How To Conduct A Successful Job Search
Starting a job search can often be a daunting experience, after all where do you start and which sources of information should you use? This article aims to examine in detail the elements of a successful job search, drawing upon my experience as a recruiter over a number of years.
Step 1. Objective Setting
It is impossible to decide whether something has been successful unless you define some basic objective in the first instance. Think about some of the following:
a) Are you looking for an identical job in a different company?
b) Are you looking for a career change into a specific industry?
c) Or are you still undecided about what job you want, but intend to cast the net as wide as possible and see what happens?
Once you have clarified your job search goals this will influence what you expect to gain at the end of the process.
Step 2. Update your Resume
Some people get steps 1 and 2 in the wrong order in their haste to find employment. They update their resume and then start thinking about what job they would like to search for. Remember your resume provides a snapshot of your skills and abilities but you should always tailor it to the type of job you are applying for. Don’t just submit the same resume for multiple jobs. Take time to emphasise particular skills in your resume that may appeal more to some employers than others.
3. Dress to impress
Go out and buy a good interview suit, even if you don’t normally wear one. Looking smart and presentable to any prospective employer is essential as it communicates respect and attention to detail. Getting your interview attire ready before you commence your actual job search will ensure that you are ready to respond immediately if an employer asks you to attend an interview at short notice. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to buy smart clothing on the day of an interview.
Tip: Go for dark colors, like blue, navy or black for interview clothing and always stick to a plain white shirt or blouse. These colors are quite neutral and smart and are unlikely to be off putting to a prospective employer.
4. Newspaper Media
The traditional way to search for a new job is by combing through newspapers or specialist magazines to find suitable vacancies. These media types can be very useful. Newspaper advertising provides a good overview of local vacancies whilst specialist magazines offer opportunities within a particular industry like social working, engineering , aerospace etc.
These should definitely be an essential element of a successful job search but their major drawback is that you often have to shift through lots of irrelevant vacancies until you find something suitable.
5. Internet Job Search
The internet is by far the most effective media for searching for job opportunities, as most company websites or specialist job search sites are regularly updated, offer instant access to potential employers and are highly interactive.
Specialist online job search sites like http://www.monster.com, one of the market leaders are even better.
Features include the ability to upload your resume directly onto the site so that thousands of potential employers can view it directly and email alerts which trigger an email to be sent directly to your email inbox if suitable jobs that match your criteria are posted on the site. Online job search sites like these offer flexibility, speed and the ability to narrow down your search options if there is just too much information to go through.
These sites are an essential element to your job search and I would highly recommend monster.com who host some of the largest online selection of jobs covering virtually every industry and specialism.
These sites are free for job hunters to use, as monster charge the companies fees for advertising on the site.
6. Register with an employment agency
Employment agencies don’t always have the best reputations but there are some really excellent agencies out there and they can add some real value to your job search. Having worked for a recruitment agency for a number of years here are some of the benefits they can bring to your job search:
a) Objective Critique of your resume
Whilst we all like to believe that we have written an excellent resume, a good employment agency will sit down with you and go through it in detail, suggesting improvements along the way.
b) Agencies know companies better than you
Employment agencies really do know what their client companies want and can provide you with invaluable information or interview coaching regarding what skills you should be emphasising.
c) Agencies have good links to companies
It’s sad to say but sometimes if you apply directly to a company your resume can go to the bottom of the queue, but agencies can speed the feedback process up by acting as a representative on your behalf.
Most employment agencies are commission based and it’s in their interest to get the fastest feedback possible after your resume has been submitted to a company. As a result they are likely to have developed good channels of communication with hiring managers and will be actively promoting your skills to key decision makers in the company.
Tip: Ask around for a recommendation of a good agency, that way you’ll quickly discover who which can add value to your job search.
Networking is one of the oldest and most effective forms of job hunting available and yet it is also one of the least utilised. So before you scour the internet for a new job or flick through magazine advertisements here are a few thoughts about the power of networking in the job search process.
7. Personal Recommendation
This is a powerful weapon in your job hunting armoury because friends, family or colleagues are more often the best sources of information for finding job vacancies. How many of your colleagues have been for job interviews recently? It’s worth asking around because if they have similar skills to you then it’s likely that the jobs they have applied for will also be of direct relevance to you. Why wade through hundreds of jobs elsewhere if you can apply for one or two that have been personal recommended to you and that are a good match already. In addition if you apply to a company where you already know someone who works there, they can put in a good word for you.
A colleague of mine once recruited five skilled IT consultants without once having to advertise. The first person he called told a friend and so on until all five had applied for five available jobs and where successful. This can be much better for you as you are likely to end up working alongside people you know and are comfortable with, leading to increased levels of job satisfaction. So ask around before you spend time actively job hunting, because personal recommendation is a power networking tool in job search.
Bypass official Channels
Networking allows you to get a head start in the job search process. Once a job is advertised the chances of you being a successful applicant reduce, but if you are recommended by a friend or already have a social/professional relationship with the hiring manager you can get a head start. Whilst company’s don’t admit it they will speed up the interview process of a particular candidate if they come through from a recommendation. Better still the company may not have to advertise the job if another colleague mentions your credentials before a vacancy is officially made public, saving them time and money.
Improved knowledge of the job requirements
If you are applying for a job at a company where you already have friends, family or clients then this will improve your understanding of what the job requires and boost your chances at interview. Demonstrating to a prospective employer that you have intimate knowledge of their business or industry is a powerful tool and you will stand out more distinctively than another candidate who has a lesser understanding.
Inside information on the assessment process.
The key to making it through the assessment process is understanding what is required of you. Increasingly companies are turning to assessment centres which are set up to test various technical, interpersonal and knowledge based skills. Networking is an ideal means of obtaining information about what you can expect to face, whilst you won’t be able to find out the specifics of the tests involved, asking others who have completed these assessments can help you understand what you will be tested on. This can be really helpful as it gives you the opportunity to prepare yourself properly for the assessment to give you a solid start.