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Ask Lawrence: Tips to applying for jobs in this current job market

10 Jul 12:00 By Lawrence Akers

Ask Lawrence Job Tips

Have you ever seen what happens to a chip when it is thrown into a field of hungry seagulls?

You wouldn't want to be that chip.

This is what a lot of businesses who are in a fortunate position to hire someone at the moment must feel their job is like.

In the past, a job that may have attracted 100 applications will be more likely to see 400-500 applications hitting their inbox. Understandably, people right now are nervous, anxious, and in some cases perhaps even verging on desperate. This means not only do they want a job, but they want that job NOW. This potentially means that whoever is filling that job for that company not only has to try to do whatever their normal day to day job is but also work through hundreds of applications and the inevitable follow up calls that goes with it.

It's hard work - almost as hard as the work it takes for someone to find a new position right now.

So what can you do right now to help to improve your chances?

Quality over Quantity

The reality is that there is no magic answer to this question although there are certainly strategies that you can take that will improve your chances.

The first thing to consider is that you want to offer a quality application over sending out countless average applications.

The hiring manager already has to work through too many average applications so if you really want to stop them in their tracks and take notice, put some time, energy and effort into your application so that you are the absolute perfect match for what they're looking for.

The easiest way is to look at the job description and really ensure that you're addressing each requirement with either something from your own experience and achievements, or taking the elephant in the room if it isn't a perfect match and looking at your transferable skills.

Of course, as hard as this might be to accept, if you're not a match, then perhaps consider NOT applying for that role. If you're with a recruitment agency and you keep applying for jobs that are just not 'you', it will water down your brand and work against you.

The search for the unicorn

The other thing to consider is that companies will only be able to afford one position when they would ideally like to have four new people. They'll often take those four people's job descriptions and mash them together into one and search for that unicorn.

How many unicorns do you actually think are out there? You would be right in suspecting not many.

What does this mean for you? It means that you may not be an expert in everything (no one is) however if you can identify those gaps in your skill set and start to close them down, you're going to be far more employable as these opportunities come up.

Use this time wisely

If you're sitting at home and you don't have work, then use this time wisely so that you're investing in your future opportunities.

Do a course that can improve your technical or creative skills. Do some personal projects. Engage with content online so that people can see you're passionate about what you do and begin to notice you. If you have a skill that you can teach others, consider mentoring people and helping to share that knowledge. There are lots of things that you can be doing right now to either build your skill set or to potentially earn passive revenue if you care to pivot your skills.

Creative Recruiters Virtual Meet Up

This week's Creative Recruiters Virtual Meet Up was all about this topic. It was a far more conversational and casual presentation this week but hopefully there are some moments of insight there that can help to develop a more productive strategy to applying for jobs in this current market than relying upon out of date strategies where you flick and hope something sticks. You can view the most recent meet up here.