If I was a Job Seeker in 2017 – 4 non negotiables I’d be doing



Looking for and applying for work is a tough gig in Ballarat and regional Victoria. The positions you are looking for don’t come up every day and when they do there seems to be plenty of competition. Not to mention how frustrating it is when a job of interest does come up and then it’s filled by an internal applicant.

JobGetter reported that “the longest length of time Australian job seekers typically search for jobs is six months, submitting approximately 100 job applications in that time period.”

That requires quite a lot of time and effort and can be exceptionally frustrating when so many employers don’t even take the time to acknowledge your application, let alone advise you when you the position has been filled and you are unsuccessful.

These stats are consistent with the word on the street in Ballarat and the surrounds. People who are registering with us and who I’m interviewing are telling me the same thing. They are submitting lots of applications and it’s taking a long time to land the job they want. From a recruiter perspective, positions we are recruiting for, are generating a lot of applications however depending on the skills and experience required and the industry there can be a wide gap between what the employer wants the skills the job applicants have to offer.

Either way it’s a competitive market and getting noticed – standing out from the crowd is crucial to help you land the job you want. Which got me thinking about if I was a job seeker in today’s market what would I be doing to win the job I wanted?

Here’s the four non-negotiables that I’d be doing if I was a job seeker in 2017:

  • Working out my WHY 

Before I applied for any job, I’d spend some time getting clarity on what it is exactly that I have to offer an employer. Why me? What makes me different and unique to anyone else that might just happen to be applying for the job I want. Once I had this clear in my head I’d be weaving my story through my application letter and resume to tell my story. No one else has the exact same story – we are all unique – so I’d be using that experience and expertise to differentiate myself.


  • Having a conversation 

It shocks me how few people call to enquire about a job these days. This is the single greatest thing you can do to get noticed. I wouldn’t call and simply request the PD, or ask how to apply (given the instructions were on the advert anyway). The point of asking you call to request the PD is not about getting your email address to send the PD, I could do that by having you download it from a website. I want to talk to you, engage with you, hear your why. If I was a job seeker I’d be picking the phone up, having a conversation, asking intelligent questions and my aim would be to leave the recruiter/hiring manager wanting to know more about me. I want them to be looking out for my application to come through as opposed to it being one resume in a pile of hundreds of applications.


  • Being Proactive 

If my job search activity consisted of searching Seek (or any other online job board) and scanning the jobs section of the Courier on a Saturday it could take me a long long time to find my next career move. These are the old ways to find a job, there are now so many more avenues that employers are using to find great people. And if I was looking for work I’d make sure I was across every channel possible. If the jobs I want don’t come up every day in my market then I want to be sure that if and when they do, I’m going to know about it. Yes it takes more time and effort but it’s time and effort that I think is worth it. After all, my future career is depending on it.


  • Practicing for the Interview

Before I even started applying for jobs I’d be practicing for the interview. Seem a bit strange when getting an interview could be months away? Most people start their job search by dipping their toe in the water with an application here and there. They get the knock backs but then that call comes through that they want to interview you. The interview is in a few days, maybe a week or two. However long before the interview, that’s not much time to prepare. Think of the interview as game day – the grand final. Would you only train for a few days or a week before such a big event? If I’m going to an interview I want to be playing my best game ever, you don’t get a second chance at an interview. You can’t afford to use it as a practice run, the types of jobs you want don’t come up every day so you can’t afford to miss this opportunity because you hadn’t trained or weren’t prepared. Don’t practice the questions you’ll be asked. Focus on the demonstration of your skills and expertise.


If I was a job seeker I wouldn’t want to be one of those average job seekers that JobGetter reported on. It’s really not that hard to differentiate yourself in the job market. It’s all about the preparation (training) and the strategy (game plan). Get that right before you put in your first application and it will change you entire job search experience.


Have you considered how your current salary compares to others in similar roles within Regional Victoria?  Visit www.regionalsalaries.com.au and compare your salary now, it’s free and anonymous.

Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.








Comments 1

  1. Bruce R Kendall

    “Not to mention how frustrating it is when a job of interest does come up and then it’s filled by an internal applicant.”

    This is common practice in government departments, statuatory authorites and institutional style organisations where policy dictates that all vacancies have to be advertised. I’ve had the unfortunate experince myself many times over the years of be played as a pawn in a government department’s game of following so called ‘due process’, only to find out subsequently that an internal applicant has got the gig. There is sometimes clues that emerge during such interviews such as a lack of genuine interest in you; no further questioning during the interview after a question has been asked, you have responded and no further dialogue occurs other than the next question on the list is asked by the pannell.

    Tip: When inquiring about roles in these types of organisations, or any organisation for that matter, ask why the vacancy has arrisen; is the a staffer currently in the role; is there an heir apparent in the wings that the recruiting manager/line manager favors for the role?

    Mostly you won’t get a straight answer, or you will get a ‘no-comment’ type response as the process is supposed to be open and merritt based. However, sometimes I have been given information that instantly makes me decide not to apply because there is a favored internal candidate or contractor currently in the role. I make a point of thanking the person for their candid advice as it’s invaluable to me not to spend considerable time answering key selection criteria and drafting a well crafted covering letter simply to play somebody elses game that I’m not going to win.

    In such organisations the raison d’être for such processes is largely ‘proceedural fairness’. i.e. The recruitment process has to be seen to be defensible and fair, rather than it neccessaraly being so in reality. Experience tells me suporters of such processes are more concerned with the process itself rather than actually recruiting the best candidate.

    “….spend some time getting clarity on what it is exactly that I have to offer an employer. Why me? What makes me different and unique to anyone else that might just happen to be applying for the job I want. ” This is excellent advice. Applying for every job you see when your skill-set is not, or poorly aligned to the role is mostly a pointless waste of everyone’s time.

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