Combat The Most Common Job Search Problems

Australia has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Western world, but that's cold comfort if you're one of the people who can't find a job. Maximise your chances by overcoming these common obstacles.

Photos by the Everett Collection (Shutterstock) and Leremy (Shutterstock).

Recruiters Only Check Your Resume For Six Seconds

According to an eye-tracking study, recruiters only look at resumes for around six seconds. That's not a lot of time to make an impression, and it's depressing to hear when you know you've spent hours making your resume look great. Nonetheless, welcome to reality. You need to make those six seconds count.

To start, let's discuss what recruiters see in those six seconds. The information gleaned from that quick skim includes your name, a little information about your current and most recent past positions, and your education. This is the information you want to make the easiest to find and the clearest.

Just because recruiters only scan your resume for a small fraction of a minute doesn't mean nobody reads it. If you've got an upcoming interview, it's likely that somebody is going to examine it a little more closely — and that somebody has sway in whether or not you get hired. So don't slack off on your resume because you think nobody's going to read it. If it doesn't end up in the recycling bin, it will fall under more eyes in the long run, and those eyes are going to want something simple and easily digestible.

Resume-grading web app RezScore suggests that 700 words is the ideal resume length. They asked hiring experts to grade a series of resumes on their appropriate length and 700 words was the most effective size. The results showed that longer is worse. It's better to have a resume that's too short than too long.

You'll also want to be aware of what content to avoid and include. There are six typically bad words to put on your resume — awesome, salary, nursery, makeup, burger and drug — as well as five great terms for entry-level candidates — dean's list, achievement, led, honours and fluent. Dean's list and honours won't have so much impact in Australia, but the others are worth noting.

Finally, be sure to proofread thoroughly. Although everyone makes typos, you'll be judged for them on a resume. Read yours from bottom to top so you're more likely to catch them all, and consider changing the font to spot mistakes. Source: TheLadders.

33% Of Bosses Choose Within 90 Seconds

First impressions count more than you might like. These initial moments essentially prime the brains of those who meet us, giving them a biased lens through which we're viewed during an interview. These moments generally have little to do with what you say and more to do with physical and visual stimuli. Carlin Flora, writing for Psychology Today, explains:

The answer lies in part in how the brain takes first-impression Polaroids — creating a composite of all the signals given off by a new experience. Psychologists agree that snap judgments are a holistic phenomenon in which clues (mellifluous voice, Rolex watch, soggy handshake, hunched shoulders) hit us all at once and form an impression larger than their sum.

If you make a good first impression you're likelier to have a good interview, even if you make mistakes later. Once someone has somewhat subconsciously decided how they feel about you, that will play into the remainder. Confidence and charm do make a difference, even if you're not overflowing with either one. The best way to get confidence before in interview is to feel prepared, and charm is often a combination of that confidence, kindness and a genuine smile. That's usually enough to start you off on the right foot, but you don't have to stop there.

But first impressions aren't everything. You can absolutely recover from a false start or crash and burn after a good one. Assuming you've prepared, one of the easiest ways to ensure a better interview is natural body language. This is simple because you don't really have to do much.

Personal finance blog Wise Bread points to several negative body language cues such as touching your face, rapidly moving your leg, sitting rigid, slouching, an inappropriate level of eye contact, and avoiding closeness or distance.

If you feel like some of these suggestions contradict each other, you're reading them correctly. The goal is to be natural — not too much of anything. You want to speak positively for yourself rather than have your body speak negatively for you. Source: Visual.ly.

Where You Live Matters

We make this point constantly when it comes to IT jobs, but the principle is even broader: your odds of getting employed can vary massively depending on where you live. That's not to say you should move simply because you can't find a job. Living expenses are important: Sydney and Perth might have more jobs and higher salaries, but rent is also higher. However, if you're qualified and hitting a brick wall, taking your skills where they will be rewarded is worth considering.


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