Everyone knows by now that Australia is in a candidate-driven, talent-short market due to the borders being closed and international talent moving back home. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to hang around long enough to get back on my feet, following a COVID redundancy three months after making the move to Melbourne from sunny Manchester in the UK.
This means that there are heaps of job opportunities on the market, but that doesn’t mean you should get complacent.
It’s crucial that prospective job seekers focus on their personal brand and network in order to stand out from the crowds and secure that dream job or make the right next step in your career.
Here’s how you can achieve this:
Your CV/Folio/LinkedIn Profile
A concise and up-to-date CV/Folio & LinkedIn profile should be doing the legwork during your job search. This is your shop window for hiring managers or recruiters. Check out my colleague Ryan Watts’ blog post and video on how to spruce up your LinkedIn profile.
Here are a few of my CV recommendations:
This should be your focus when re-writing your CV. Outcomes such as cash savings, increased revenue, % YoY improvements, % efficiencies etc., jump off the page and instantly show hiring managers what value you can add to their business. Back this up with any budgets and teams you’ve managed.
Hiring managers are incredibly busy and may not spend too long reviewing your CV if they’ve got a long list to go through or are in back-to-back meetings. A bullet-pointed list of your key achievements with the deliverables (% $) is a hook that will keep them reading.
Showing your key, transferrable strengths, which could be soft-skills such as communication or problem-solving, alongside tech stacks if you’re a marketer (GMP, AEC etc.) and methodologies (Agile, Scrum, SAFe, LeSS) implies you can hit the ground running in any environment.
The rule of thumb is to aim for 2-3 pages, weighted towards the last five years of experience on a sliding scale. A long, wordy CV can give off the impression of poor communication skills, and I have seen hiring managers reject a candidate on this basis.
A well-thought-out folio or website will make you stand out if you’re in the creative space. This should have 3-4 key projects showing your creative process; try to keep to task, action, and results format. Here’s a great article that takes a deeper dive.
Being proactive in building your network is key to finding those jobs that aren’t on Seek/LinkedIn, which every man and his dog has applied for. I’ve always recommended building a relationship with 2-3 specialist recruiters, who you trust. Recruiters can get a well-deserved bad wrap, but a good recruiter is worth their weight in gold. Here are a few reasons why:
- They’ll have access to jobs that aren’t always advertised
- They’ll have direct access to hiring managers, so they can highlight why you’re perfect for the job and advise on any tweaks you need to make to your CV
- You’ll likely be on a short-list of 3-5 people instead of 1 of 400 applicants
- They can coach you through an interview process
- They can manage your salary expectations, relieving you of any awkward/stressful negotiations with your potential new boss
- They can be a sounding board to bounce any queries/concerns you may have throughout the on-boarding process
If you’re in Melbourne like me, then you’ve probably forgotten how to speak to people face-to-face. Luckily a lot of meetup groups have adapted and can be run virtually. I used to host a UX workshop back in the UK, and it was an excellent place for people to build their network and interact with peers and industry leaders in a relaxed, collaborative environment. These relationships may not always lead to a quick win in terms of a new job, but can be very important in the long term, as it’s a small world! So have a look at Meetup, as there are plenty of interesting groups across the country.
Whether you’re upskilling or developing a brand-new skill, gaining certifications, diplomas, post-grad degrees etc., all show your passion for the industry. Someone who’s passionate is a common desirable trait for hiring managers. Certs can also act as a stopgap if your job search is dragging on longer than anticipated, which can help answer difficult questions about gaps in your CV. Aquent Gymnasium has some fantastic free courses on everything from UX to Development.
The current state of the market has inflated salaries across the board. Increased salaries come with increased expectations, so it will be interesting to see how businesses react in circa 12 months when some employees may not be living up to their price tags and overseas talent return to the market. The market tends to ebb and flow, so it may seem like an array of job opportunities right now, but this won’t always be the case, so I hope some of these tips may help you differentiate from the crowd.
Check out our Aquent website, as we’ve got loads of jobs across Digital Marketing, Analytics, Design and Development in Melbourne and Sydney!
I’m always happy to have a chat about the market, so feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or drop me a line at email@example.com.