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Published 13 August 2012 06:04, Updated 13 August 2012 12:55
Talking to people outside your closest circle of friends can bring you to the attention of a much larger range of potential employers.
Australians must be better than we realise at getting and creating jobs. Each month we expect the unemployment rate to reflect the redundancies and business closures we see all around us, and yet, here we go again: being surprised at our resilience.
Lucky us. Last week, we were told the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 per cent, as the number of people employed rose by 14,000.
Showing the power of personal connections, most of those jobs would have been filled - not through job agencies - but through someone known to the job-seeker.
The old “It’s not what you know, it is who you know” has as much power today as it ever did. But it is interesting to discover that it is not your best buddies who will give you your top leads, it will be the people you know only slightly.
Sociologist Mark Granovetter interviewed 300 professional and managerial workers to find that 56 per cent found their jobs through a personal connection – and 83 per cent of respondents did not know that connection very well at all.
The reason for this is that the people you know closely probably know pretty much the same people as you do. If one of them had a suitable job going, you would probably already know about it.
People further out in your network, called “weak ties”, will be more numerous and their own friendships and contacts will be further out of your reach. They will hear of job opportunities that would never reach your ears first hand.
What is more, you are less of a known quantity to these weak ties. They may put your name forward for a job that a closer friend would not consider. The closer the friend, the more they make judgements about what you can and can’t do, limiting your opportunities.
So, if you are on the hunt for a new job, mobilise the people you know well enough to phone, but not well enough to ask home for dinner with the family. That’s why networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook can prove very powerful.
Trawling through a few days’ of job hunting hints from the Twitter-sphere, here are some things you may not be aware of.
Why you should not accept a counter-offer. When your employer implores you to stay and waves more cash at you, consider this – it costs them money to replace you, but you have “outed” yourself as a quitter and this may affect your future career there.
Unless the reason you want to go is only about money, the issues that made you want to go will remain.
Mind you, recruiters will tend to give you advice to reject a counter-offer because they make their money from placing people in new jobs, not retaining the employees who are already there.
The Approach:Emailed resumes often get lost, especially by big employers, or misfiled as junk mail. Use the subject line to make sure it gets noticed. Use the job title that is also used by the employer in their posting, the job requisition number or other employer identifier in job posting, location of the job, and the word “resume”.
An example may be: Subj: Resume for A107255568 - National Account Manager - Electronics, Canberra.
The Resume. Around 72 per cent of resumes are never seen by human eyes. Applicant tracking software assigns you a score based on your suitability for the job. You can improve your score by using language from the job description, stick with standard web-safe fonts, don’t hide key words in white text to try and game the system, get rid of irrelevant information, don’t use special characters such as arrows which could confuse the system, don’t use fancy borders and shading, spell out your skills and include industry-specific abbreviations, place contact information at the top, and tailor each resume to use the key words and phrases from the job ad.
The Interview. Take extra copies of your resume with you and, a day later, follow up the interview with an email.