Here we are in 2015 and it’s the usual time for people to make a fresh start or plan their goals for the year ahead (Lose weight, quit smoking, improve fitness, look for a new job or change career – all the usual suspects!!). January is also a time for predictions – a time to make some educated assumptions of what the job market is going to look like for the year ahead.
In 2014 the most popular industries that experienced a good flow of vacancies and candidates were Administration, Customer Services and Retail. According to the CIPD report “Labour Market Predictions for 2015” economic growth of around 2.4% is expected in 2015, that’s actually slightly lower than in 2014 however, employment is expected to grow by half a million. This expected growth basically translates into more people being employed than unemployed.
What will remain the same for a few years yet is the level of competition in the job market. Employers will still be seeking to hire the highest calibre talent (the best candidates) for their budget and continue to demand long wish lists (experience, skills and knowledge).
Here’s a few tips to kick start your 2015 job search:
It’s good to talk – it’s even better to network! Networking needs to remain a high priority in your job search strategy. These days it can be equally beneficial to network on-line (social media) and off line (in person). However, it’s important to get the balance right. You need to network with relevant people and businesses to use your precious time wisely and you need to factor in time to regularly maintain these relationships.
If you are networking in person make sure you are prepared before you attend a meeting, workshop or conference. You could have the traditional “elevator speech” prepared just in case the opportunity arises to let the person know who you are and what you do. It’s also well worth looking at the participants list (if available) as you can do your homework before attending and connect only with relevant people on the day.
If you are networking with people you don’t know very well you’ll need to put in some time and effort before asking for any “favours”. “Givers gain” is a well known slogan for the BNI business networking organisation and for me it sums up what building relationships is all about. Networking should be about building mutually beneficial relationships.
2. Social Media
It’s here to stay – so it’s best you join the millions of other candidates using social media tools to enhance your job search. Maximise your business profiles to good effect and read up on the latest tips and techniques. For example, there’s no excuse these days for not having a photo on your LinkedIn profile – but do keep it professional.
I’ve seen lots of wedding photos or holiday snaps on LinkedIn and it’s just not appropriate if you are seeking a job in a corporate environment – leave those personal photos for your Facebook profile.
Remember hiring managers, recruiters and consultants are likely to link with you and the first thing they see is your photo. LinkedIn is often used prior to an interview and it’s that person’s first impression of you as a professional.
3. Search techniques
Consider using a variety of different methods to search for a new job. It’s easy to go straight to the major job boards (Monster, eFinancial Careers, Total Jobs, Reed or Indeed etc.) and yes these certainly should feature in most job search plans because they will have a high percentage of vacancies advertised.
However, not all companies advertise on these high street job boards and it’s sometimes better to keep focused on the companies you would like to work for and view their career page on their website.
The larger companies will most probably use an applicant tracking system and you’ll be able to set up job alerts to make sure you don’t miss out on new vacancies posted on their website. Try to find out the recruiter name and build a relationship with them to keep your name in the forefront of their mind – don’t be a pest though!
4. Taking responsibility
It’s a real commitment looking for a job and it can be very time consuming particularly if you are like me and you want to tailor every application to fit the job and you want to keep detailed records.
It’s not enough to contact or register with a recruitment agency for example and then think its job done. Unless your skills and knowledge are highly in demand or very difficult to recruit then you are likely to be forgotten very quickly after registration if you don’t spend the time maintaining that relationship and keeping your name in the forefront of that recruiters mind.
It’s harsh but unfortunately, recruitment agents are meeting lots of candidates and talking to clients every single hour of every day. That’s why you have got to take total responsibility for your job search.
5. Key words on applications
For those in jobs the workloads continue to remain incredibly high. Recruiters in particular are extremely busy especially at this time of year. It’s been said before that recruiters simply don’t have the time to read volumes of information or read every single word on your cover letter or CV and they certainly don’t have time to hunt for hidden pieces of information – so you must present information very well – keep it short, concise and punchy.
One of the main jobs for a recruiter is to source the right candidates with the right skills – they do this by searching their own databases, searching on LinkedIn or other CV databases etc. Gone are the days when a recruiter simply posted an advert and waited for the applications to arrive, screen CVs and put suitable candidates forward to the client.
Recruiters need to be much more proactive and conduct all sorts of searches (x-ray, Boolean and headhunting techniques). To find the very best match and fit to the job requirements they will search using key words – so make sure you are using the latest words to describe your experience, skills and knowledge. Do not assume these days that your job title will explain everything you do and everything you are capable of doing – recruiters will not find you or your CV even if you are on their database.
6. Tailor your CV
It’s always important to keep your CV (and social media profiles) up to date. If you are getting lots of invites to interview then you can be assured your cover letters, CV or application forms are doing exactly what they were designed to do.
However, if the problem is not being invited to interview then it really is time to review the way you are presenting yourself on paper. We live in a fast paced world and it’s easy to get into the mindset that job applications are a quick click of a button and job done!
A business associate of mine has perfected the art (and skill) of completing job applications. He’ll first print off the form and read through thoroughly, then he’ll go back and review the original job advert and if possible the job description. He then matches his experience, skills and knowledge to the requirements of the job and drafts his response. It is well worth spending a bit more time at this stage as it will pay off later in the process.
You may well be thinking research happens when you get invited to interview. This is not the right attitude. Obviously you need to spend your time wisely – you don’t want to do loads and loads of research and preparation on each job application otherwise applying for jobs will be a full time job and soon become a real chore!!
You do still need to do some top level research though to include the reasons for being attracted to the company and your reasons for applying to the job advertised. Last year was all about standing out from the crowds of candidates – this year will be just as competitive if not more so because those employees (previously not looking for a job) who have been in the same jobs without promotion, recognise or reward will be out there looking for their next move too.
We’d love to hear your job search and interview stories and what’s worked for you in the past – it just might help someone else looking for their next job!
photo by: groggits