One of the biggest misconceptions in recruitment is that there’s no point in looking for a new role in summer as there are few opportunities available.
Most of us just want to switch off and head down to the beach to relax if we’re still lucky enough to be on leave, or to make the most of warm weekends without thinking about work.
But what many people don’t realise is that several companies and organisations are scrambling to find new talent over summer.
The weeks leading up to Christmas are actually the most common time of year for executives and other senior professionals to resign and take up new roles.
I know someone who spotted a great role advertised two days before Christmas – she applied immediately and was interviewed in the first week of January.
Many new vacancies frequently come up in December and January and your chances of landing your next role or promotion – perhaps even your dream job – are in fact better over summer than at almost any other time of year because the pool of applicants is also typically smaller as most people switch off.
Another positive sign for those looking for new roles is the improving jobs market.
Australia’s unemployment rate fell in the December quarter as 50,000 new jobs were created. There are now more opportunities than there have been for months.
Unfortunately, many will ultimately miss out on getting these positions because, in my experience, many applicants are making increasingly common mistakes.
Avoid these and you will improve your chances of landing the role:
- Over-the-top resumes – recruiters typically scan a resume for about 30 seconds. Fancy graphics and colourful borders are distracting and make a resume difficult to read. Stick to black text on a white background and put a line space between each bullet point or section. And don’t be afraid to write three to four lines of description at each dot point to clearly articulate the value you have added to your current or previous company.
- Undercooked resumes – most resumes are wordy and repetitive and fail to clearly demonstrate an applicant’s achievements. Use figures to show the difference you have made to your organisation. A recruiter will be impressed if you say you increased profit by 35 per cent or secured a $5m contract. If others were involved, don’t take full credit as you will be found out – typically at reference check stage.
- Poor video applications – while it may seem awkward and pointless talking to a webcam, you must submit a video if it is part of the application process. Practise your answers before you record your video. Take note of any time limits, but as a general rule, each answer should be two or three minutes long. Ensure you use that time to tell your story and focus on work experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for.
- Interview trap questions – some interviewees ask questions that are likely to trip you up. One example is – “On a scale of one to ten, how much do you want this role?” How you answer is important – they’re not looking for a five or six! Regardless of your answer, it’s important to give context and explain why you gave the answer you did.
- Gaming tests – some roles require applicants to sit personality tests. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer so don’t try to game the test by giving the answer you think the recruiter wants. If you can, go for a 20-minute walk to clear your head before you start and then find a quiet space away from distractions to complete it. If asked to do an aptitude test, there are paid sites such as jobtestprep.com that allow you to do some training beforehand.
So, make the most of this time of year to apply for new roles. Invest the time to get it right and get coaching if you need it.
Remember that at the end of the day, the person whose resume is spot-on and who interviews the best is the one most likely to land the role.