Getting Ahead of the Job Pack

Finding a job, especially the ‘right’ job for you, can be almost a full time occupation, particularly in a difficult employment market. So how to you get yourself ahead of the pack to stand a greater chance of success?

The following tips should put you in good stead:

1/ Treat your job search as a campaign – Be clear about your purpose and focused

2/ Develop a targeted plan as you would with any project and build in review dates

3/ Utilise all 4 key job search methods:

Applying to advertised vacancies – Online, via trade journals, newspapers (national, regional, local)

Utilising Recruitment Agencies – Either specialist agencies for your chosen sector or national or local agencies in your high street

Direct Speculative Applications – Targeted applications to companies or organisations who are not currently advertising vacancies (or vacancies that are not of interest to you) that particularly appeal to you based on what they do, their ethos or location.

To stand any chance of success your applications should always be personalised to the Manager in charge of the department or function that is of interest to you. Dear Sir/Madam or speculative applications to unnamed people in HR are highly likely to end up in the bin!

In a downturn, good personalised, targeted applications have a much greater chance of success of getting you to an interview, as employers will be looking to save money on recruitment costs and especially recruitment agency fees.

Personal & Social Networking – This is often the most successful route to market, especially in a downturn, when employers are reluctant to pay agency fees and may even have ‘bounties’ in place to entice staff to introduce friends and known contacts, which could still save them significant money against hefty employment agency fees.

4/ Awareness of you as a product – what you have to offer a potential employer, your value added, USP’s (unique selling points), skills, attributes, attitude, knowledge, experience

5.  Awareness of what you want from a job/employer – your career values and needs

6.  Develop a winning CV and job application approach

7.  Look for the right job that matches your values and skills

8.  Show initiative, research, personalise your applications

9.  Persistence pays – don’t give up

10. Review your strategy as you would with any project plan as no point in firing blanks!

If you want to know more about how to be successful with your job search campaign visit our Career & Personal Development website

How Social Networking Can Help Your Job Search

In these days of web 2.0, online forums and blogging, having an online presence is equally important as offline.

Most of us have heard horror stories about how a person’s online profile wrecked his or her job search or career. However, there are increasing amounts of social networking sites and both candidates and forward thinking employers are now tapping into this new low cost resource.

By getting yourself known on the web, you can develop key contacts, business networks, exchange information with other people either in your field or a different field and advance your career to even find a new job!

What Works

Consistency of your online profile

Take great care with your online profile. The viral nature of social networks means that anything unprofessional on a site, blog or forum could come back to haunt you!

Often recruiters and hiring managers get mixed messages about job candidates based on their online profiles. For example, you might have a LinkedIn profile that portrays you as a driven go-getter with an excellent background in marketing but your Facebook profile portrays you as someone who lives the life of an 80s rock star! Ensure all your online profiles portray the same person i.e. a respectable, professional and high achieving individual.

Choosing Your Social Network

Be selective about the online networks you choose. The demographics vary hugely e.g. Facebook is ideal for those in their early twenties and marketing opportunities but no so ‘cool’ for the 40 plus brigade. For managers and executives LinkedIn is the most respected business networking site but new ones are springing up all the time. Check out the link to this excellent article on how LinkedIn can help your career!

Develop your reputation

You can do this through an effective hard hitting profile, briefly describing your work history, strengths and notable achievements. Write this similar to a typical thirty-second ‘elevator speech’ you may have already prepared about yourself. Also, having interesting and useful comments to add to blogs and forums helps to show your knowledge and expertise on a subject and is likely to get you noticed.

What doesn’t work

Provocative photos

Unless you are looking for work in the ‘glamour’ sector, having near naked photos of you is unlikely to impress a potential employer, unless they have another agenda for recruiting you! It may be great to impress friends on Facebook but you might rue the day you uploaded photos for the eagle eyed recruiters to see.

Derogatory remarks about your employer or boss

Be warned – as with interviews, this is a simple but golden rule i.e. never ;slag off’ an employer or boss, regardless of whether this is your current organisation or in your past career. Your thoughts might be funny to your friends and fellow bloggers but could overshadow all the good work you have done to develop your career and your networking to positively raise your profile.

It may be very tempting but essentially, if you are serious about developing your career, then be totally professional in your social networking to keep your professional image intact.

Follow these simple tips and social networking can open up new career opportunities for you, especially in the current economic climate where employers will be looking to reduce the cost of recruitment.

To find out more about job search strategies visit our Career & Personal Development website