Purpose The intention of the Phillip Riley Jobseekers Information Session was to provide assistance to jobseekers who are affected by COVID-19, or who are having difficulties breaking into their respective industries. The information session was composed of four of our expert team sharing their top tips for the four major stages of job searching: Curriculum Vitae/Resumes, LinkedIn Profiles, Searching & Applications, and Interviewing. A summary of these pointers is below. For further information, please reach out to the Phillip Riley team via LinkedIn.
Curriculum Vitae/Resume Tips – Led by Daniel Gallen, Director of New Zealand
• Research the skills and experience required by the positions you are looking for, and ensure that those skills are highlighted on your resume
• Ensure your text is broken up, either with bullet points or paragraphs
• Write a punchy personal statement at the top of your resume to catch attention
• Ensure you have a bullet-pointed list of your core skills/skills and attributes below your personal statement, including skills, IT knowledge etc.
• Use a professional email address
• Show your own impact on your previous workplaces within your resume, for example instead of including “sourcing and approaching potential customers”, try “sourcing and approaching potential customer to generate leads for the sales team and generate pipelines”
• Use a simple, professional font such as ‘Arial’, ‘Tahoma’, ‘Open Sans’ etc
• Do not include too many bullet points
• Try to avoid clichés such as ‘hard-working’ or ‘team player’
• Do not include a photo of yourself in your resume; you will not be judged on your looks
• Avoid using skills graphs e.g. coloured dots to show proficiency; it is better to use ‘Beginner’, ‘Intermediate’, ‘Advanced’ etc
• Try to use the word ‘I’ where possible instead of ‘we’
LinkedIn Tips – Led by Justine Perry, Candidate Relationship Manager
• Your LinkedIn profile can be thought of as a lens for recruiters and hiring manager to view you and your experience
• Use an up-to-date, good quality photo of yourself that is professional in appearance, and related to your industry if possible
• Adding your location boosts your visibility and helps you be found
• Add an overview of your career as your summary, and highlight your areas of expertise
• Ensure your key positions are listed in your work history, and keep them up to date with your skills
• Include your education to ensure higher profile views, and to create the potential of alumni relationships
• Writing endorsements/recommendations for your teammates gives you visibility and opens the door for them to write endorsements for you; this shows trust and respect
• Listing groups, companies, organisations closely related to your industry shows that you are active within the industry
• If you are actively looking for a position, turn on the ‘open to new opportunities feature’ to show recruiters you are open to opportunities
• Your LI profile is often the first impression you make on recruiters and hiring managers
Applying & Searching Tips – Led by Matt Hayes, Senior Recruitment Consultant
• Set up job alerts with recruiters, job boards and potential employers to keep aware of new opportunities
• Certain job boards allow you to save search preferences, to automatically look for jobs within your desired industry, location, salary range et cetera
• Follow companies within your industry on LinkedIn and other social media as they often post links to jobs through those channels
• Take note of whether a job ad mentions a particular resume format, for example Word or PDF; recruiting software can be used to scan resumes but may not respond to certain formats, so ensure you are submitting the format requested
• Save your resume with a clear document name, generally including your name, the date of the application, and the company name if desired
• If an ad includes a phone number or
• Keep a record of all your applications; this is to prevent multiple applications through multiple sources, as this often sends the wrong message to hiring managers and recruiters
Interview Tips – Led by Stephanie Graham, Recruitment Consultant
• Always prepare for the interview by researching the company, their current projects, mission statement and values, looking at the position description if provided, and looking into the people who will be running the interview
• Prepare answers for common but deceptively difficult questions including “Tell me about yourself,” and “Why do you want to work for our company?”
• Prepare intelligent and thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview and ensure you stay on topic
• Arrive to the interview location around 15 minutes early, take a short time to gather your thoughts and relax, then enter the building around 5 minutes before the interview to notify the company you have arrived
• Be aware that the interview begins the moment you step into the building; the receptionist/office manager/employee who greets you will likely be asked their first impression of you, so ensure you look presentable and act professionally and politely
• Listen closely to the questions you are asked, and answer them directly; try not to ramble or over-answer the questions, and try not to talk ‘at’ the interviewer, but ‘to’ them
• For video interviews, double-check all your equipment/technology to ensure it is working at least half an hour before the interview time
• Remember that virtual/video interviews are still formal interviews; you must dress professionally, make eye contact with your interviewer, remove distractions from the room and keep background noise to a minimum
Q & A Session – Led by Scott Robinson, Managing Director
• “I have observed that migrant experienced professionals are given less weightage during job shortlisting and it may be due to lack of local experience and reference. How can migrant experienced professionals get equal opportunity for work?”
In general, companies are looking for local experience because it equates to knowledge of local laws and guidelines. When using recruiters, companies are more rigid in their requirements as they are paying for the service. Applying to the company directly means they may be more flexible in what/who they are looking for. It also helps for applicants to be willing to take a slight step backwards or sideways, just to gain some local experience. It may be a short-term loss, but a long-term gain.
• “I have 19 years of project management experience, mainly in the Oil & Gas industry. I personally believe that project management skills are transferrable, however other industries such as the Renewables or Infrastructure industries are not shortlisting candidates from an Oil & Gas background. How I can make the transition from Oil & Gas to Renewables?”
Again, it can be difficult to change industries due to experience required with local laws and guidelines. Taking that slight step backwards in position can help with gaining local experience. Ensure also that you are applying only for positions that are actually relevant to your skills; for example, if you were a project manager working in construction within Oil & Gas, apply for positions related to construction within Renewables, such as solar or wind farm construction.
• “I completed my Master’s degree in December and am having difficulties in finding a position as I don’t have any practical experience. How can recent graduates, international and local, break into the industry? How can internships help, and how can they be secured?”
Internships are good for getting your foot in the door of your industry. Some companies, such as Phillip Riley, run internship placement programs to assist graduates to find a suitable host company; other companies within other industries do the same. There are also companies who exist only to assist graduates to find internships, such as Internships Australia. Universities often offer internship opportunities or assistance as well.
• “How does a recruiter/HR deem a candidate’s skills to be transferable to a particular Renewables role?”
There is an important distinction between agency recruiters and internal recruiters; agency recruiters have much more stringent requirements they must stick to in order to find the desired candidate for the position. Recruiters must essentially hit 10 out of 10 of the requested skills, however internal recruiters are able to act with more flexibility, so may be more willing to consider transferrable skills.
• “Do you use applicant tracking system (ATS) software? Any tips for an ATS friendly resume?”
Recruiters use applicant tracking systems to save candidates’ resumes to a database, then quickly search the resumes for specific key words. Artificial Intelligence technology can also be used to automatically match those key words, so it is important to ensure that your resume is relevant to the terms set by the job ad. Also note that some ATS programs can only track resumes that are in a particular format, so if the ad requests your resume to be in Word, ensure you are submitting that format.
• “The roles for which I am applying match with my research experience gained while completing my PhD, but I am rejected as my experience is all educational. Is a PhD considered a negative attribute for applicants?”
As far as a recruiter is concerned, a PhD can be looked at favourably but finding the transition from education to practical experience can be difficult. Researching the types of roles available in the industry can help you determine which roles are most relevant to your specific education, and therefore the roles for which you should apply. You should also demonstrate commercial knowledge when creating your application.
• “Would you prefer a candidate with a PhD over someone with a Bachelor, both with no industry experience? Is a PhD considered work experience?”
Whether a candidate is preferred to have a Bachelor’s degree or a PhD is entirely dependent on the role and the hiring company.
• “What is the best way to approach small companies which do not post their jobs on LinkedIn or SEEK?”
Ensure that you are following companies in which you are interested on social media to keep aware of their projects, and find different avenues to track jobs. Though many companies do use LinkedIn and SEEK ads, some companies just advertise jobs on their own websites, or as simple posts on their social media accounts. Try to set up job alerts wherever possible.