For whatever reason, some of us feel a little rusty when it comes to looking for and securing a new job. Perhaps you took a career break, opted for extended maternity/paternity leave, went travelling around the world or ended up out of work for a while. Maybe you’ve only ever had one job that you sort of fell into at the beginning of your career or you’ve been self-employed for so long that you’ve almost forgotten what the job hunt is!
Whatever your reasons for feeling out of practice, getting your head back into the job search can feel like an overwhelming experience; don’t be put off by the seemingly herculean task ahead of you, it’s all part of a learning curve and, with practice, you’ll soon feel like a pro job hunter! The difficult part is when you first sit down to begin your job search journey – where do you even start? Well, we know that getting the cogs geared into action can leave you scratching your head, so we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to help you on your way!
Take a look at our tips and advice on how to find your stride when getting back into the job hunt.
1. Do some digging
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – rubbish! It’s never too late to learn new things, which is lucky because the world moves faster than ever these days. No matter what field you’re in, how many qualifications you have or what used to work for you, blink and before you know it, new processes, new ways of working and new technology will crop up.
Now, we’re not saying this to scare you, far from it! The fast-paced, ever-changing world of work that exists today means that the ways in which we work have been improved and optimised. That being said, if you’ve been out of the loop or set in your ways for quite a while, you’ll need to do your research before you start applying.
How much research you’ll need to do depends on how long you’ve been out of the game. If it’s been a considerable amount of time, take a look at some template CVs, what employers want to know may have changed since you last had to write one! Everyone will benefit from learning about what’s new in their industry; who are the big players right now? What new products have been introduced? What new methods are being implemented? It’s also worth having a scout around online to find out which job boards or social media platforms are the best ones to focus on during your job hunt.
It won’t take long, but making sure you’re up to speed will not only give you a good starting point, but will boost your confidence in going forward. Double win!
2. Get the admin out of the way
Before you even start filling in those application forms, you need to make sure you have everything you need – your job hunt toolkit. It’s simple enough, a good template cover letter and an up-to-date template CV. Why are we saying template? Well, what we mean is a good skeleton version of each of these documents, both with the main points they need to include but with wriggle room to tailor them to each application. Tailoring covering letters and CVs to the certain companies, roles or sectors you’re applying to is much more effective than sending out the same old generic documents for every single role.
Having these documents ready to tweak and send means that you can start ploughing through those job applications! Even if you find that the application forms don’t require a CV, make sure you have one ready – if your application is progressed to the next stage and the employer wants to see a CV, you don’t want to leave them waiting or, even worse, tell them that you don’t have one at the moment – preparation is key!
No, they’re not the most fun things to do, but you need to invest time in them and make sure they really sell you as an employee – it’s obvious to recruiters when a CV or covering letter have had no effort put into them, which then raises questions about how much the applicant really wants the job. It can be tough knowing where to start, but luckily we consider ourselves pros when it comes to these sorts of things! Take a look at our articles on how to write the perfect covering letter and what to include in your CV.
Job hunting – a few clicks here, fling out some CVs, easy peasy! Really? It’s a common misconception that looking for a job is as simple as sending out a couple of applications every now and then, when really it takes a lot more time and dedication than you would expect. The job market is more competitive than ever, so you need to give yourself the best chance of securing your ideal role by submitting as many good quality applications as possible.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t be selective with the jobs you apply for but a lot of job hunters fall into the trap of putting their eggs in one basket; it’s tempting to say “well, I’ll just see how this application goes first”, especially when it’s a job we really want. However, this can be harmful in the long run. If you keep applying, even if you’re progressing well with another role, you’ll be less likely to feel disheartened as you’ll have a backup plan if things fall through, and you won’t miss the deadlines on any other potential roles.
Unless you’re very lucky, or have the right friends in the right places, a job isn’t going to come to you, you need to put yourself out there! Invest as much time as you can looking at vacancies, applying and even getting yourself established on platforms such as LinkedIn, which recruiters now use to source candidates. Never heard of it? Here’s our beginner’s guide.
Most importantly, don’t give up! Finding the right job takes time, but if you do your research, prepare and commit to the job hunt, you’ll soon get there. It’s time to take the plunge and get back out there!
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