New year. New me. New job?
I consider myself very fortunate to have had a colourful career, full of ups and downs and lots in between. This year, I have found myself reflecting on 2018 and the pivotal moment I decided to step up and really take ownership of my career. This is how I did it:
It’s day 3 into the new year, it’s 38 degrees in my tiny apartment and the overwhelming joy I experienced a week ago of purchasing the very last pedestal fan at Bunnings, presumably anywhere in the State, is short lived. The fan is giving off the amount of air that my grandfather used to refer to as a ‘bee’s fart’ and before I pass out from heat exhaustion, I promise myself that this year will be the year I move house. But I don’t stop at moving house. I proclaim loudly to my equally sweaty partner that this will be the year I start eating better and exercising more. This will be the year that I finally learn how to sew. And by god, this will be the year that I get a new job!
My partner has no problem *gently* reminding me that I may have said the same thing last year. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they are too broad and people find themselves aiming for something they don’t know how to achieve. Studies have shown that 80% of people who make resolutions will fail within 30 days and only 8% will actually follow through! Setting and writing down goals on the other hand, has been shown to increase successful completion.
So with that in mind, I decided to not punish myself for not achieving ALL my resolutions, and instead I set 5 goals to achieve one resolution – get a new job.
Goal 1. Critically review resume
News flash! People still read resumes. But like Darrell Kerrigan says: “It’s what you do with them”.
When the sun is shining and the beach is calling, spending a day updating and tailoring your resume might seem like the most unappealing way to spend your summer. But future you will be uncontrollably smug when you can apply straight away for a role that closes within 2 hours.
Making sure you only include the most relevant information is a must for any resume. UTS Careers has developed a handy resume checklist but here are a few things to consider:
- Develop a different resume for different roles – retail, hospitality, admin and internships
- Achievement statements are only powerful when they are structured well
- Ask someone to proofread your resume – correct spelling and grammar are critical to demonstration your communication skills
Goal 2. Develop personal pitch
Sometimes referred to as an elevator pitch, the personal pitch is a skill worth perfecting. How many times have you successfully explained to your relatives or friends what you are studying or what job you want to have? Twice. That is my number. My mother is usually two words in when she gives up trying to explain what I do. Does this sound familiar?
A good personal pitch will serve you well; from explaining your work to your twice removed Aunt Gladys, to impressing the hiring manager in the first question in your interview: “Tell us about yourself”.
Once you have developed your pitch, make sure you practice. Not only in front of the mirror but with friends and even at networking events.
Goal 3. Go to a networking event
Did you know that 80% of jobs are not advertised? As a self-proclaimed introvert, networking is in my top 3 list of things I am most afraid of. As a self-proclaimed realist, networking is also in my top 3 list of things I know are essential to getting a job.
At its core, networking is a way for people to connect over similar interests. Similar to speed dating, everyone is there because they want to achieve an outcome – fill a vacancy, meet an exciting new grad, find a project partner. Rare is the person who turns up to a networking event just wanting to experience the moment!
UTS Careers Postgraduate Careers Coach, Candy Jenkins, has written an insightful article on how to network like a natural but there are 3 key things I keep in mind when I attend networking events:
- Planning is essential
- Set a goal of how many people you want to talk to
- Research and prioritise who you want to talk to
- Prepare two great questions – one personal, one professional
- Be your authentic self. Telling the person you love golf (when you really don’t) and then being invited to the company’s social golf day? *face palm*
- If the conversation is going well, ask if you can add them on LinkedIn – additional note to self: create a LinkedIn page!
Goal 4. Find a professional mentor
I never knew I needed a mentor until I needed a mentor. If you are considering working for the first time, or like melooking for a new job, a mentor can act as many things including a sounding board, voice of reason or a trusty resource. There are lots of benefits to having a mentor, but a good mentor is someone who can guide you through decisions about your career and can provide you with updates and trends in your industry.
Not sure what type of mentor might be best for you, why not try flash mentoring? The UTS Professional Mentoring Platform has been designed with students in mind. Mentees can choose from hundreds of industry professionals (including some UTS alumni) who want to be mentors. Flash mentoring can be a few minutes, or a long-term relationship. You decide!
Goal 5. Perfecting interview skills
The interview. The penultimate goal in finding a job and perhaps the most nerve wracking. But it doesn’t have to be as long as you are prepared. As someone who has sat on the other side of the table, I’d like to think that I know what a good interview looks like. A good candidate has clearly prepared and practiced. I’m not saying apply for every job just so you can get interview experience, instead interview skills can easily be practiced by recruiting a trusted friend (or mentor), or even as simple as videoing yourself.
Now I know you’ve probably heard these all before, but here are my top 5 tips to preparing for an interview:
1. Develop your personal pitch
2. Research the company and industry trends
I don’t care who you are, everyone loves hearing about themselves. Make sure you don’t just pick the first thing from their website, consider looking at the company’s Strategic Plan and comment on how you might fit into their goals.
3. Develop answers to behavioural questions
If it’s a retail or hospitality role, you bet there will be a question about customer service. Try and anticipate what some of the questions will be and make sure you’ve got some STAR answers ready to go.
4. Prepare questions to ask your interviewer
They want to know that you’re interested in the role, give them reasons to believe you are! DO – ask about company culture, what a typical day in the role is or any challenges of the role.
DON’T – ask about salary, leave policy or if you got the job.
5. Prepare your wardrobe now
Sometimes you will only have 24 hours to prepare for your interview. You don’t want that precious time and brain capacity to be taken up with what to wear. Something you can do right now is plan what to wear. I would recommend preparing 2 outfits – just in case!
Ready to get started? UTS Careers can help. UTS CareerHub is your one stop shop with bookable appointments, resources, events and much more. Check out the Career Action Plan in the dashboard section for a step-by-step guide to help you succeed.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Kathleen Connolly
Business Development Manager
What does making coffee, organising conferences, leading tour groups, handling accounts and implementing IT systems all have in common? All those jobs have led me to where I am today, and I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. Take any opportunity that comes your way because you never know where your career will take you.
Kathleen Connolly is the Business Development Manager at UTS Careers, and a UTS Alumni.