We caught up with Cathy Riach, Recruitment & Resourcing Manager for BAE Systems Australia to gain her insights into some of the most common recruitment questions with the answers to make your job application stand out.
1 // Tell us a bit about your career path.
Having commenced a psychology degree at Adelaide University, I was becoming increasingly interested in the business aspect of the “people field”. I opted to take a year off study and re-focus my career and I joined Morgan & Banks. The rest they say is history!
I did return to university a year later but I was enjoying the work at Morgan & Banks so much, I decided to study part time and maintain full time employment.
After 11 years with the Morgan & Banks group it was time for a change and I joined BAE Systems in a business based human resources role.
I’m now the company’s national recruitment & resourcing manager and I lead a team who provide the company with end-to-end recruitment, redeployment, outplacement and workforce planning support.
2 // How can applicants make their resume & cover letter really stand out and get noticed?
It is reported that recruiters spend an average of only 6 seconds before they make the initial ‘fit or no fit’ decision. Your resume and cover letter needs to stand out and by stand out – we mean in a good way!
> Use a consistent font – style and size
> Ensure layout is neat and easy to read – don’t underestimate the white space on your documents
> Proof read your resume and cover letter thoroughly
> Make sure your main information is on the front page and limit the length of your resume to no more than approximately 4 pages
> A professional, easy to read resume will be read!
> Keep information relevant and professional
> Be bold about your achievements but don’t lie
> Avoid artistic cover pages … keep it professional
3 // How does one get the experience, without the job?
The age old question! How do you get a job without experience but how do you get experience without a job?! Work experience is my suggestion.
Offer your time for free in your university vacation periods and during other holidays. Not everyone can afford to pay for casual staff but an extra hand might be really useful. If you offer your time for free, you’re more likely to get that valuable work experience and that work experience will be incredibly valuable on your resume. You’ll not only have experience but you’ll also have proven how keen you really are. It will impress potential employers.
4 // How can one best prepare for an interview?
> Research the vacancy and the organisation thoroughly and think about what makes you a good fit for them
> Practice makes perfect; think about the types of questions you may be asked
> Consider your personal grooming and your professional image
> Have a good night’s sleep the night before and plan your time well
First impressions count and only take 3 seconds to form!
5 // What are your top 3 tips for anyone looking for a new job?
> Work out what it is you really want. What are you passionate about? What will you enjoy getting out of bed for every morning? That is then your goal. That has to be the first step
> Treat your job search as a job!
> Dedicate time to developing your resume, your social media profile and your approach Network with people and promote yourself – both in person and online to target opportunities in your goal field
6 // What are some of the top qualities you look for when recruiting for graduate or junior positions?
Firstly we look for a good application that tells us that you are keen, suitable and eager to learn. We also look for people who seem genuinely interested in what we do. If there is a lot of competition, we will look at academic results to help us determine our first shortlist. From there we look at personal qualities such as team work skills, a willingness to learn, a can-do attitude and potential!
7 // What advice would you give anyone looking to have a career in HR?
There are many ways to study HR but if you can, I would recommend that you undertake studies at university. A bachelor of business majoring in human resources is a great grounding.
Look for work experience in a HR department too. Don’t be too fussy about what that is either. Whatever you get to do, it will be great exposure and you can include it on your resume! That unpaid work experience might lead to paid short term work in your university vacation periods. It will all add up when you are in the market for a full time job!
If you are keen to get into a specialist field like recruitment like I did, recruitment agency beginnings are a good start. If you are keen to make the move to an in-house role though be sure to focus on the human resources aspect of your career – not just the business development as many recruitment agencies focus more on the sales then they do on the HR element.
The above has been kindly brought to you by Cathy Riach, Recruitment & Resourcing Manager at BAE Systems Australia.
Cathy joined BAE Systems Australia in June 2011 in a business unit based human resources role. Now the company’s national Recruitment and Resourcing Manager, Cathy leads a team who provide the Australia BAE Systems business with end-to-end recruitment, redeployment, outplacement and workforce planning support.