How to find a job: where to begin
The first step to starting a successful job search is to get in the right mindset and plan what you want to achieve.
Write down what is important to you in a role and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
When looking for new roles it is important to consider the following:
- Your want: where you want to work and in what role.
- Your need: is often the salary that you need in order to pay your bills or maintain your lifestyle.
- Your likes: are the niceties that certain roles may offer or deal-breakers to get you to take a job. These are the perks and benefits you would like!
You will need the following when applying for jobs:
- CV: up to date, well written and relevant to the jobs you are applying for.
- Cover letter: this is designed to introduce you to a potential employer and needs to be attached to your CV.
- Email address: make sure it’s suitable and keep a separate folder in your account for applications and responses.
Know how to find a job
You can start to look at the roles currently available using several different resources. These include job websites, agencies, publications and employers’ websites.
How to find a job through agencies and job boards
In order to be able to use agencies and job boards effectively you must learn the difference between them.
Have their own websites where they advertise vacancies. However, unlike a job board, the larger agencies may also have a network of offices with recruitment consultants.
Benefits of an agency
- They work on your behalf and approach potential employers.
- They negotiate on your behalf as they only earn money when you get the job.
- You can contact them and tell them the roles you’re interested in.
TIP: Look at the local agencies near you or where you want to work and go and introduce yourself. They will know how to find a job. By meeting with a recruiter face to face it’s easier for them to be passionate about you to their clients. Make sure you have your CV and cover letter at the ready as the recruiter will need these to represent you. Some agencies will also test you on your skills.
Are usually web based and act as a portal for you to apply for jobs and for employers to search for candidates.
Benefits of a job board
- Gives you access to roles from both agencies and direct employers.
- Allows you to post your CV for free and sends the application through the job board to the employer.
- Gives you access to roles across the country in a variety of different fields.
Some helpful job boards include:
There are of course many other options, including ones suited to niche industries. Google will be your friend in finding these.
As a candidate you can apply for free, register your details and even set up notifications for any jobs that meet your criteria. Although job boards are fantastic, don’t forget to check your local paper, the local job centre and company websites. Due to the fees that some job boards charge, employers often choose to advertise direct to keep costs to a minimum.
Our advice when looking at both, use both!
Other resources to help you find a job
Agencies and job boards are not the only way to find a job. There are many other resources to use when you’re considering how to find a job.
Speak to friends and contacts and let them know you are looking for a job. Who knows, there may be vacancies where they work!
Career fairs are a great way of meeting potential employers. These are often organised by educational bodies, radio stations and job centres. Use a search engine to find these.
The same rules apply, take your CV and cover letter to the event and network! Just remember, companies are there to fill a role. You could be their perfect candidate but you will never know if you don’t speak to them!
Often misunderstood, the job centre is tasked at getting people back to work. They know of vacancies in the area and offer companies FREE adverts on their website. The fact that companies can advertise for free attracts some who refuse to use agencies/job boards. In addition, if this is your local job centre it is likely that the vacancy will be local.
Keep an eye on local paper as some companies still use these to reach potential employees. If you’re applying for a position in a niche industry, look for industry magazines. Most industry publications have a website. Alternatively ask your local newsagent to order you a copy of the magazine.
Whilst we appreciate that voluntary work is free, it is a great way to break into a new market if you are either a school leaver or have decided to change profession. Volunteering shows real commitment to finding work and companies will often look to employ volunteers who have proven themselves. Volunteering is not for everyone but does show strength of character and commitment, so is well worth considering while you are looking for a role.
Getting organised and setting schedules
When out of work it is very important to stay both motivated and positive. By setting yourself schedules and getting organised you will be able to keep to a routine that you often lose when out of work.
Make sure you have an appropriate email address set up when approaching employers. “firstname.lastname@example.org” does not present the professional image that you would like your employer to see.
Monday 10.00am – Contact all agency contacts for an update on positions they have put you forward for and any new roles.
Monday 11.00am – Log onto job boards and apply for any relevant roles. Check on the status of all applications and any contact from employers. Search the internet for any new jobs and contact any new agencies who are advertising roles of interest.
Monday 12.00 – Check email account for any messages. Respond to any emails and check local papers/publications.
Wednesday- Repeat above
Friday- Repeat above
By using a schedule, you will maximise your exposure and show the agencies that you are keen to find employment. You will also not miss any new opportunities as you are proactively searching for a role three times a week and have all applications in an easily accessible file.
Gathering information and using it to your best advantage
The biggest tip we can give to you is BE INTERESTED. If you’ve registered interest, it’s highly likely you will be contacted. Not knowing who the company is you’ve registered interest with or not remembering the title of the job you applied for, would be madness on your part.
Try to contact the person on the advert in addition to applying. By doing this you will find out valuable information, like the status of your application. You will also show initiative whilst making sure the role has not yet been filled.
If the role is directly advertised with a company, you can introduce yourself to the recruiter. Sometimes this is the person you could be working for. If you find that the role has been filled, ask the recruiter if you could send your CV across for any other roles.
Using your initiative
When entering the job market you must use your initiative. There are many candidates vying for the same opportunity as you, so you need to make yourself stand out.
Whether you have been made redundant, are returning to work, changing job/career or are entering the job market for the first time, it’s important to stay positive and have a clear idea of what you want out of the role.
Be proactive and go looking for the ideal role rather than watch it get snapped up by someone who got there first!
Initiative will show potential employers;
You are a valuable employee who thinks for themselves and is proactive.
You are dedicated to finding the right role and are not afraid to make things happen for yourself.
You are a leader and understand that no one will do your work for you.
Manage your expectations and act quickly
Remember to look at all types of roles not just one. Look for companies where you can grow and learn whilst climbing the ladder to the position of your dreams.
Do not fall into the rut of turning a role down due to lack of money or location. Show employers your commitment during your probation period and negotiate later down the line rather than letting the role go altogether.
Set out clear goals when job hunting but consider tradable factors such as:
- The role pays 1k less than your old salary, but the hours are shorter and there is the flexibility to work from home.
- The role does not have a commission structure but has an end of year bonus.
- The role does not offer any bonus but will pay for training.
- One role may not offer you exactly what you want but may make up for it in different ways!
Final tip on how to find a job
It is important to act quickly when you find an attractive role:
A – Apply for the role as soon as you find it. Send a polished CV and cover letter to the right contact.
C – Call to make sure that your application has been received.
T– Talk to the contact and ask about timelines, is this an urgent vacancy? What are the next steps?