How to find a job
“Looking for work without planning is like going to the supermarket without a list.”
So you’ve decided that now is the time to make a career change but you’re not sure about what job you want to do and how did you even begin the job search process?
A career change or new job can be a daunting experience from the initial job search all the way up to your first day in the role but with the correct planning and preparation it can be a straightforward exercise.
We appreciate that it is difficult to juggle your current job as well as multiple applications, phone calls, interviews and email conversations but don’t worry as we have put together a brief guide utilizing a variety of strategies to get started.
1. Planning your job search
Decide what you want to do
In order to achieve job hunting success the first step is to assess your key skillset and talents – thinking about what motivates you in the workplace and what you enjoyed most in your previous jobs. Also consider what you disliked and make notes of these for a comparison.
Throughout your life you’ll spend a lot of time at work so wouldn’t it make sense to do something that you enjoy?
Identifying your ideal position
Job satisfaction and happiness are extremely important so it’s vital that your core values align with your new role.
There is no one size fits all so you must spend time thinking about this as core values are different for each person.
Your values will also change over time for example a young professional may rank living in a big, vibrant city the most important factor but later in life this may change to living closer to family or flexible working so they can spend more time with family.
Do you need to explore additional training and development in order to reach your goals?
Consider what factors are important to you from the list below:
- Industry type
- Working environment/conditions
- Employee benefits e.g. pension scheme, parking, staff canteen
- Location – close to family, living in a big city etc.
- Career prospects
- Flexible working opportunities
- Training and development
- Company reputation/size
- Work life balance
- Autonomy/independent working
Update your CV
It is essential that you update your CV according to the job you’re applying for – this means the skills and experience should directly match up to the job description demonstrating you’re the right person for the role.
Remember you are selling yourself and therefore you need to stand out from the crowd. For more information about writing the perfect CV, check out our guide here.
After you’ve decided what kind of job you’re aiming for, it may be necessary for you to gain additional experience in the form of internships, volunteering, work placements or work shadowing.
These opportunities will give you in-depth knowledge and experience of the job responsibilities to increase your employability. Also in some instances it is possible to land a job off the back of making key contacts from the placements.
2. Job searching
Nowadays there are countless places to search for jobs. We recommend using a variety of sources as different industries approach their recruitment in different ways.
Here is a list of the main sources for job opportunities:
- Local newspapers
- GOV.UK's Find a Job service
- Friends and family
- Sector-specific websites
- Speculative applications
- University careers and employment services
Don’t apply for everything
Stay away from the scattergun approach that some candidates fall into, as it may seem at first that you are making progress in the job search only for you to be disheartened when you don’t receive any follow up interviews.
Instead try and focus on a smaller amount of targeted, detailed and well considered applications which will increase your employability chances tenfold.
It is certainly worth spending a considerable amount of time creating a job search strategy as this will keep you focused and allow you to track the progress of your overall job search.
Creating an excel spreadsheet of all your on-going job applications including when you submitted the application, what documents were submitted and any other important factors in the process is a simple and effective way to keep track of your applications.
Schedule your day
Think about what is your most productive period of the day – is it in the mornings or evenings? You can then use this to your advantage structuring your day around this particular time to ensure you’re getting the most out of your job search.
Also make sure you have a good diary/calendar system set up which will allow you to plan your daily routine and also to keep track of activities and reminders.
Follow up with your application
Before contacting the employer for an update on your application make sure that you have checked the job posting for any key dates mentioned such as the closing date.
You don’t want to follow up before that date as this will come across as if you haven’t taken the time to read their recruitment process. If no date is given we recommend waiting at least a week or two before making contact for an update.
If possible try and follow up directly with the hiring manager and also check what method they are contactable – in some cases the employer can ask not to call or email so it’s better to check beforehand.
3. Next steps
Now that you’ve found that perfect role and secured an interview, it’s time to explore how to best prepare for an interview.
We never get a second chance to make a first impression so it’s absolutely vital that you prepare in advance of an interview to increases your chances of success. Check out our interview preparation guide (click here)
Job hunting tips:
- Set up email alerts on job boards and sign up to recruitment agency newsletters to be informed of new vacancy opportunities.
- Ensure that all of your job application materials such as CV, cover letters, contact details and personal information are easily accessible across all of your devices. This will make it simple and straightforward to share them.
- Keep a positive mental attitude and don’t feel disheartened if you’re unsuccessful at any stage of the interview. Just make sure to reach and ask for feedback to find out how you can improve for future interviews.
- Take the initiative be proactive – will reflect positively to potential employers. Examples of this could be undertaking research about the company, industry and role as well as following up on your application for an update.
We’re experts in recruitment and we’re always on hand to provide any advice or support on the job searching or the wider recruitment process. Please contact us here and speak to one of our consultants.