Here is part 2 of our “Do’s and Don’ts of Job Search” series. To start with Part 1, click here.
– A strong CV
Your CV is going to be your bread and butter of job search. Make sure it is up to date, reflects who you are, and is short and sweet. CV’s should not be more than two pages.
To add more detail, make sure you break down your current and previous roles and responsibilities. This will help the recruiter see what skills you have right off the bat. Also, adding a one-liner to describe the company will also help, especially if you are looking for jobs overseas. Make sure you do all the work, the Recruiter shouldn’t have to be doing any google searches.
If you are a recent grad without a lot of work experience, add 3-5 of of your best academic projects (having a balance of group work is a great way to explain how you work in teams). Make sure you come prepared to talk about these experiences during the interview, and make sure you can relate them to real world examples.
One last note, NEVER lie on your CV. This is career suicide. Be honest and open.
– Think Outside the Box
There are so many job sites out there, and for every job site there are thousands of job seekers applying for jobs. These days it is easy to get lost in the crowd.
I’m not saying don’t use the job boards, but make sure you’re applying for targeted jobs that match your skills, or you could be wasting your time.
Start getting creative. With Social Media, it’s never been as easy to get in contact with a company or even an employee. Do your research, find your ideal job, in your ideal company and find out who currently holds that position. Write them a letter. Send them an email. Tweet them. Ask yourself why you want to work there, and communicate that to them. Your passion and determination can shine through.
These people will often get a ton of applications from job seekers like yourself. Try to stand out from the sea of applicants. You want that person to see yours and think “This one is different”. Make sure you tailor your application to the company you’re going for. For example, if you want to work in banking, a creative piece probably wouldn’t get the management ticking. But if you wanted to work in advertising, it would be right up their alley.
Don’t be discouraged if you get nothing from your efforts. This happens, so don’t give up! (N.B. When contacting someone you don’t know, there is a fine line between being confident and gutsy, and harassment and annoying. Make sure you don’t cross it).
– Write a Cover Letter
Every job application should start with a cover letter. Not just any cover letter, but a tailored and customized one. Generic ones are so easy to spot, so don’t try to fool a Recruiter.
– Put in the work. Match the job description to your skills.
– Do your research. Try to find out who you’re writing to. Add what you know about the company and explain why you want to work there.
– Don’t oversell. The Recruiter will decide if you’re personable in the interview, not from your cover letter. Highlight tangible skills, what has made you that great team player that you are? Support your selling point.
– Don’t Do Multiple Applications
It may seem like a good idea, probability would agree with you…”The more jobs I apply for on this career site, the more likely I am to get called….” but unfortunately when it comes to job search, this is more likely to work against you.
How most of these massive company databases work, is that once you have completed those, often, very lengthy application forms, your information is now saved in their database (it’s all in the T&C’s). This is why it’s quite crucial that you fill out those forms to the best of your ability. The more skills you put, the more likely you are to come up in searches.
Having multiple records does not work in your favor. So do one application, make sure it’s complete, and if they think you are a match to one of their open positions, they will contact you. Don’t waste your time and effort making all those applications. Trust me.
If a company is looking for someone for position A, and you apply and are better suited for position B, you will likely get passed on to whoever is managing position B. I know this isn’t the case is all situations, but it’s better than being known as the serial applicant.
– Do other things
Job search is tiring, long, demanding and can be depressing. Make sure you keep a “work” and life balance. Be social, spend time with family and friends, focus on hobbies, and if you don’t have one, now is the time to get one. Be active, mediate, play sports.
You want to have a loaded answer for that age old question “what do you do in your spare time?”. Why do they always ask this? They want to see if you are a balanced individual. If you have just been job searching, glued to your computer day in and day out, that isn’t really the sign of someone balanced, and it may not be what they are looking for (where are the people skills in that example?).
Also, use this time as an opportunity to take some extra courses, that could beef up your CV (computer course for example), or it could be something that you’ve always wanted to do (learn a new language perhaps?)
If you’ve been unlucky in finding that ideal position, it may be time to bite the bullet and settle for something part-time for the interim. This doesn’t mean you give up job search, but it gives you something to do, and pays some of the bills.
I had a case once where a Manager was looking at a pile of CV’s, recent graduates, hungry for this experience. All applicants were extremely qualified, top notch candidates. She decided on hiring a guy that stood out because he worked at Apple. He was overqualified to work there, but he explained that he had a passion for their products, and it was a good job to do until the right one came along. She liked his drive. He was hired.
That wraps up our “Do’s and Don’ts of Job Search”. We hope you’ve found it helpful, and we really hope it helps you land that dream job.
Remember, most important of all, is to be yourself. At the end of the day, interviewers are looking for someone who “fits” the team. Having a good balance of skills, education, personality and confidence is the solution to job search success!