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Ten ways to improve your job search
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Ten ways to improve your job search

Posted on 18 December 2018

Looking for a new job can be an ordeal, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are well prepared, you can easily manage the whole process and be rewarded with your dream job in the end.

First and foremost you need to be 100% sure you are ready to move on as looking for a new role can be a full-time job in itself and quite involved. You’ll most likely have to manage your diary so you can set aside time to meet agencies and employers directly, as well as taking phone calls from both. The whole process is quite a commitment, so make sure you’re prepared for it and have solid reasons for looking to move on.

1. Get your resume ready

Have your resume properly prepared and formatted with all jobs listed with the correct start and finish dates, including the month as employers are very interested in these specifics. Also, make sure that your most recent position is the first one on your resume. Your resume serves as the first impression to both employers and recruiters, so get it right!

2. Manage Job Boards carefully

It can be very tempting and easy to apply for multiple roles via online job boards. However, some of these jobs may be with the same agency and it can be detrimental to your long-term job search if you’re seen to be applying for a large number of roles that are quite different.

You can be seen as applying for jobs for the sake of it rather than looking carefully for a role that matches your skillset. If you do receive a callback, you need to have valid reasons for your interest in this role to come across as a genuine candidate. Your motivation for the role is a key factor in the early stages of the process.

3. That first phone call is crucial

You’ve put your resume out there and now the phone calls start coming in. Recognise that the first phone call is a very important interaction where your first impression is crucial. You need to ensure that you conduct this call in a professional manner, expressing both knowledge and interest in the role and the company.

Tip* If you have a novelty voicemail message, it’s a good idea to change this before expecting calls from future employers.

4. Record every application you make

Whether applying directly or through a recruitment agency, make sure you list all of the companies that your resume has been sent to. As a candidate, you need to have full control of where your resume goes and full knowledge of where it has gone. Companies may try and hire directly as well as using a number of agencies. If your resume turns up on the hiring manager’s desk from two different agencies, there’s a chance that this will cut from you from that process.

You should advise recruiters that you have already applied for that job directly or that another recruiter is representing you for that role. Equally, if you are approached about a role from a recruiter that you have already applied for directly, don’t be tempted to reapply with representation as you’re not able to be represented once your application is already with the company.

5. Don’t underestimate the importance of agency interviews

If meeting with a recruitment agent, treat this meeting with the same respect and preparation as a direct employer interview. The best candidates and the ones that agencies are willing to represent and bend over backwards for are the ones who are in corporate attire and treat the meeting with the seriousness that it requires.

Agencies are far more likely to be confident in representing you as a candidate if you prepare appropriately. Candidates are an extension of the recruitment agent’s reputation. That first impression will have a knock-on effect on how well they can represent you to the hiring managers.

6. Be available

After meeting with an employer or a recruiting agent, make sure you are available to take calls. It’s important that you are easily contactable and return messages quickly to ensure a good relationship and you don’t miss out on the best jobs.

Recruitment is very fast paced so extra information might need to be obtained quickly. It’s good practice to agree on the best form of communication with your recruiting agent so nothing is missed.

7. Be flexible

When you progress to the interview stage, try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate your potential new employer’s requirements. Be prepared to come into your existing workplace a bit earlier so you can leave earlier, or have a longer lunch break to fit in an interview with a prospective employer.

8. Be transparent

It really helps to be transparent with anything that could affect you in your job search. Things like holidays booked are important to know. Also, be honest with your recruiting agent where you are with your own process. Whether you are at 3rd stage interviews with other roles or starting at square one, make them aware, these situations can help you in certain circumstances.

9. Manage your agency engagement

Engaging with too many agencies, especially within areas where there are smaller job markets can be a negative for you as it increases the likelihood of your resume being put forward twice for the same role without gaining the advantage of having access to more roles.

Choose an agency that’s a specialist in the type of work you’re looking for, and that you trust, as they will be more likely to understand your position and the marketplace.

10. Have credible references ready

It’s a good sign for a hiring manager or recruiting agent when you provide your references up-front and they are from your current and previous job from your direct line manager.

If you’re a graduate, then have your transcripts on hand as most hiring managers will want to see proof of this.

Tip* Avoid peer references if possible.

Treat everyone that you meet with respect and take on board any advice and feedback you receive along the way as this is designed to help you get the job you want.

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