Structuring Your Jobsearch
Let’s start by dispelling 3 common MYTHS about job search:
1. Job hunting is something that can be done in as little time as possible.
No. If you are serious about finding the right job; you will need to take time and be prepared for set-backs along the way. For those looking to get back into the job market we recommend dedicating 2/3 hours of quality time each day during the week.
2. Job hunting is an ad-hoc activity.
Wrong. You need to plan. Identify what market(s) you want to focus on and the sources of opportunities in those market. Be systematic and diligent in your approach to get the best results.
3. You can rely solely on an employment agency to find you a job.
Recruitment agents fulfill a great role but only a small amount of jobs are filled via an agent. At any one time agents are dealing with 100’s of candidates so you need to understand strategies for dealing with recruitment agents so you stand out and make their job easier.
Know yourself and what you want
The first step in any job search is to identify clearly what you want from a job. Be truthful with yourself about what you are good at, what you are not so good at, your values, what you are looking for in a job, what would make you happy and unhappy. This process may take slightly longer than you think and will include practical aspects such as level of pay, location of employer, hours of work, the environment you want to work in etc.
It’s useful to split your requirements into essentials and nice to have’s.
Prepare your key tools
Craft your CV and covering letter and ensure relevant social media profiles are up to date.
Think about a concise statement that best describes your skills and experience, ensure this is compelling and engaging, avoiding stock business phrases which come across as shallow and meaningless. The statement is designed to sell you to potential employers and can be tailored for specific positions to include in a CV summary and / or in your covering letter together with appropriate social media sites.
Identify your target markets
Define the market you are aiming at using criteria such as job type, business sector and business location.
Identify job agencies and job boards best suited to your market together with specialist publications you can read to better understand opportunities available. You will need to research these aspects noting down areas you have identified. If you do not have ready access to the internet remember your local library normally provides internet access at a nominal cost or free of charge.
As your job search progresses you will find further opportunities so be aware this is an ongoing process which builds and develops adding depth to your understanding of the market and opening further opportunities.
Start your job search campaign
Using the information gathered start your campaign.
A great way to structure your approach is to divide your efforts into different activities such as ; recruitment agency contact; job board search ; direct approaches to employers for advertised openings ; speculative approaches to employers ; on-going networking.
Of course there will be cross over and inter-relationships between these categories but this approach enables you to segment the market and deal with opportunities in a structured manner without getting overwhelmed or adopting a shot gun approach. Let’s look at each area in more detail.
• Visit job agencies you have identified. It’s much better to see the recruitment consultant when registering your interest than merely sending in your CV also keep in contact with the agents so you continue to be on their radar. These simple engagement strategies ensure the consultant is more likely to remember you when looking for candidates.
• Regularly review the job boards you have identified and set up email job alerts. If you are searching for a specific job role, in a particular sector and city remember to vary your search criteria so that you see as many opportunities as possible. Even though many opportunities from a wider search will be inappropriate they will provide ideas of different companies, roles or sectors to add to your research and future actions.
• Direct company applications.
Many large organisations advertise their open vacancies on areas of their website dedicated to careers and jobs, these areas sometimes contain online assessment tools and tests. Often registering your details and successfully passing some level of online tests is the initial step in securing an interview. This process calls for little interaction and is very impersonal but is a reality in today’s job market, so do not be put off and persevere.
Other organisations ask you send in your CV and covering letter via email, remember with all opportunities tailor you documents to the position you are applying for. If you are applying using company job portals your details need to be kept up to date, visit these sites regularly as opportunities arise on a regular basis.
If unsuccessful some companies put a time restriction on applying for further positions this may be 3/6 months, keep a note of this and do not be afraid to reapply once the restricted time has come to an end.
If you have identified organisations and there are no open positions advertised do not be afraid to make a speculative application. Why not pick up the telephone and call them before you send in your details or where appropriate pop in and drop off your details. In reality a great number of companies carry out initial contact via the internet therefore gauge your initial contact carefully.
This is not difficult it just needs organisation and planning. Networking is as simple as contacting people to let them know what you are looking for work. It may range from conversations with friends, parents at the school gates, neighbours, ex school friends, ex colleagues through to meetings at local business events, courses etc. Not all these conversations will result in immediate opportunities but if carried out correctly they will bear fruit in time.
The other side of networking is via social media. Ensure that you have invested time into creating the right profile on social media sites. LinkedIn is a great site for those looking for work in professional sectors and is designed to facilitate online networking, join relevant group / forums and contribute. Remember you get out what you put in.
• Follow up / diary / organisation.
A key rule in the job search campaign is follow up in an appropriate timescale on contacts you have established. You do not want to harass people however be prepared to get in contact again, you want to be front of mind if an opportunity arises.
We always recommend clients to maintain details of contacts made and when they spoke noting the key points of the conversation. This provides a great basis for structuring ongoing work on your campaign.
Prioritise applications by closing date and by best fit to your skill base.
• Your behaviour and approach
The job search can be both a lonely and confidence sapping process. An old adage in recruitment is “it’s a numbers game” and unfortunately this is true. You need to put in the work, be resilient and believe in yourself. This is easier to said than done when you are receiving rejections, job clubs are a great opportunity to get support throughout this process.
Remember an employer wants to see a positive can do attitude so remember the rejections are not personal and with focus, effort, perseverance and the right attitude you will find the right job.
Guest post from JobClub@N21
JobClub@N21 was formed in 2014 to fulfill the needs of job seekers & employers, we are based in North London.
We support and coach people returning back to work, finding their first job or looking to change jobs. We also work with students on career counseling. Our approach is based on providing support and mentoring either on a personal or group basis. We are run by volunteers with years of experience in the recruitment market and senior management roles. We all want to give something back to the wider community and although our services are free of charge we do not compromise on quality.