed you. Keep this list in your wallet so that if you get a call and you’re drawing a blank, you can refer to it.

Finding a new job can be stressful, nail-biting stuff. But don’t let that make you throw it into the ‘too hard basket’ and keep you trapped in a job you hate. Use these 10 steps as a guide to push through the pain, and your career will thank you for it! 




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