Looking for a new job can be hard work and knowing how to navigate your way through a myriad of job boards, recruitment agencies and HR departments is enough to drive any sane person completely barking mad!!
Here are a few tips that will hopefully cut down your frustration levels and allow you to place your efforts more valuably and effectively with people and organisations that will get you closer to securing the job of your dreams.
1: Stop applying for anything and everything!!
Take a more targeted approach and select roles where you have relevant experience/qualifications or obvious transferable skills.
2: Read the job advertisement!
Make sure that you read all of what is being asked for so that you don’t waste your time applying for something that you do not have the experience or qualifications for. If the advertisement is unclear, if you have the option, call the contact and ask for clarification before you submit your resume…sometimes your salary expectations will not align with what’s on offer…best you find out sooner rather than later and save everyone’s time.
3: Tailor your cover letter to the advertisement rather than adopting a “one-size-fits-all” approach…
Having an ill thought out and irrelevant cover letter can be the difference between your application going straight to the “NO” pile.
4: OK so you have just hit the ‘SUBMIT’ button…now what?
How long do I wait anxiously by the phone? Do I call to see if they have received my resume? Do I place another application for the same job…just in case? What if it didn’t arrive? What if I missed the cut off deadline? Stop panicking its OK what you are feeling is what everyone goes through. Wait a respectable time, say 24 hours, and if you still haven’t heard from them, call to see where they are in the process and if you if they had a chance to look at your resume. This is a great time to express how keen you are and if you can, to get an idea of how your application compares to the others so far as well as some sort of idea of their time frame to shortlist for interviews. Armed with this information you can start to prioritise your applications in order of getting to the next stage.
5: Have a system.
When applying for jobs it can be really confusing if you have submitted a number of applications, so keep track and have that information with you at all times so you are prepared for when you get a call back and you sound as though you are on the ball and focused on that job.
6: Make sure that you can be contacted
If you cannot answer a phone call make sure you have a decent voicemail message and a mailbox where a message can be left. Make sure that your message box greeting is professional and clearly states who you are and that you will return their call as soon as possible. Make sure that you call back within 24 hours or before otherwise you may miss out. Remember agencies will move much faster that HR departments.
7: Be prepared.
If you get a call, it will be a telephone screen. Don’t stuff it up, this is your opportunity to make a good first impression so make sure that you are on the ball and can respond professionally and enthusiastically and that you know which job they are calling about.
8: Be available.
Remember, chances are you are not the only one wanting the job, so be flexible with your time and fit in around the interviewer when arranging a time to meet. If you are working full time, before, after work or a lunch hour may be the only time you can make it to their location. Some organisations may come to you if you are lucky, but not always, so if there are personal appointments that you can move then do so in preference to missing out all together.
9: Follow up.
If you have sent an application, or have been telephone screened but haven’t heard for a couple of days, then follow up with regard to any progress on your application. If the consultant/HR professional is not available, then leave a message. Don’t become a stalker, sometimes that can be a fine line, so use your common sense.
10: If you missed out on securing an interview, then ask for feedback, but be prepared to hear the truth.
This will be invaluable information and to help you manage the impression that you are leaving with potential employers. Remember, you (hopefully) only apply for jobs once every couple of years, the people that you are applying to deal with job seekers all the time. Their advice will assist you in understanding what sort of impression you are leaving, good, bad or indifferent, you need to know.
by Susie Rogers