Implementing a job search strategy

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The way we search for jobs has changed over the years. Whether you are a recent graduate, an experienced professional or a career changer, it is worth noting these five strategies when searching for your next job.
 
Reflection 

It is important to reflect on your present situation and the past. What does your career look like to date? Think about different jobs you have had and what you enjoyed and disliked about them and why. Are you looking for a role with more responsibility? Perhaps a new challenge is your biggest motivation? Is salary an important factor? 

Location: Consider where you are currently working and how far you are prepared to travel. What could the potential cost of travelling further be? Would relocation affect anyone besides you?

Skills and knowledge: Research the top skills employers look for across the industries you have an interest in. What soft and technical skills have you developed in your current role? How could you market your expertise to a potential employer?

Experience: Spend time thinking about how much experience you have in a paid or voluntary capacity. What is transferable? 

Achievements: Employers are interested in knowing what you have accomplished in your different roles. What have been your successes through your work, further study or other related activities?

USP: Reflect on what you have to offer to organisations and what sets you apart from competitors. 
 
Networking 

Networking has never been more key to creating or becoming aware of job opportunities. This is not a skill that everyone is comfortable with. But it can be honed through stepping out of your comfort zone; being prepared; having confidence to market yourself; and showing a genuine interest in individuals, specific companies and sectors. Networking works both ways – it is not just about who can help you but also how you can collaborate with and support others.

Building your confidence: If you are less experienced in networking then speak to a careers coach or attend a session on networking, self-presentation or confidence building.

Plan: First impressions count and therefore it is important to prepare in advance before attending a networking event, informal meeting or sending your first LinkedIn message. Research the individual you want to speak to (and the company). Be concise and professional in your introduction and what you are asking for. Ask appropriate questions and find common interests. 

Connect with people who can open doors: You need to be introduced to the right people. If you are trying to get in touch with a manager in a company, find out who can help you. Have patience, persevere and ensure you come across as credible.

Different activities: By attending and participating in various networking activities you can meet different people who might be able to offer you advice, collaborate and introduce you to the right people. Raise your profile by putting yourself forward to present or be a panellist to share your expertise at a conference or event. 

LinkedIn: Connect with professionals in a role you are interested in – some may be willing to share their experience with you either online or in person. Get in touch with recruiters who specialise in the
sector you are looking to enter or progress in. Follow companies you want to work for and stay up to date with their latest developments and job postings.
 
Building your personal brand 

LinkedIn: Keep your profile up to date and showcase your professional, academic and co-curricular achievements. Ensure the skills section of your profile is relevant to the roles you are looking for. Connect with current and previous colleagues, managers and clients (if applicable) and start asking for endorsements and recommendations. In the work experience section, turn your job description in to a personal summary of your accomplishments. Research jobs to see what employers are looking for and adopt some of the keywords and technical language if it is suitable. 

Portfolio: Create a website or portfolio to highlight your achievements. This might include conferences you have spoken at; publications; your work e.g. designs or projects. Ensure this looks professional, visually appealing and free from any spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

Pitching: Craft and practice your elevator pitch. Think about how you can confidently market yourself to employers and say what you are looking for.

Applications: Always tailor your applications and clearly demonstrate your motivations for wanting to join an organisation and what you can bring to the role. Give enough evidence of the skills and attributes the employer is looking for.
 
Identifying specific roles and organisations

Be specific in the search for your next job by looking in detail at the job description and person specification. Identify aspects of the role that you would enjoy; do not have experience in; and would do exceptionally well in. Practice writing and talking about how you can evidence the skills, qualification and experience the employer requires.

Research companies looking for the skills and qualifications you possess. Get an understanding of the workplace culture; values; diversity and inclusion; staff development; and corporate social responsibility. Find out if there are any upcoming events for you to meet employees either at the company’s premise or externally. Look in to any work shadowing opportunities to get more of an insight in to a role.

Recruitment processes often involve 3 or more stages such as the application; online tests or games; video interviews; assessment centres and various interview rounds. Familiarise yourself with the recruitment practices used in organisations you have an interest in. Prepare by identifying your strengths and weaknesses; arrange a mock interview; practice tests and your presentation style.
 
Professional development  

A willingness to learn is a top skill that employers are looking for. Technology, the way we do business and the way we solve problems is always changing. It is important for a workforce to change with it and many individuals on LinkedIn find themselves being contacted by recruiters because they possess the in-demand skills the employers want.

As part of your job search, invest in your professional development and upskill yourself. This can include improving your language skills; learning how to use new software; gaining a recognised qualification as evidence in your applications of your knowledge in a certain area. You might want to join a professional body or attend annual conferences to keep up to date with a specific area.

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