Here are some steps you can take to make the most of your job search.
You give yourself a much better chance of success if you customise both your CV and cover letter to each role. This might seem like an arduous process, but put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. They don’t want someone who simply wants a job. They want someone who wants to work for them.
Show that you’ve thought long and hard about the role and where you see yourself fitting in. Match your experience up with what’s on the job description, and relate your achievements to the types of things they are looking for.
Nobody wants to feel like they're on the receiving end of a generic copy and paste application, so taking that extra bit of time could be the difference between getting the job you want, and just being another CV on the system.
There’s many reasons for this. In the current job market, with competition high, it makes sense to not tie yourself into a very specific niche. Alternatively, you may find that the usual job openings aren’t coming up as much as before.
Either way, being broad with your job search will allow you to access more opportunities, while also giving you a chance to grow further. If you’re doing this, it’s important that you showcase any transferable skills you have. Speak to a recruiter if you’re unsure about what these may be – everybody has transferable skills which can be applied to a number of roles.
One of the first things recruiters and hiring managers do is look at candidates’ online presence. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date with your skills and experience, and shows you in the best possible light. It’s about creating an online brand as well - are you publishing interesting, industry-specific posts and contributing to discussions? This can help position you as a trusted voice in your area of expertise.
Also sanity check other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and get rid of any posts which may not reflect who you are now or how you want to be presented.
Upload your CV to job boards and recruitment sites so that you can be easily found. While the most popular job boards are well-known, be selective with the recruitment agencies you register with. They should be specialists in your area and have a trusted reputation with businesses and candidates alike.
It’s also worth setting up alerts on LinkedIn and recruitment sites, so you are at the front of the queue when new jobs are posted. This is a highly competitive time to be job-seeking, and the last thing you want is to find a role that seems perfect but has closed.
If you get an interview, make sure you’ve done your research. A lot of information is out there about companies - whether it’s previous projects they’ve worked on, clients they have, or financial information. Also look up your interviewer on platforms like LinkedIn - asking a casual question about something they’ve done in the past will go a long way to showing how well you’ve prepared.
Some companies may ask you to do some sort of test during the recruitment process. Give this your full attention and treat it with the same importance as an interview.
An interview should never be one-sided. You should also be asking plenty of questions. It shows your ambition and how seriously you’re taking the process.
Questions related to personal development, or upcoming projects you and your team will be working on, are really good to ask. Also remember to ask about the culture within the company - the last thing you want is to start a role and then realise it’s not the right fit for you.
Feedback at every stage of the process is crucial. For example, you can ask recruiters if they have any tips on your CV and cover letter - they are experts in this area, so it makes sense to get their opinion. Likewise, they can give you advice on interview techniques. You can also speak to friends who work in the industry.
If you have an interview but don’t get through, make sure you still get feedback from the hiring manager. Either ask for this directly or go through your recruiter - it’s important to know why you didn’t get the job or areas you may need to brush up on.
Whether your interview is online or in person, being positive and acting like you want to be there is crucial. Don’t appear downbeat or disengaged - this can easily be picked up, even in the age of Zoom interviews. The more enthusiastic you are with your tone of voice and body language, the more this will filter through to the interviewer.
There may be many reasons why you didn’t get the job, even if you thought you were perfect for the role. Stay motivated and work with your recruiter to search for another vacancy.
Try not to blame others for not getting the job or things that were out of your control. Use each rejection as a learning curve to make you better for the next time. Remember - success is a journey, not a destination.
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