Thursday 28 April 2011

The Basics: Finding a Job

While optimism may be in short supply as the economy limps toward recovery, there are opportunities for those willing to get serious about job hunting. When times are tough, competition for ANY /ALL jobs increases greatly. We’ve all heard of occasions where people are applying for positions for which they are not qualified - and rushing to get as many applications in as possible means that they don't read the instructions properly. Here are five top tips for those focusing on finding a job in 2011:

  1. Keep your chin up. This could be a stressful year for many unemployed people, who spent most of 2010 searching for a job and are starting to feel discouraged. Without a positive attitude, a job seeker can be defeated before they even start looking. Rejection is part of this game so the more work you do, the more rejections you may get but that simply means the closer you will be to landing a new position.
  2. Set goals. It’s vital to set weekly goals with deadlines about how many employers to contact and which markets to research. If you leave it open ended, it won’t happen. Without a deadline, a job seeker could end up procrastinating for months, waiting for the right opportunity to come along, instead of proactively finding opportunities.
  3. Get organized. It’s a good idea to keep a spiral notebook during a job hunt and record the employers you’ve contacted, the places you’ve applied and the dates. Keep a copy of the CVs and cover letters you’ve sent on file and the contact information of each employer, so if they call back a few weeks later, you’ll be ready.
  4. Network at every opportunity. A good first step is to tell everyone you know what you do and that you’re searching for a job. Many employers aren’t spending money to advertise job openings and are instead giving their employees incentives to help find candidates. Networking fills most jobs before they are even posted. Take advantage of job fairs. Job fairs will never be considered the best use of a job seeker’s time, but they are often worthwhile. At worst, you will get some networking done with other job seekers.
  5. Send thank-you notes. It may seem simple, but a thank-you note may become the factor that determines whether or not you get a job. An employer will more likely remember you if you send a note, and it can also be an opportunity to emphasize something you talked about during your interview or clarify your salary requirements. Wherever you interview, be sure to mail a thank-you note within 24 hours.

Advertisements are just one source of finding a job. lf you use all relevant publications, reply in time, think carefully about each job and target your responses to the specific advert, it can be an effective source but please don't rely only on this method for finding a job. To find the right position, you might consider looking at adverts placed in the following places:

  • Both Local & National Press
  • Professional and Trade Journals
  • Television and Radio
  • Post Office, Supermarket Notice Boards & Shop Windows
  • Libraries, Job Centres & Recruitment Agencies
  • Last but not least, the Internet (including the our own website –

Adverts are sometimes poorly thought out by employers. If the advert is very 'general', more people will apply, many of whom may be 'unsuitable'. Conversely, if the advert is very specific it will deter others from making an application. When you cannot meet all the criteria advertised, think about what you may be able to offer instead.

Sometimes the requirements of the company can change between the time the advert was placed and the time of interview. Read 'into' and 'behind' the words of the advert. What does it tell you about the organisation, its culture and the job itself? As a general rule, if the position interests you and you are able to meet some of the advertised criteria, make the application - you just need to try a little bit harder to persuade the employer to interview you.

There are also lots of LOCAL places to find information that will help you both in your job search and to cope with being out of work, including:

  • Employment Service / Job Centre
  • Citizens' Advice Bureau (CAB)
  • Benefits Agency (DSS)
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Inland Revenue
  • Library, Welfare Rights & Various Careers Services

There are a number of other NATIONAL sources, including:

Remember: Don't forget your 'old school' business cards are just as important as ever when looking for a new job. You can put your blog's URL (if you have one), Twitter username (if you have one) and your professional profile's URL (if you have one) on your business cards. Moo provides varying sizes of high quality (inexpensive) business cards that are fully customisable. If you're artistic, consider putting examples of your work on a photo sharing site such as Flickr and then using those images on the back of your Moo cards.

No comments: