Tough Job Market

When the going gets tough: 5 actions for a competitive job market

04/12/2013BY: Tracey Mesken

​Without a doubt it is really tough going at the moment for the thousands of unemployed Australians seeking full time work.  The unemployment rate held steady at 5.7 per cent in October, thought largely because fewer workers are looking for jobs.

This equates to approximately 709,300 people are seeking work, leading to a job market that is now more competitive than it has been in a long time.

Another concerning feature of the current Australian labour market is the workforce participation rate of 64.9%, the lowest level in seven years.  Workforce participation refers to the share of the working age population who are either in a job or actively looking for work.

Low workforce participation has a negative impact on Australia’s economy; the lower the number of people employed or looking for work, the less hours worked and therefore reduced output potential as a country.  And reduced growth means less jobs.  Quite the conundrum.

That said, it’s not all doom and gloom though, with the latest Fairfax Employment Report predicting that business and consumer confidence will continue to rise and 193,000 new jobs will be added by August 2014.

Whilst it is really hard to not fall into the discouraged job seeker trap after a run of disappointments, it is really important that you don’t give up and keep trying to find work.

Here are some positive actions you can take to keep your chin up and stay in the fight for employment.

1) Consider part-time or contract work

While full-time employment figures were down in October, the number of people who gained part-time employment increased.  This is a great way to keep some income coming in whilst you work towards full time employment.  Part-time employment will:

  • Keep your skills and knowledge sharp while you're looking for a permanent position;

  • Give you the opportunity to network with others in your industry; and

  • Prevent your resume from containing any large employment gaps.

2) Ask for feedback

If you find your resume isn’t getting you a phone call or you don’t make it through a job interview process, ask the recruiter or company employing why.  This can only help you improve for your next interview.

You may need to simply tweak your resume or practice your interview technique to ensure you are positioning yourself as a highly desirable candidate.

3) Consider enhancing your skill set

If you're repeatedly hearing that a "more qualified" candidate has been chosen for a position over you, maybe it's time to hone your skills or learn something new.  If you enroll in a training course, you can:

  • Show employers that you're motivated and want to further your career;

  • Enhance your resume and give yourself an edge over the competition; and

  • Feel positive and more confident because you've achieved something.

4) Target your job search

When it comes to a job search, less is more.

It's common for job seekers to cast a wide net and fire generic resumes out to as many employers as possible in the hope that one will stick.  This approach could find you interviewing for jobs you're not right for, that you don’t really want (so have no long term plans to stay in) or getting no responses at all.

Tailor your resume to suit each individual job advertisement/position description - employers need to know if you're the right fit for the position they're offering, not just an all-round good worker.  Yes it takes time but it will benefit you in the long run.

5) Get in touch with a recruitment company

Recruiters are often frowned upon by frustrated job seekers.  You may have had a couple of bad experiences but don’t put all recruitment companies in the one box as there are some very good ones out there that really do deliver job seekers good advice and support.

A recruitment agency can help you find part-time or contract work, contact employers on your behalf and get feedback, offer advice on a wide range of training courses and coach you through your job search.

Staying positive in a tough job market is easier said than done but staying motivated to find work is exceptionally important to your personal confidence and, in the bigger picture, to our country’s economy.  And don’t forget that every ‘no’ brings you closer to a ‘yes’.

Do you have any good tips for keeping your chin up in a tough job market? Please comment or share below.  Also don't forget to subscribe to our blog and receive updates direct to your inbox.