Take a new approach to your job search
The age of the permanent contract, landing a job directly after uni, or the sigh of relief after breezing your way through only one interview before getting hired, now seems like a distant dream. Everything we took for granted, is no longer a reality as the recession continues to tighten its grip on Europe.
Losing a job is a blow for anyone, especially when looking for another job is evermore competitive, with fewer positions out there, getting back into the job market seems like an uphill battle.
Everyday new articles are published across our news networks about the increasing rates of unemployment and it doesn’t seem like it’s showing any sign of slowing down. As the job market becomes an ever increasing stack of CVs and applications we ask, what is the best way to stand out from the crowd?
- What can I do until the situation improves? How can I be at the top of my game in the face of fierce competition? Why have I not been called back after sending out thousands of CVs?
Genia Bozzo, Human Resources Manager and Co-Active Trovit Coach, gives us some tips when looking for a job.
Four steps to give your job search focus:
1. GET TO KNOW YOURSELF!
- Who are you? What do you want from life? Where is your career path leading?
These are the big questions that require time and energy meaning we usually put them off, just skimming the surface without thinking the answers through in depth. This is partly because we take some things for granted or believe they go without saying, for example: “I’m no good at working with the public”, or “I’ll only ever find work in my current field.” Avoiding the reasons behind these issues, in part, may also be because answering them in detail truly requires a journey of self discovery. This means we brush over important subjects without digging too deep, preferring to close that chapter of learning or experience instead of flicking back through and learning from it.
Personal introspection is very important to understand where we are at this point in our lives and where we want to go. We cannot plan a job search without knowing what it is that we really like, who we are and what we want from our future.
You can do this exercise alone, but it is even better if you ask someone for help, to get a different perspective. You can talk to friends, family, former colleagues, a professional coach, career guidance specialist, or even a psychologist. Taking advice from a third party will be useful and will stop you from key-holing yourself, allowing you to look at things from a different angle.
This will put you in a position that will not only give you a clearer idea of the kind of position you want to apply for but also the type of company in which you want to work, whilst also standing you in good stead for the interview. This is particularly important when it comes to answering the usual questions like: what are your strengths and your weaknesses? What are three strengths and three weaknesses you have? Or what do you think of your co-workers or your boss? Doing this preparation before a job interview will help you to transmit, self-confidence, trust and reliability.
If you are already in work, it will allow you to look at other options that may have passed you by in order to focus on your personal development or to make you feel more motivated. In short, you’ll feel more fulfilled because you will be more aware of the work you want to do.
2. MOVE AROUND!
- Where would you like to work?
Identify your ideal sector or position, make a list of companies where you’d like to work. There are websites that can help: for example Great Place to Work. Make sure you are signed-up to professional social networks: LinkedIn, Xing.
Today, many employment agencies and companies, especially in the online sector, link to your profile on one of these networks as an alternative to pulling up your CV . It is important that your profiles are properly updated with your work and professional connections, as more and more professionals are finding work through these channels.
Online and offline networking is very important to get yourself known and the participation in industry conferences, exhibitions and meetings of interest groups increases the chances of your profile getting known around the industry.
There are plenty of tricks of the trade online giving further information and advice about how to network effectively.
When looking for jobs online, fine tune your search criteria on the jobs search engine, Trovit, use the filters on the left-hand side of the page to refine results to opportunities that best fit your profile.
3. BE READY!
A must is having a clear demonstrative record of your previous professional experiences. Prepare a list (without bringing it to the interview, of course!) with specific things you have done well, (and not so well), in previous positions. How did you deal with problems or difficult situations? Have a list of achievements to back up your argument, as this will be important too. Think about what you learnt and how your skills helped you to progress in your career.
Never badmouth your previous job or your bosses or colleagues, always be diplomatic. If they ask you why you want to change jobs, avoid talking about salary, approach it from a professional point of view, i.e. the work being repetitive, the need to grow professionally, start new projects and to implement things learned after training, etc.
4. TRAIN AND KEEP UP TO SPEED!
It is important to be in the loop regarding the latest ins and out of your sector: Read magazines, specialised blogs and follow industry experts on Twitter etc. Internet is the fastest and cheapest way of keeping yourself informed. Be sure to keep an eye out for anything interesting and stay in the know.
And while you’re job hunting … don’t stop there: sign up for training courses, learn languages, invest your time in something you could build on in a professional or even personal capacity.
If you are finding that suitable roles in the UK are few and far between, give some thought to the possibility of throwing yourself into a new challenge abroad and combine professional growth with a unique experience: discover a new country, learn or improve a language, meet people who enrich and inspire you, and have the added bonus of further employability over other candidates when you return.
In our ever more globalized world, language professionals are needed in most positions which will always work in your favour.
Another option for some people is to capitalise on unemployment and entrepreneurship. More and more organizations offer guidance on setting up your own business. This is an option that must be thoroughly thought over, whatever your area. Check out The Beginners’ Guide to Starting a UK Business, that provides simple-to-follow guidance on how to set up from scratch.
Remember, whatever you choose you should always look at and evaluate all possible options. You might surprise yourself!