Did you know that if you hit Google with job search tips, you will get about 150,000 responses! (perhaps if you are reading this, you did). Landing the job you really want as the next step is often challenging whether you are a new graduate or someone with many year’s experience.  It’s worth bearing in mind a few principles when you are starting the search, even if some you already know and a bit obvious, worthy of reiterating.

The other element of job search is to reflect on both the practical and psychological elements of the search. The practical ones are indeed important; a job search strategy, networking, signing up to sites and the like. However, the psychological elements of a job search are just as important; how do you keep your resilience and confidence when you have another rejection from an interview, or not even been shortlisted for the job you were really passionate about?

  1. Creating a Job Search Plan

Obvious in a way; when you are planning something new, you create some sort of project plan? I don’t know that that many people actually sit down and plan a JOB SEARCH PLAN opting instead for using a ‘shotgun’ approach that involves blasting CVs and job applications to any job title that sounds appealing and hope something hits the mark. Instead, research the types of careers that fit the transferrable skills that make up your key skills as an individual.If you prefer a more shorthand, visual version of a job search plan on one page, try this Job search plan VISUAL

Getting a job offer is a mix of hard power strengths (i.e., degrees, internships, and skills) and soft power ability (i.e., networking, personal branding, and communications agility). You can’t focus on one and neglect the other.

This simple Job search template is designed to get you started on the “job search road”, using a mixture of coordinating any work you have done to date on Career review exercises, along with creating a structured approach to looking for a new job. Add any elements that you find helpful.

  1. Update and tailor your CV

Sending a tailored covering letter is a well-known job hunting tip, but are you doing this with your CV? Relevance is crucial when applying for any job. Your CV is most likely targeted towards one profession or industry, but no two jobs will be exactly the same.

Whenever you apply for a role, take a few minutes to check your CV against the job advert and look for any potential improvements you can make. For example, if you are hiding a crucial qualification at the bottom of your CV, move it to the top and make it prominent. Tailoring your CV for every application may take a little more effort, but it’s better use of time than making 10 generic applications that may not attract the attention you need (more CV tips here)

  1. Keep your resilience

You could be in for a wait, and have to hunker down (a recent example was someone who took 9 months to get a job in the sector she wanted to work in after many applications). In today’s jobs market, employers have plenty of candidates to choose from and they often receive hundreds of applications per vacancy. So the odds of applying for just one job and securing it are slim to none. Applying for several jobs at once, and getting your CV in front of as many hiring managers as possible, will maximise your chances. You still need to be selective about the roles you apply for, but scout out as many suitable opportunities as you can. Set a daily or weekly application target, track the vacancies, and make timely follow-ups. Find ways of holding onto your resilience, whether that be through support from trusted friends, mindfulness or regular exercise.

  1. Focus on Networking

If you’re spending hours cruising job boards and filling out endless online applications, think about varying things. Get out from behind the computer and go network. It depends on what statistics you look at, but it is claimed that around 70 percent of jobs are obtained through networking; whilst this might be an exaggeration it’s fair to say don’t underestimate the power of networking.

Online job applications work best if you have a near perfect match to key words in the job listing, but this might not always be the case. As well as job applications, focus on networking and marketing activities that can help flush out hidden gems that are rarely publically advertised. Plus, networking shows you have initiative and drive.

  1. Using Technology Wisely

Technology has certainly made our lives easier. Mobile apps are available to aid in job searches, and social media platforms are also helpful for making connections. The most obvious business networking site is Linked in. Still, technology is only as good as the person using it, so you’ll need to spend time keeping your social media profiles updated with current experience and connections. And set a goal to make at least five new connections every week during your job search.

Comprehensive job sites and networks such as MonsterLinkedInGlassdoor and, yes, even Craigslist can be invaluable resources for jobseekers — but the competition for listings posted on these sites can be downright overwhelming. If you’re looking for a job in a specific industry, consider researching job boards that focus on a particular niche.

  1. Speculative approaches

Sometimes called the “speculative approach”, this involves proactively making contact with companies to offer your services.  The success of this approach depends on the following factors:

  • Targeting companies that are likely to require someone with your specific skills and expertise
  • Writing a persuasive letter and CV that matches a particular need they have at that time
  • Understanding the employer’s needs and being flexible enough to think on the spot about how you can help meet those challenges
  • Ideally having a contact whose name you can use as an introduction into the company

How do you decide which companies to target?

  • Other people may have good suggestions so use your connections
  • Choose companies where you know they could genuinely do with your skills e.g. an underperforming company that needs your business development expertise
  • Companies selling similar products or services or in an associated industry
  • Suppliers, customers, or partners of your current or previous employers
  • Those which have recruited colleagues or bosses from your organisation
  • Scan the local and trade press for company news such as new contracts won, relocations, consolidations, senior management changes. These changes could mean new staff requirements
  • Organisations for whom you are genuinely interested in working
  • Smaller or less well-known organisations in the relevant field who typically receive fewer approaches from job-seekers than more high-profile companies

Useful sites: