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Finding a job in tough economic times
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What can you do to be competitive when looking for a new job? Writing a quick resume late at night and applying for random jobs is NOT going to get you the job you are looking for. Is there an educational or university course being offered which could help you now or in the long term? What skills do you have to shine above and beyond other candidates. Make a portfolio of your accomplishments you have achieved in your academic or professional life. In the current economic climate employers want to know what YOU have to offer them. You need to sell yourself! And sell your success.

Below are some further ideas and suggestions to find yourself a new job

Learn new skills

It's never too late to try to learn a foreign language, or a new piece of computer software. (Best example was a senior archaeologist of 10 years who came to me wanting to change life direction. After 6 months learning Spanish then travelling through Spain for another 6 months, The senior archaeologist is now a junior English/Spanish translator)

Research: Find out where the demand is. While many industries are having trouble in this recession and laying off employees other areas are increasing employment

Sell yourself: Take time writing your resume, and tailor your resume specifically to each job you are applying. Do not send out the same resume to every job advert you see. Remember if you're sending out generic resumes then you will get the same generic responses

Use your social network. Don't be embarrassed about looking for work. Tell your friends and family. You never know who may be looking at hiring staff with your set of skills

Use free networking sites to advertise yourself and your skills. Promote yourself via sites like LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/

Use a recruitment agency that specialises in your particular area. Get to know the recruitment consultant, and follow them up weekly. The more you appear visible, the more they will remember you

Share with friends: Brainstorm ideas and share experiences with friends that are also looking for jobs. Exchange advice, strategies, and plans

Act straight away: When you get a lead or hear about a job opening apply immediately. There is no need to wait. Prepare your resume and send it immediately. The longer you wait the more likely another candidate will apply ahead of you

Don't let a lack of experience discourage you from applying for jobs: When tailoring your resume towards the job you are applying for, concentrate on the skills and abilities you have to match that certain job

Most importantly: Don't give up - Never stop looking. While you're searching for your new job is there something else in the meantime you could be doing. Do you have skills to freelance? Maybe you can sell goods online. Keeping yourself occupied helps you to stay positive and upbeat rather than moping around the house feeling sorry for yourself

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This month's top rated article
Top 5 cover letter mistakes

If you're going to take the extra time to write a cover letter that you include along with your resume, you might as well write it properly! We talked to a few recruiters and found out that they frequently find mistakes so annoying that cause them to immediately discard some applications all together. Here's a sample of some of the mistakes they mentioned:

Letter addressed to the wrong person or company: It doesn't annoy hiring managers that you're probably applying for other jobs, but it does annoy them when you don't take the time to check that your cover letter is addressed properly. Sending it to the wrong person or company will get your application deleted immediately.

Spelling and/or grammar mistakes: You're probably tired of being told to check and re-check your work, but it is extremely important! When spelling or grammar errors show up on your cover letter, the person reading it is going to think that you either don't know how to write properly or that you didn't bother to check it over. Either way, it's bad news for you.

It's too long: Cover letters should be short and to the point. They should provide some basic information about how you are specifically qualified for the job in question. That's pretty much it. Anything longer than a few paragraphs starts to look more like an essay, and it's an immediate turn-off.

No contact details: It happens quite frequently - people forget to include their name, let alone a way to contact them. While your details may be on your resume, no one wants to take extra time to fish for information that should have been provided for them right away.

No cover letter: This is the worst mistake of all. You're competing against dozens of other applicants who have instantly shown that they took more time to apply than you.

At the end of the day, you just want to give yourself the best chance possible to be called for an interview. Think about what a potential employer wants to know most about you, and try to convert this into a cover letter.

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Popular questions
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What should I include in my Australian resume?

A well written and properly presented Australian resume can be your ticket to finding an Australian job. The Australian job market is different to job markets around the world and it is important that your resume is presented in the "Australian way"

Responsibilities, achievements and duties need to be written clearly and backed up with supporting evidence. If these are not present, it is assumed you do not have any experience at all

Use British English ONLY in your Australian Resume - words such as "specialise" and "realise" need to be spelled with an "s" not a "z"

Ensure you tailor EVERY application to suit the job for which you are applying. If you are going to stand out from the crowd, you have to make sure that your application is outstanding

No picture is necessary on your Australian Resume

Do not include personal information such as marital status, date of birth, number of children, occupation of spouse, gender, religious affiliation, colour or race on your resume. It is true that in certain countries (South Africa, for example) personal information is included and is required, however it is not necessary or needed on your Australian Resume

Spend as much time as possible ensuring you address EXACTLY what the Australian employer wants. For example, if the job advertisement lists certain duties for the job, make sure you incorporate these duties into your current resume. If the job requires excellent customer service skills, provide examples about how you have provided excellent customer service

Get the edge on other job seekers and save yourself enormous amounts of time and stress by ensuring your resume ticks all the right boxes.

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