Becoming Job Ready During Lockdown Part 1 – Applying for Jobs

Lockdown 2.0 – Preparing for Release from House Arrest

My fellow Victorians, there was light at the end of the lockdown tunnel! We could visit our loved ones, gyms re-opened, baking tins were being packed away (no more banana bread please!), we weren’t subjected to walking only in Brighton (sorry Karen), we could dine-in to eat $30 smashed avo on toast, but most importantly – people were returning to work.

Unfortunately, with the Stage 3 and 4 restrictions placed on Regional Victoria and Melbourne respectively, we have again found ourselves stuck at home or even worse, temporarily out of work. It is fair to say many of us are feeling like we’ve been screwed over harder than a COVID-19 infected traveller in a hotel quarantine full of “trained security guards” (did someone say KFC?).  

While things seem tough right now, we have to remember that it won’t be like this forever and some form of normality will return once again. When that time comes, it’s important that you use this time wisely to prepare and become job ready once markets re-open.

Competition is high

During the COVID-19 pandemic, recruiters and hiring managers alike are seeing a massive swing to a candidate-heavy market. This in turn means we are receiving larger volumes of job applications than usual, as so many people are once again looking for work. Sadly some candidates are even applying for jobs they usually wouldn’t, out of sheer desperation.

When competition for work is so high (on top of the old “people spend 6 seconds reading a resume” stat), you need a Cover Letter and Resume that stands out from the crowd.

Your cover letter

Try capping your cover letter at around 1-page in length. You should clearly state the job you are applying for, and address the hiring manager personally if their details are listed on the job advertisement. The Cover Letter is a chance for you to present yourself in a personal and unique way, so don’t just repeat information that’s already on your resume.

Your resume

Make sure all of your current contact details are on your Resume so you are easy to contact. This sounds quite simple, yet minor details that are missed by so many candidates. I also strongly recommend including the URL to your LinkedIn profile (I’ll touch on LinkedIn again in my next blog).

It is common practice to include a full referee list on your resume; but in times where privacy is so important, I recommend stating “references available upon request” on your resume. This way, the contact details of your referees are kept confidential until you move into the later stages of a recruitment process.

If there is one thing I see time and time again, it’s resumes that simply list a job title and nothing further. This is a huge mistake; your resume should state your previous or current title, the company name and dates of employment. From there, you should make a brief list of your main duties. Particularly if you are applying for a job asking for specific experience, you need to prove you have performed these duties in the past.

Hey Picasso, save the artwork for the gallery – try to avoid bold colours, graphs, charts, excessive print. Keep you resume neat, in-line and in a credible format. Less is more!

After you apply

Finally, don’t get lost in the crowd and follow up with a call. Its shows your dedication and true interest in a position. Countless times I’ve been impressed with someone taking the time to call me, that I will often look at their resume straight away while I’m speaking with them. It could put you at the top of the pile!

Although most sectors have slowed during the pandemic, there are some industries which have continued to thrive and in turn, are still recruiting staff. If you see a job advertised that you wish to apply for, don’t let the current climate dishearten you from doing so. Just remember, if there are positions advertised, then the business obviously requires the staff! 

Nailing the application process will give you the best possible chance at being successful for any position, so if you need any further advice on this content, please feel free to reach out.

In part 2 of this series, I touch on interview tips.

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