Go Get Your Career - Yes THAT Career!
Updated: Jun 3
Now you have chosen your dream job or discovered the right career path for you (still not sure what to go for or which way to turn - check out my article 5 Simple Steps to Discover Your New Career) it is time to actually go and get it.
Easier said than done, especially as we are still reeling from the effects of Covid-19 and with the ever-present threat of a 3rd wave hitting.
However, the job market is opening up - one tech company I know of is in the throws of doubling their team this year!
If you are now dipping your toe back into the job hunting water or jumping in headfirst here are my top tips on how best to approach your job search so you getting it right, staying afloat rather than flailing around in desperation.
When my Dad was made redundant he was advised to send out hundreds of cover letters and CVs. So we bought a computer, my Mum learnt how to do a mail merge and I became adept at licking envelopes and sticking stamps (pre-internet days kids!)
It paid off - eventually. It was also a real eye opener into how to direct your efforts a his personalise letters and applications generally elicited a response - not always the one he was after but he received useful feedback and many offers for interviews.
Now, obviously things have changed hugely in the last 25 years but a few rules still apply.
You may begin to roll your eyes a little as you read through but bear with me - often we miss the most simple yet effective tools in our quest to find a job.
So let's start with the obvious one - your CV or resume:
Is your CV up to date?
Does it show you off at your best?
Is it mirroring the type of role which you want to get?
Are using stock phrases or really talking about yourself?
Have you included keywords from the application or job description
I am stating the obvious here but your CV is the first impression that any recruiter or hiring or talent manager has of you - so spend time and effort on it to make positive impact. If you need more help then have a read of my article Make Your CV Stand Out
Now you have nailed your CV you can just copy it onto LinkedIn right? No. No you can't. And just in case you were tempted - hell no!
LinkedIn gets a bit of a bad rep nowadays and it can be a minefield, however, if you think of it as your professional web page you are half way there. A few things to consider:
Make your photo professional and friendly - so no filters, no holiday snaps, no you looking somewhat worse for wear.
Use the Open To Work tool and make sure your 'headline' and 'about me' is explaining to prospective employers what you can do for them.
Ask for and give recommendations - these are similar to references and a good idea is to get them from a wide range of people whom you have worked with.
If you are going to post things or write articles then make sure what you are doing is relevant to the career you are wanting to go into. By creating content, engaging in online conversations and joining groups you are showing an interest, revealing your knowledge and potentially tapping into opportunities.
If you are in need of more guidance then my blog Look Good On LinkedIn is a great starting point.
There are other ways in which to 'boost' your online presence and this will depend, to a certain extent, which industry you are going into.
Without wishing to send you down the proverbial rabbit hole it may be worth exploring online forums and groups which are specifically aligned to your career path. You can tap into these resources of knowledge and begin to build your network in this field.
A quick word on recruiters - you may love 'em or hate 'em but they can be your greatest ally in the job hunting war so be nice to them, make friends, get them on your side and don't lie to them just to get an interview. Be honest, open and friendly - explain what you want and if they are not working out then bid them farewell and move onto another one.
If you can find a specialist recruiter in your industry or the field you are going into as you are looking for quality roles from them - you can do the quantity side through online applications - allow them to bring you the real peach of a job.
Quantity or Quality?
A huge bugbear of so many of my clients is that they are constantly applying and not hearing back so feel that they are getting no-where.
It is the age-old issue of do you go all out and send out CV's and apply to anything and everything or do you really tailor my approach?
This may depend on your financial situation - you may need a job and you may need it now. However, if you can take some time then take it - your efforts will be rewarded.
Personalise each application wherever you can - use keywords, research the company, tell them how you can solve their problems.
Follow up on an application but don't bombard people with messages.
Consider cold applications - if you have a particular company in mind that you really want to work for then find out who is in charge of hiring, put your grown up pants on and ask them how you can be a part of their team.
If you are worried about finances and the time this will take - get a part time 'pay the bills job' so you can stretch your finances and take the time and effort to find the right role for you. This job does not need to feature on your CV
Over 70% of jobs come from someone we know. Go and make friends. If you have them already - well done - now is the time to ask them for help - how can they help? Who do they know who can help you? Who do they know who knows someone who can help you?
Get back in touch with old colleagues, call your cousin, hell - even venture onto Facebook!
There's also a strong argument to join networking groups, however, only do this if they come recommended and if you can try before you buy a subscription. You may find online groups are the way to go initially, especially if they are focused on your desire career field.
LinkedIn can really help here once again as you can search for people doing the job you want to do and ask advise or even if you can shadow them or ask them to mentor you.
I've mentioned mentoring and this may really help you as will seeking advice from someone in the industry or even a careers advisor.
If you think that you may need even more or deeper support then consider what your main issue is - if it's a personal, deep rooted one then consider therapy or coaching with a career and confidence specialist like myself (shameless plug!) to help with any confidence blocks or if you feel that you have tried everything and are still stuck.
The main takeaway here is to be intentional with your search but don't get overwhelmed - consider setting reasonable targets for the amount of tailored applications you send or the amount of people you get in touch with each week.
Don't be a slave to your search - set yourself time limits and fill the rest of your day with other activities such as a course, baking even more banana bread, part time or volunteer work.