It’s a full-time job finding a full-time job.
You may not realise this but until a few years ago I worked for a careers advice company. There I helped people find jobs, helped people change career and look at training and courses. In my most recent years the focus was on providing advice on CVs and resumes and finding ways into work. As an ex-careers advisor I’ve had many, many conversations about ways in which to find work.
In my opinion there are four key areas in which to concentrate your efforts – advertisements, agencies, networks and speculative approaches. To help you with your search and improve your technique, together we’ll spend some time working through all four subject areas to give you further insight and help into these ways of finding employment.
This is the most popular way people think of for finding work, but it’s not always the most successful. Think about it for a moment – there’s an ad. for one job and how many people do you think will apply for it? Hundreds? Even thousands in today’s climate?
For you to get that role, you have to beat all that competition, so you have to be outstanding to be a winner here. Don’t get me wrong, people do get jobs from advertisements, but don’t just use this one method for job hunting and make sure you broaden your search. Let me explain.
Where can you find job ads? Online – there are loads and loads of job sites, plus companies advertise on their own websites. Just do a Google search and you’ll see how many job sites there are. Don’t forget, social media sites like LinkedIn advertise jobs too, but where else?
Newspapers – yes this tradition of advertising vacancies still exists. Look at local papers if you’re searching in your immediate area, but also try the national newspapers if you’re able to move. What else?
How about advertisements in windows? The local fast-food place? The shopping mall? Shop or office windows or local noticeboards. It’s worthwhile getting outside and looking around your local area and you never know who you might meet.
Recruitment agencies or employment service providers are another option you should seriously consider. These organisations don’t just have temporary jobs on their books and as they do most of the legwork for an employer they sometimes have jobs that aren’t advertised anywhere else.
It also helps that the staff in the agencies get to know you and if you build a great relationship with them they are more likely to give a potential employer a good report about you, rather than the person who signs up and doesn’t bother to stay in touch.
A word of warning – don’t sign up to too many angencies. You need to manage your relationship with an agency just like you would if you were selling a house. Make sure you speak to them every couple of weeks. Not so often you become annoying, but enough that they remember you. If you’re working with more than say six, it can become too much to manage. Keep things within your control. If you’re not getting any interesting jobs ideas or interviews you can always leave that agency and move on to another one.
This is just a fancy name for your circle of friends and family. Who do you know?
Get a blank piece of paper and put a spot in the middle. This is you – put your name by it. Around your spot write down the names of your family and friends who you know well. Do all these people know you are looking for a job? Perhaps. Do they know what sort of job? Try and be specific – the better details you give people the more they are likely to remember when it’s most important.
Just think for a moment – how many people does each of your friends and family know? (And how many do they know? Etc. etc.) This is your network. If you really want to manage your job search well, you wouldn’t go wrong in ensuring all these people – your circle of friends and family – know you’re looking for work and what type.
Statistically, this is one of the most successful ways in which to find a job. Word of mouth. Who do you know and who do they know? If you have good relationships with people they won’t mind putting in a good word for you.
Manage your network in the same way that you manage your recruitment agency relationships. Keep in touch, but not so often that people start getting bored and start avoiding you! But make sure that they don’t forget you either. If you don’t stay in touch they may think you’ve got a job already.
This is often considered to be the hardest way of looking for a job of them all, but actually it’s one of the most important. Statistics show, along with your network, this is one of the best ways of finding work.
This is where you approach an employer that you would like to work for and offer yourself as an employee. The company won’t be advertising, but that’s the point. If you get things right and approach a company at the right time, when perhaps they’re just starting to think about recruiting, or Mr. Jones is about to retire, then you might save them the cost of recruiting. And recruitment doesn’t come cheap. There are companies dedicated to it, as we know! Plus there’s not the same competition as when a job is advertised.
The key to the spec. approach is the preparation. You can either draft a strong letter or e-mail and include your resume/CV, of if you have the confidence prepare for a phone call or visit to their location. But be ready, this can be a big slog. For every twenty letters you send out you may only get one reply. Keep at it though.
For the best success, do your research. Check out their website. What information does it give you about the company? Have they won any awards? Have they got a press release or news headline about expansion perhaps? Can you see if they are a good company to work for, who invest in their employees?
Use any information or knowledge you obtain to your advantage. Find a way to work it into your letter or call to show you have taken an interest in their company. Make it personal and specific to them. Show them you’ve spent some time on this. But make sure it is a company you genuinely are interested in working for. Don’t waste your time or theirs.
– Don’t just stick to one method. Try a little of everything if you can.
– Stay positive. There are others out there like you, you’re not alone.
– Keep going. It’s tough but stick with it and get professional help wherever you can.
In the end
As I said at the start – it can be a full-time job finding a full-time job. But if you are serious about finding work, doing a little bit of each of these every day and every week, you will eventually get there.
You have to be tough and determined. It’s really hard out there, but be certain that you are not alone. Plenty of people are in the same situation as you. But there are also people out there who can help. Stay positive. We’re all rooting for you.
And if after all that you still feel you have some time on your hands, why not volunteer? There’s nothing better on a CV or resume to show to an employer how willing you are to work or how passionate you are about an organisation. Plus it also gives you great experience you can go on to demonstrate to future employers.
Good luck. I hope it goes well.
Other places to get help
Just one example of the many job search website available. Just do a Google search to find more.
The UK National Careers Service. Advice on how to find a job, devise a CV, career profiles and where to get professional help.
The Federal Government’s official jobs site; includes a resource centre and military skills translator amongst others.
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