04 Jan 5 Ways to Make Your Job Search Work Harder
If you haven’t yet found the job you want, it’s time to identify what is going wrong and find out what to do about it. Here we outline some of the key missteps and show you how to make your job search work harder for you.
- Get Beyond Job Applications
The exact numbers are sketchy, but it’s widely reported that more than 80% of job applications are filled without ever having been advertised. Whatever the exact figure, it’s a huge number. These jobs are instead filled by headhunters and professional recruiters, via employee or customer referrals or from the organisation’s existing databases. Relying on advertisements is a costly and time-consuming process for organisations, and it’s often a last resort.
So, how can you harness this information and use it to your own advantage?
Research hard. Find the type of organisations or companies you’re interested in and make a target list. Find out as much as you can about each individual organisation (investing your time now can pay dividends later on). For each organisation write a tailored, individual letter directly targeting them with a copy of your CV. It might feel time-consuming, but if you tailor things precisely then this is time well spent.
It’s important you reach the right person within the organisation. So again, do your homework. Call up the reception or HR Department, or search online, to find the name of the most relevant person to write to. LinkedIn’s “companies” pages are a great research tool which you can use for this. If you can find the name of the relevant decision maker rather than an HR person, that’s probably going to have more impact.
- Change The Way You Network
Networking has always been important to career success but now more than ever. The first place you should be networking is online, and you should almost certainly have a presence and be regularly active on LinkedIn. This means updating your contacts, reaching out to key people in your industry or target industry, and ensuring that your own profile is totally up to date.
Keep in mind the fundamental rule of successful networking – give before you get. Be generous with your knowledge and insights, share your time wisely and creatively. Networking is about building successful long-term relationships, not about pulling favours.
If you’re actively looking for a new role and are able to say so, update your LinkedIn profile to communicate your status and outline the sorts of roles you are interested in. End networking interactions by asking people if they have any suggestions of others whom you should be connecting with. This is how you build your contacts further and create great leads.
- Define Your Job Search Strategy
It is important to have a clear objective in mind before you start job hunting. Taking a scattergun approach is a sure-fire way to miss your target (if you even have one). And even if you do get interviews through this approach, how are you going to know if the job offered is going to be the right next move for you if you haven’t figured it out beforehand? You could waste a great deal of time. Or even worse, taking this approach can end in a career misstep which can take years to unravel or recover from.
If ‘finding a job, any job’ is your only defined goal it’s going to be really tough to conduct an effective job search and land your ideal next role. Instead you need to be proactive and focused, ensuring you have your goal firmly in mind. This way you can specifically tailor your CV and job application to your target organisation or role.
This doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to just one potential job. You can have several potential options and career goals, but they do all need to be clearly defined and realistically attainable given your experience and work history. If you are targeting 2 or 3 different types of jobs, ensure that your CV is absolutely tailored for each role.
When you think about your ideal job, consider more than just the job title. Think about the type of organisation it will be in (the size, the culture), the location you would like to work in, your work/life balance, the longer-term potential and future career growth and direction.
- Tailor Your CV
Your CV is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and to get a foot in the interview room door. So it’s worth investing time in it to make it compelling. And in this changing world of work you absolutely have to tailor things to ensure you stand out.
- Don’t Let Things Get Stale
If you have been on the hunt for a little while now, it may be time to reassess things in their entirety. As well as following all the steps above, it’s important that you view the presentation of your CV and LinkedIn profile from the view of a potential recruiter. If for example your LinkedIn summary mentions “Actively looking for a new role” but is dated more than 6 months ago then you might wish to revise it to keep it looking fresh. If you have seemingly been looking for a new role for too long you may start to look less attractive to potential employers who might be wondering why you haven’t yet landed a job. If you can incorporate any consulting work you have been doing, or extra Non-Executive or portfolio work, it’s worth adding that in here. Or if you’ve taken a sabbatical then you should say so. Just take a moment to consider things from a potential employer’s perspective.
You’ve got to work hard to land the job you want. But if you’re aiming for the right job then it shouldn’t feel like work anyway. Good luck!!