“I just lost my job. Now what”?

Redundancies in mining are on the rise. So how do you score another job if you’ve been in the same role forever? We’ve got you covered with four expert tips.

Workers in the mining industry have had a rough trot of late as softening commodity prices, and a drive by companies to reduce workforce numbers to pre-boom levels, sees the number of job cut announcements increasing.

Over the last few months, major mining companies along with suppliers and logistics service providers have announced their intentions to trim workforce numbers.

BHP Billiton has cut over 500 jobs since the start of the year from across its iron ore and coal mining businesses as the miner works to enforce a productivity drive aimed at ensuring its global competitiveness remains intact.

Mining manufacturer Sandvik has announced it will shut down its Australian manufacturing operations and move them offshore in the next 12 months, shedding 170 jobs as it looks to keep costs under control.

Meanwhile rail operator Aurizon will cut 480 jobs by 2017 as it works to streamline its operating model.

And if the first six months of 2014 wasn’t bad enough, experts are warning to not expect a reprise any time soon.

According to a new report by ANZ, 75 000 mining-related jobs are at risk as Australia enters “phase three” of the mining boom in the coming years.

This follows from phase one which saw a surge in global commodity prices, and phase two that was characterised by the billions of dollars sunk into projects as investment exploded to unprecedented levels.

The ANZ-led research stated that as billions of dollars worth of investment in the sector tapers off and construction gives way to production, resource-related roles around the country face a heavy cull.

Currently the mining industry is estimated to employ around 263 000 people, meaning ANZ is predicting nearly a third of these roles will be slashed.

Director of recruitment company Maddison Collins, Elizabeth Thair said proactive measures are needed to help those going through job losses to determine their career pathways.

“Anyone going through redundancy is facing a number of problems not least being a sense of loss through losing a job that supports a family,” Thair said.

“Dealing with this sense of loss is our first priority so that a person’s confidence and self-belief can be developed going forward.”

Thair said the next step for people dealing with a job loss was a frank self-assessment which aimed to identify skills, abilities, strengths, interests and unique qualities to determine realistic career objectives and the pathways to get there.

“With the current job market flat and hundreds applying for each job vacancy, unless you have an award winning resume, and stand out of the crowd when addressing selection criteria, you will not get an interview,” Thair explained.

She said there are several ways to increase the chance of scoring a new job, both within and outside of the sector.

Do your homework:

Tailor your resume to include career profile, key skills and abilities, and achievements; a cover letter that explains briefly the job you are applying for; and address selection criteria clearly outlining your suitability to the requirements of the prospective employer.

“Job seekers have only 20 seconds at most to make an impression as recruiters are bombarded with hundreds of applications,” Thair explained.

“The selection may even be through a computer generated selection process looking for key words that match the job description. It is for this reason that a clearly written, concise cover letter and selection criteria written with key words taken from the job description may get you to that first interview.”

In many cases, skills learnt in particular specialised roles can be transferred, so highlighting flexibility, accomplishments and performance successes are very important.

Build a personal brand:

Identify your point of difference. Knowing who you are is important in knowing your personal brand.  Questions such as ‘what is your authentic you?’ will help you in determining your brand. 

“Are you kind, respectful, punctual?  Where do you stand out, what are your strengths that make you who you are? ,” Thair asked.

Thair said knowing what you have to offer and promoting these positive traits will help an employer identify if you will fit the company culture.

“Having a personal brand is now just as important as a business brand,” Thair stated.

Create a marketing plan:

Develop strategies for your job search that is built around specific job goals and industry targets.

“A plan is vital to every business and is just as important to the success of a jobseeker,” Thair said.

A marketing plan includes location, industry selection, and employers based on the job description and makes for efficient use of time when looking for a job.   

“The process I use is very much driven by an assessment done at a first meeting where together we have determined a career direction,” Thair said.

 Interview techniques: 

Practice potential interview questions such as “what can you bring to the position?” and “what makes you stand out of the crowd?”

Thair said some people had trouble in shining light on their positive attributes as nerves took over in the interview process.

“I had the privilege of working with Sonny a few weeks ago who came to me for advice on the process for interviews,” Thair explained.

“Sonny originally was working in the mining industry and took voluntary redundancy last year. 

“He stated in an email: “I am unable to portray myself in a manner that reflects what I am capable and able to offer, are you able to help?”    

“I researched the job he had applied for and developed a possible scenario of questions to test him.  Sonny received a list of questions to work on beforehand which we covered in a mock interview.”

While the result of the interview is pending, Thair said it was important for people to feel confident and in control, and effective interview techniques was a major part of the process.

Help a fellow mining sector worker out and share your top job seeking tips below!

What’s the number one thing to remember when applying for jobs?

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