Want to make your job searching more targeted, efficient and rewarding? Here’s our how-to guide!
You don’t have to go it alone; recruitment agencies can be the answer to your prayers as long as you are ready for the journey. Like most things in life you need to be prepared as recruitment is a strategic process of people and preparation. Your first step is to identify a recruitment agency that specializes in your area of interest and location. Build up a relationship with them so they understand what you are looking from a career, company and culture.
As a candidate you are now in the driving seat there is so many options and directions you can go, but to ensure longevity and job satisfaction the match needs to be right. To ensure you are matched with the right job and company here are some of our top tips.
1. Are you ready?
Many people rush at a job search and apply for roles they have little interest in or are unlikely to be shortlisted for. Not only will this pretty much guarantee rejection, it will dampen your confidence. Similarly, if you approach agencies with a poor sense of your target job, you are likely to be sidelined. The third biggest mistake is to use up all your best contacts too soon when you’re unclear how they can help. Slow down, take time to look at yourself and your confidence levels; consider how equipped you feel to summarise your strengths.
2. Self Awareness
Before you become a one-person marketing machine, think about what you’re selling. Do you know what you’re looking for? What job titles are relevant to you? Can you list your main skills? Do you have evidence of achievements? Which employers appeal to you and why? Don’t go near busy decision-makers or recruitment agencies until you have answers to all these questions. Self-Awareness is key. Do your research.
3. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!
Before you begin drafting a CV or stumble into interviews, make sure your CV is in tiptop condition. There are many self help guides on line on how to write a winning CV. However some agencies will help you draft a version and give you tips on updating your CV or you can hire a specialist to write it for you. Even this requires time, reflection and preparation. You can draw up a long, unfiltered list of what you’ve done. Go over every part of your experience, which looks like work, including part-time, temporary, unpaid posts and work placements. List every skill you learned and practised, sectors where you have work experience and anything that looks like an achievement then look at volunteering, your studies and activities outside work. Try to gather several pages of material before deciding on the primary message for the lead part of your CV.
4. Market test your CV
Don’t be under the illusion that your recruitment consultant will send out your CV or short list you for certain jobs if your CV is not on point. This is the first impression that any hiring manager will have of you so it needs to be impressive. You may not have an extensive career background or lots of jobs to talk about but your will need to reflect on the strongest areas of your skill set, experience and personality. It’s better to talk to people about your career ideas and gather information than to send out a poorly drafted document, which will close more doors than it opens. You may be secretly pleased with your CV but it’s vital to show it to someone with hiring experience. Ask for a summary rather than an opinion. For example, don’t ask “what do you think of my CV?”, ask “what does my CV tell you about what I can do next?” If the answer is brief and makes sense, your CV is packing the punch its needs to.
5. List and research target organisations
Your recruitment consultant may ask you for examples of the kind of organisations you’re interested in working within. This matters even more if you’re trying to make a career change, you’ll be a much more credible candidate if you’ve researched the sector in-depth and can say something interesting about your career choice.
It’s also smart to identify employers in your local area. Build up a list of six or so target organisations and spend time learning more about them. Try to get closer to them through mutual connections, exploring job boards and generally doing everything you can to pitch yourself as a potential employee.
6. Mock Interviews and feedback
Many jobseekers waste real job interviews as practice sessions. Interviews are hard enough to get; don’t waste them by making basic errors. Spend time with your recruitment consultant, set up some mock interviews, ask them for hints and tips and put their feedback into action. Ask for tips on how you link your experience to the job on offer and how well you handle tricky questions. Practice short, upbeat answers to tricky questions about gaps in your CV or why you’re job seeking right now. Don’t ignore vital job-related topics or the dull but obvious questions, such as ‘tell us about your strengths and weaknesses’.
Now your job search is complete, it’s now time to ACE that interview!
photo by: forair