There has been record numbers of applications from graduates and non graduates alike recently and with the high levels of competition high rejection rates were sure to follow. 2014 however showed signs of hope with an 8.7 % rise in the number of graduate vacancies.
For those already in the ‘job seeking market’ let 2014 offer renewed hope. A chance to wipe the slate clean and focus on what this ‘new year’ can bring. If the previous year saw your applications unanswered, now is the time to try something different and kick start your job hunt with renewed vigour and guile.
Step one – Tailor Your CV
The first step in your ‘kick start campaign’ should be to truly tailor your CV to each role. As a careers advisor I’ve seen clients use the same old CV for roles even when the job description and person spec is wildly different. Whilst it’s true that tailoring CV’s takes time, if you take that time the results will be worth it.
If you’re reading this thinking “how am I going to do that for 5 -10 positions a day” that should tell you that you’re applying for too many roles. Let this moment be the start of the age of quality over quantity and cut back your applications to the jobs you really want.
Use the job spec as a check list and ensure that all the essential requirements are clearly accounted for on the first page of your CV. Evidence is king so include details of anything that you have taken responsibility for, strategies that you have implemented and make sure you include any quantifiable results.
Step 2 – Broaden Your Job Search
With the proliferation of job boards and the boom in online recruitment practices it’s not surprising that the number one job search strategy is the internet search. The problem is that if everyone is using that technique, unless you’re looking for very niche or high level corporate jobs, you are going to be up against a lot of competition. Online job boards should be one branch of your overall strategy.
Recruiters often get a bad rep but there’s no doubt that they can be a handy tool in your job seeking arsenal. The key is to make their life easier by being clear about what you can do, keeping in touch with them on a regular basis, ensuring that you are open to their advice both before and after interviews. For more tips check out my blog on how best to use recruiters.
In addition to recruiters and online job hunting methods don’t forget the more traditional methods such as networking and direct approaches. A large number of job vacancies never make it as far as job boards and recruiters and often the only way to know about them is by talking directly to employers and their employees. Talk to previous colleagues, attend networking events, contact employers directly and use LinkedIn to garner some new contacts as they could be vital to finding your new position. If you are going to use LinkedIn to approach people on a speculative basis here are a few tips to help it go smoothly.
Step 3 – Follow up after your interviews
Following up after an interview can be a great way to show professionalism and can help your interview remain fresh in the employers mind. Send a short note or email thanking them for interviewing you and let them know that you’re looking forward to hearing from them. Worst case scenario, if you haven’t got the job it may prompt them to let you know sooner rather than later. Best case scenario if you’re one of two or three candidates that they are mulling over, it could give you the edge. This has been the case for a friend of mine recently so why not give it a try.