Q: I’m looking for a job for the first time in 15 years, and, to be perfectly honest, I am finding it intimidating. Where do I start? Last time I was looking for a job, it was just a matter of keeping an eye on the papers. Nowadays there are so many different ways. Can you give me some pointers? (AT, email.)
A: Rest assured, you are not alone. Many people find job-hunting a daunting prospect. As you rightly say, the range of ways you can search for a job has never been broader, particularly when you factor in some informal methods. Here are some general job-hunting points I would make – not all are applicable to every single job-hunter, so pick and choose the ones appropriate to you.
- Have your CV in good order, and in such a way that it sells you to the job for which you are applying – and you must tweak your CV each time you send it out to ‘speak’ to each employer who will read it;
- Attend to your online presence. Open a LinkedIn profile (free of charge) and keep it up to date. Post things that matter to your chosen profession in your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles. Think of social media as having job-searching benefits. Look at how others in your LinkedIn network are using their profiles to promote themselves;
- Tell people you’re looking for work and what kind of work you would be good at – tell colleagues, friends, people you’re involved with in sports organisations; in short, anyone who a) can vouch for you and b) might know where there are opportunities in the offing. There is persistent research that referrals are the most powerful way of getting jobs, yet very few people seem to feed their network to generate those referrals;
- Knock on doors. Turn up and let the employer know you’re keen. It won’t work with every employer, but you’d be surprised how many employers say that no-one ever comes to their door with a CV. Smaller employers are regularly overlooked in this way;
- Make a decision to fraternise with positive people during this time. Avoid those who are convinced ‘the country is bunched.’ You only need one job. Focus on getting that, and give the prophets of doom a wide berth;
- Consider going a little further in your job search. How about creating your own personal brand? It could be a website, in your own name, that houses your Twitter and Facebook feeds (again, we urge you to look at the job-hunting and professional benefits of social media platforms). Perhaps make a simple YouTube video extolling the specific benefits you would bring to a company. Don’t become desperate, but do show prospective employers that you take your career seriously and that you have gone the extra mile;
- Assemble a list of recruitment companies and job websites in your area. Study all of them to see the best way to access them – don’t just blitz them with your CV. It is preferable to make one good approach a day than ten bad ones;
- Join a Jobs Club, and be the one there who ‘pushes things on’ so that the group members motivate each other;
- Check all the other usual places – local and national newspapers and radios, FAS website, and even supermarket notice boards for certain jobs.
Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Dublin and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. You can also obtain their free eBook providing Job Searching Tips by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with Job Searching eBook in the subject line. More: www.slinuacareers.com