Strategic tips to secure a great job!

Overcoming job-hunting blues is often the hardest mountain to climb. Follow this practical and expert advice to come out on top!

Nothing kills off a job interview faster than a whiff of resentment. That feeling, that the world has done you wrong, can be detected by others in a millisecond and easily becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

And it doesn’t take long in the job market before that resentment takes hold — especially when you suspect it is not your abilities, but your age, that is getting in the way of re-employment. You only need to be looking for a job for six months before you are classified as long term unemployed.

Those people who are hit the hardest are often the ones experiencing bias and prejudice for the first time. They have usually found themselves somewhere up near the front of the opportunity queue and it can come as a terrible shock to realise that recruiters and employers can’t see beyond their birth date.

So, one of the most important (but sometimes most difficult) tasks for a job-seeker is to stay positive and curious, keep a spring in your step and look like a winner.

Executive chairman of executive search company, Korn Ferry, Katie Lahey, says mature-age job seekers have to keep seeking new experiences and networks. “They need to appear like they have other things in their life, not just job hunting. They should not appear desperate, not to appear like this is the only appointment of the week, not to appear bitter — and that is really hard to do,” she says.

“You should not be bitter about the firm you have exited or the jobs you have missed out on. You have got to give the appearance that the role you have been approached for today is just one of two or three opportunities.”

Lahey, a former chief executive of the Business Council of Australia, says she realises a long search can be very disheartening, but recommends that job seekers keep putting themselves “out there”.

“Then you can still be part of some community. If you are a CFO [chief financial officer], do you belong to the [accounting body] CPA and do you go to their events? Are you going to Rotary

“With things like that, you are still going to be meeting with professional people, and still feeling you are learning and keeping up to date. That is one of the most important things because, when you are not in a role, your qualifications can quickly become devalued if you don’t keep them up to date.”

Lahey says consulting work is a great stop gap and participating in charity events can put you in contact with some of the best-connected people in the country.

Founder of InterviewIQ, Karalyn Brown helps people prepare for job interviews and says the tendency of people to apply for everything they can works against them.

“It can be so debilitating because they keep getting rejections and then they don’t get any feedback about why they have been rejected and they feel the system is stacked against them,” she says.

Brown says job seekers need to be more strategic. Think about what you have enjoyed doing and chase jobs that will allow you to do those things. The passion for that kind of work will show and make you a memorable applicant. Brown also says networking should not be a nightmare of cold-calling strangers.

“It is just about finding someone you used to work with and having coffee and seeing what they are up to. Lots of people make it harder than it and I don’t think it really is. It is about being open and being generous and things come.”

“I’ve always seen is as going somewhere with some curiosity to learn about what other people do.” Then, if it seems the right time and appropriate, you might ask them to make an introduction for you to someone else.

“But don’t make it as if your whole life depends on that introduction.”

Brown says, if you start to feel desperate or resentful, do something that gives you pleasure “just to break that mould”.

“Do one little thing differently or do a course online to start thinking about something else.”

Do you have any questions for job hunting expert Karalyn Brown? Let us know in the comments section below.