Get a Job

How many times have you heard it?

The things I hate most of all ….

  • Buying a car
  • Selling a house
  • Moving
  • Renovating

…. and yes, looking for a job

The queue is long. The competition is great. The task is onerous. On the plus side the reward is great when you find that “right” role for you. You need all the help you can get, and unfortunately all the advice you will get is mostly subjective.

There are many questions and almost as many answers and
the following commentary should be taken as “just one opinion”.

However it is based on several decades of being on the receiving end of thousands of applications.

Should I ……?

  • Include significant detail on my resume?
  • Include a photo?
  • State my age?
  • Be creative?
  • Attach a covering letter?
  • Be aggressive?
  • Request an appointment?
  • Provide referees?
  • Direct my resume content to the job description?
  • Be positive?
  • Accept a decision when it comes?

There is nothing wrong with the desire to provide accurate detail. However it is worthwhile placing yourself for a moment in the position of the person at the other end. 16 page emails (yes we do get them), say a lot about the person sending them. Or appear to. You may simply be trying to achieve the best possible result. However your potential boss, or recruiter, is very likely trying to decipher the credibility of up to 200 resumes, and to be brutal the fact that you are responsible for “ensuring effective client communication” or “achieving maximum productivity” may not be all that important.

We regularly receive impressive resumes from both very senior executives, and management at all levels that take up 2/3 pages. They can be very quickly assessed for relevance, and generally speaking, all the important points relative to the application jump off the page. The first task is to get your application on the “maybe” pile. And 2/4 good pages is all it takes.

A Photo??

Yes … in my opinion. It very effectively communicates a lot of things fundamental to the decision making process that a resume does not. But please men no sunglasses or gold chains.


So many people tell us that their advice has been to avoid an age declaration.

Remember your age is relevant. Many employers are attracted to experience. Many are seeking a younger person to fit into a productive cultural mix. Whatever the reason stating your age makes their job very easy, and that has to be your objective. The alternative is wading through your education dates, times relative to job history, etc., in order to work it out. You would be amazed at the lengths people go to in order to conceal their age. And it is both obvious, and annoying.

Be Creative?

Yes …. to a point. Creativity says many things. The opportunity is important to you. You are creative. You are keen to make a good impression. However don’t lose track of the fact that simple is also good ….. and desirable. So the perfect storm is creative and simple …… with a photo.

A Covering

Not for me. Include the information in your resume.

Be Aggressive?

Yes follow up regularly. Unless directed otherwise. “Can I come and see you” is generally not a good idea, unless of course you have had some indication that the recipient of your information is prepared to see you. Calling to confirm that they have your information is acceptable, but avoid then taking the opportunity to tell them all about yourself. Again, it’s in the application. And you have to accept that if your resume doesn’t do it for you, you are probably not going to succeed. Remember they may have up to 250/300 applications and 300 lots of “do you have 5 minutes” is time they just do not have.


Referees are an important part of the recruitment process, and that’s worth remembering on two fronts. First you must have them available. Second you don’t really want them involved (for their sake) until you have at least reached a point of reasonable consideration for the role.

Direct your
resume to
the job

Most resumes include a significant variety of skills and experience. For instance It is certainly not uncommon for someone to have a high level of experience in things such as business development, operations, and finance. If for instance you are responding to a Business Development role, make sure that those qualities are front and centre, in both your commentary and detail. Others will, and if you don’t, you will carry some unnecessary baggage into the process.

Be Positive

This may sound silly. Why wouldn’t you be positive, when you really want the job? But it would surprise you to know how many people aren’t. An interview is a chance to tell your potential employer what you can do and how well you can do it. If you don’t, nobody will do it on your behalf. There is a big difference between being positive and being arrogant. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet. Just make sure you can support it with valid information and a little humility.

And whilst on this subject, to use a good Australian colloquialism, don’t bag everyone in your past. Nobody wants to know that your path to the top has been greatly inhibited by others who have failed to recognise your genius!

Accept a
decision when
it comes

To do otherwise is akin to trying to convince a referee that the penalty shouldn’t have been awarded. There’s no chance they’re going to change their mind, and neither will your prospective employer. To try and convince them otherwise will almost certainly mean that your chance of being considered for a future opportunity will certainly be diminished, if not decapitated. A little grace and acceptance can go a long way.

There is no doubt that job seeking is up there with the worst ways to spend one’s time. One way to improve it is to do a lot of little things better.

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