With around 55% of Aussie employers currently recruiting, the job market is buoyant and, in your favour, however for those in the job search process, it can be a time of uncertainty where you are required to put yourself out there to be potentially exposed to rejection. After a few knocks, it is natural to start questioning your value and even start to lose confidence.
On the flip side, job hunting is also a very exciting time that can lead you to incredible new opportunities and increased job satisfaction – staying positive, motivated and confident in your search is key to landing that dream role.
To become an optimistic job seeker armed with self-belief, our tips on staying confident will help you navigate the market when you’re on the hunt for a new role.
1 Your strengths are your superpower
As you begin your job search, instead of dwelling on your weaknesses or past failures, focus on your strengths and the unique value that you can bring to a job. Make a list of your skills, achievements and experiences that make you a valuable candidate.
Stick them on your resume, and don’t be shy in highlighting them to recruiters you speak to in the job application process. The secret to a killer resume is to focus on your achievements, rather than solely listing tasks or responsibilities that you carried out. For instance, rather than saying, “completed surface paving and painting on a building project” say, “facilitated the completion of a building project 2 weeks ahead of schedule with surface paving and painting work”.
2 Know what you want…and be strategic about getting it
Once you have a clear picture of your strengths, this can help narrow down job opportunities that are a good fit for you. Firing out your resume left, right, and centre is a waste of time. Instead, research companies you’d like to work for or the roles you're interested in. Remember interviewing goes both ways. You want to check out their website and social media to see if their working culture and values align with where you want to be.
Then, when you’re ready to apply, tweak your application so that it is specifically targeted to that role, and pay special attention to your cover letter. Your cover letter needs to do two things: position yourself as the perfect candidate by having the desired qualities and show your passion by sharing what you love about the company and its culture.
Begin your cover letter with a strong and engaging opening sentence that grabs your potential employer’s attention. Be concise and avoid generic sentences. Close your cover letter with a strong and confident call to action, such as a request for an interview or a statement expressing your willingness to discuss the opportunity further.
Also consider the company you’re applying to and the tone they use throughout their job ads and LinkedIn profiles. If they seem more casual, you can casualise your cover letter to match. If they’re more traditional, adjust your tone to impress.
3 Skill-up and indulge in a passion project
Unsure if you’ve got what it takes to land a gig? Upskilling is essential in today's rapidly changing job market, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Take any opportunities for training in your current role or look for online courses that can help you develop new skills or improve existing ones. Check out what workshops, courses or conferences are happening locally and relevant to your field.
Recruiters love proactive self-growth. To polish your expertise for free, you could always consider volunteering on an initiative, pursuing your own personal passion project or starting a side gig. If this hones skills that are relevant in your field, you can leverage these to potential employers. For example, if you’re a carpenter, maybe you could restore and sell vintage furniture? Teach classes at a local school? Or create useful community items?
4 Networking (and staying authentic in the process)
Being active in your community is the key to connecting with people in your field. It’s a great way to gain insight and stay in the loop about job openings. To build your network, start by reaching out to your existing contacts – including friends, family, former colleagues, and acquaintances. Ask for advice, referrals, or introductions to other professionals in your desired field.
Attend networking events in person and join industry groups to expand your network and gain confidence. Practise and be ready to talk to others at the event about your skills, experience and career goals in a clear, confident and concise manner. After the event, send people you connected with a thank you email or message to further build the relationship.
Don’t forget about the power of online networking. LinkedIn is a valuable platform for connecting with professionals and recruiters. Complete your profile fully, get endorsements from past managers or colleagues and gather connections from people you know, like posts from people in the field who will get to know you online.
Remember to stay authentic. When reaching out to others, sharing your goal, speaking openly and honestly, and staying clear of overused corporate jargon and overly complicated vocabulary can help reduce any icky feelings of messaging connections online. Not to mention, it’ll help reduce your chances of being professionally ghosted.
5 Don’t give up
When success doesn’t come knocking immediately, stay committed to the process rather than immediate outcomes. Be realistic. Be flexible. Be focused. If it helps, set yourself weekly or monthly goals, so even if you still haven’t landed that dream job, you’ll have a sense of achievement. Remember, employers want confident, resilient employees, and if you score an interview, any frustration or desperation you have may come across.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue your search with as much enthusiasm as you started with, or perhaps by chartering a new course. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. They can be your cheerleaders even for the smallest of job search victories.
If you are open to new opportunities, contact a recruitment agency like Trojan Recruitment Group and receive advice from the experts in labour-hire, permanent and contract staff.