Looking for a new job and feeling overwhelmed? Not sure where to start?
There is no escaping the fact that the job market is competitive. Trying a new approach might be just the advantage you need against other candidates.
In this article, we look at 10 such approaches to consider.
1. Be Strategic When Searching for a Job Online
Don’t prioritise speed over all other considerations. It may be tempting to fire off as many applications as possible, but you will land a role faster with a strategic approach.
Dedicate some time to considering what you are looking for and be realistic with your ambition. Aim high but not out of reach.
Research companies and job roles in your chosen field (LinkedIn is very helpful for this) and use this information to tailor your search. Make sure to sign up to alerts on job boards for both companies and roles, as well as broader job fields.
2. Go Beyond the Usual Online Job Sites and Big Recruiters
Once you’ve registered details and made enquiries with recruiters and more generic job websites, think more specifically about your job field or position.
Do they have industry-specific forums or publications with job boards? Websites like Mumsnet and sectors like the NHS have their own job boards, as do magazines. Many independent recruiters send out job alert emails that can be worth signing up to as well.
LinkedIn is a key recruiting platform; also consider Facebook groups in your chosen field. Follow your target companies on their social media platforms as they often post about new opportunities.
Don’t forget to also use your network of friends and family. Lots of companies offer staff referral incentives, so don’t be shy of letting people know you’re looking for a new role.
3. Consider Other Locations and Part-Time Work
When looking for work, think about where potential opportunities might be situated. Could another location fit?
Are you able to be flexible about taking on part-time, evening or weekend work to gain experience, or add to the money you earn each week?
4. Take a Proper Look at Your Skill Set
Use this analysis in two ways:
- To identify where your skills can add value to companies.
- To identify any weaknesses or gaps and address these with online training, volunteer work or job shadowing, to gain experience and enhance your CV.
Also, knowing your weaknesses and how to reframe them as positives is key interview preparation that you should spend time on.
5. Spend More Time on Fewer Applications
You might think a guide to how to find a job quickly would suggest as many applications as possible. But you are more likely to find success with targeted and considered applications than a scattergun approach.
Organise yourself so that you are clear about the order in which you should be completing applications and which ones take priority. Don’t miss the application deadlines and also don’t wait until the last day to apply.
Many companies will interview candidates as they receive the applications and close the process once they have filled the role.
A spreadsheet or list of companies, roles, recruiting manager and the deadline/requirements will help you decide which to apply for first – and then serves as a guide for interview prep once they’ve received your application.
6. Make Sure Your CV Is Ready From an Employer’s Perspective
Look at our guide to CV writing and consider how you can sell your skills for the job you are applying for.
Ask a friend to look over your draft CV to pick up any mistakes, and also to feed back on how relevant your experience for the specific role in question is – and what evidence you’ve included to back that up. Don’t just say you are good at selling; demonstrate that with examples. Include numbers if you can.
Remember, you don’t need to include every job you have ever done, just the ones that are relevant. Likewise, you are not restricted to including only paid work – include relevant internships and volunteer work.
A CV should be a constant work in progress, being amended, adapted and updated to suit each application individually. It is never a finished document.
7. Tailor Your Covering Letter to the Job Role
A cut-and-paste is not going to be enough. The covering note will be the first thing the recruiter or employer sees, and they will be experienced at weeding out those applying without consideration.
Look at how many characters or words you have; maximise your impact with positivity and genuine interest in the company you are applying to.
Back up your claims with examples that steer the reader into wanting to find out more about you.
8. Maximise Your Social Media Channels
Employers and recruiters look at social media profiles. Make sure your profile photos and privacy settings are appropriate and consider what you are putting in the public domain.
Using social media platforms can be a way to demonstrate interest and skill, which will be relevant for some roles. Whatever your application, following the companies that you are interested in working for and engaging with their content can set you apart from the other candidates.
Make sure that you have a LinkedIn presence and follow key groups in your chosen field, including industry magazines. Only add appropriate contacts that you know.
Recruiters often make approaches on LinkedIn, so if you are out of work and looking for a new role, make that clear on your profile. Check your LinkedIn messages regularly. Our guide to writing your LinkedIn profile is here.
9. Think About the Details
There are so many things to keep in mind when job searching. Create a checklist of things to remember, include or do for each application and interview, including a copy of your application, names of relevant people as well as details and timings of interviews.
Research the people conducting the interview. Read any publications or content that they or the company have linked to on social media recently, look at any press coverage related to that field or sector, and prepare questions in advance to ask at interview. You don’t have to ask them all, but it helps to think ahead.
Rehearse out loud your answers to key questions, such as describing yourself and your ambitions, so that you can talk without lots of pauses.
Think about body language and tone of voice so that you project a confident version of yourself. Practice speaking without fiddling with your hair, cuffs or accessories.
10. Approach Things Differently
Earning money quickly could also involve setting up your own project or business. Instead of applying for traditional roles, consider embracing your entrepreneurial spirit or identifying skills which you have that businesses might need, but not be actively recruiting for.
Joining networking groups and setting up meetings with relevant companies could lead to freelance work, project work or even a full-time role in due course.
Keep open-minded about what successful work looks like – some jobs with anti-social hours can pay more, leaving you time to be with children or fulfil other caring responsibilities.
Consider joining a temping agency, as permanent opportunities often come up through temping without being advertised. You will have to balance this with the knowledge that many temporary jobs are low-paid and involve repetitive office work.
Even this kind of exposure to a variety of offices will teach you valuable skills, and can help you narrow down what type of work you are seeking.
You may also wish to consider internships or voluntary work, to gain experience or make contacts in your desired industry. If you choose this avenue, make sure you know your basic employment rights.
As well as the tips above, consider also:
- To keep going. At times, job searching can feel insurmountable. Continue searching and applying for roles even when you’re waiting to hear back from other applications. Think of your working hours starting now, not when you actually start paid work.
- To learn from and forgive yourself for past mistakes. If you missed an application deadline or made a grammatical error on a document, implement a better system of checks for the next application. Once you’ve had an interview, reflect on what went well and what you could work on for the next one.
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