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.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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