Standing Out in a Job Short Market

Standing Out in a Job Short Market
October 13, 2020 Ian Richardson

Securing a role in construction right now is hard. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard.

This last financial year has seen the market swing from being an employee’s market to an employer’s market. And while we’ve been erring at the edge of this swing for a while, the uncertainty caused by the COVID pandemic really cemented it.

So, what does this mean for your job hunt?

It means, if you’re looking for work right now you need to think, more than ever before, about how you’re going to stand out in the rising sea of applications we’re receiving.

The biggest hurdle you’re going to face is getting your foot in the door.

Start by making sure your resume is optimised for the role you’re applying for.

Resume optimisation is always important when job hunting. We can spot a generic one from a mile away, but it holds even more weight in the current market.

Address the criteria and get your important information on the first page of your resume.

You want to make sure it’s not missed when the person that’s hiring scans it.

    • Why have you applied for the role?
    • What are your qualifications?
    • What companies have you worked for and for how long?
    • What projects have you worked on? (Highlight those projects most relevant to the role you’re applying for).
    • Any specific achievements on those projects? (Provide quantifiable examples).

We receive a lot of resumes that are just a chronology of what a person’s done in their career. In a competitive employment market, this does nothing to help you stand out.

I want to know what makes you a better candidate than the next. So, focus less on telling me about the tasks and responsibilities of your role, these are generally the same for everyone.

Next, re-read your resume and check your grammar and spelling as well as looking for any language that isn’t open or might disqualify you.

In the current market, it’s common for us to end up with 10-20 resumes from perfectly suited candidates when advertising a role. The client isn’t looking to hire 10-20 people, so we look for this stuff to help us narrow the list down.

Remove anything from your resume that would give people a reason not to call you. And always follow up your application with a phone call or email. It helps to put you in front of the queue.

Use a variety of strategies in your job search.

This includes reaching out to your professional network.

Coming to a business from a referral is powerful. A good opinion of someone holds a lot of weight in a business. Just like a good review does when you’re looking at buying a new product or service.

It helps to remove an element of risk from the process for the ‘buyer’.

So, if you have a trusted professional network, get in contact with them and let them know you’re looking – this includes recruiters.

Do you have a recruiter you trust? If you do, speak to them about your job hunt and work with them exclusively.

Exclusivity buys commitment.

And if you don’t have a trusted recruiter yet, I suggest you start building that relationship.

Lastly, it’s an employer’s market right now, acknowledge that it is.

There will be times, later on, to make salary gains or be particularly selective about your employer or career progression. Unfortunately, in the construction industry, now is not that time.

When it’s a normal market, it’s all about you and what you want – it’s not like that right now. Make sure you lean into that in the application process. You will need to be open-minded.


Looking for your next construction job? Search our current construction roles here, or to chat to our team about securing your next opportunity, get in contact with us through our Contact Us page.

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