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Land a better job and lay the foundation for a more successful career

Land a better job and lay the foundation for a more successful career

The slowest wage growth on record (of between 0.5 and 2 percent), spiralling energy prices, record high levels of household debt, and increasingly unaffordable home ownership is forcing a growing number of Australians to enhance their prospects of finding a better paying job. Retraining and/or completing further study will arguably improve your employability over time. Trouble is it won’t help you pay today’s bills, and saddling you with a hefty HECS debt is hardly going to boost your morale at a time when you need to see more money coming in.

With that in mind, went in search of some suggested tactics to help you land a better job sooner rather than later.

1)    Start with where you are now: Firstly, assess your role within the bigger picture of the company you work for. Be brutally honest when it comes to assessing whether it’s the job that ‘sucks’ or your approach to it. In other words, have you made sufficient effort to be regarded highly in your role, or are you seen as a slacker who’s easily overlooked. There’s little point looking for a new, and potentially better paying job if you’re going to take the same questionable attitude with you. Leaving your current job on the best possible note, may mean having to raise your act first, and this might take time. However, if you do, your current employer will be less chuffed about having to replace you, and may even offer you more money to stay. Becoming the best employee you can be, will make you more attractive to your next employer, and will also help you to leave your existing employer without burning any bridges behind you.

2)    Understand the job market landscape: Assuming you’re ready to jump ship from your existing employer, without burning any bridges, it’s time to research the companies operating within your line of work. Filter out those companies you absolutely don’t want to work for, and identify what attracts you to those left on your list. Firstly, you need to soul search what’s important to you in your next employer and why. For example, find out how they rate in the pay-stakes, their approach to on-the-job and future training, and any prospects for future job advancement. Being swayed by salary alone could backfire, especially if it’s a job you really don’t want. By comparison, taking a lower salary in a really good company might appear to be counterintuitive – especially if it’s the primary reason for leaving your last employer – however it may return in spades over time.

3)    Quick and longer-term wins from retraining: If you simply don’t want to resume formal study, try and identify shorter-block training that will give you the ‘best bang’ for your buck. In other words, find out what upskilling will provide the most immediate impact to your CV and employability. For example, if you were one unit away from completing a degree five years ago, assess whether it’s worth going back and completing it. Similarly, if a limited command of IT or basic word processing skills has held you back in the past, maybe it’s time to do something about it.

4)    Present the world with the best version of yourself: While it sounds cosmetic, it is important to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to how the world sees you. Dressing for the part should be a given, but if your wardrobe lets you down when you front up for an interview, then invest in new clothes. Similarly, while far too much drivel has been written about ‘moulding the perfect resume’, you need to ensure it does what it’s supposed to do. Don’t forget the old axiom about the ‘resume selling the interview and the interview selling the job’. If you need some help handling the live interview situation, find a mentor to help. Basic coaching to help you present yourself properly to an employer could include, what body language you need to be mindful of, what words they will pick up on, and how to sell your experience in the right measure.

5)      Understand your short and longer-term career and personal goals: In the immortal lines of Alice in Wonderland, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Be careful not to take any job solely because it pays better today than the one you just left. If you don’t know what you truly want from a career, and how it complements you as a person, your lifestyle and your ability to grow – then you’re more likely to drift aimlessly from one job to another. If you find it hard to identify what is you want from your career and/or from your life then you need to do some serious soul searching. Consider getting a copy of Napoleon Hill’s self-improvement best seller Think and Grow Rich. While Hill’s book was originally written in 1937, it’s regarded as a timeless guide to getting better organised. For example, he walks you through things that successful people take for granted, like the importance of having a plan, and goal-setting, to name just a couple.

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