Top Tips for Job Hunting in The Credit Crunch.
In today’s competitive job market you need to be one step ahead. From writing the perfect CV to developing your IT skills, our guide tells you how to find the job you want and need, as unemployment figures are set to rise through 2016 it has become ever more important for you to be prepared and ahead of the competition.
Your Curriculum Vitae
Your CV is the first step in marketing yourself to potential employers. Many companies receive hundreds of applications, so it is vital that yours stands out from the crowd. Research shows that 50% of employers say design is the most important factor in making a CV eye-catching. When asked what would make them reject a CV, half said lack of relevant experience and a third said poor layout. Spelling mistakes and excessively long CVs were also cited. Janet McGlaughlin, a director at recruitment agency Pertemps that carried out the survey, offers the following advice on writing CVs.
1. Keep it short and simple. A CV should be no more than two pages. The information should be laid out clearly so it can be read at a glance.
2. Always tailor your CV to the job. Employers hate irrelevant information so never send a round-robin CV. Read the job description and person specification carefully and be selective about the information you include.
3. Write about your achievements, but don’t mention anything you are not too good at. Sell yourself, but be honest and factual. You will be asked to talk in more detail in an interview.
4. Never send a CV without checking your spelling and grammar. Don’t rely on computer spellchecks, check it yourself or get a friend to help. Think about the employer’s reaction if you have not even bothered to check your CV.
5. There is no such thing as a 100% perfect CV. It is down to the individuals who read it to decide what is important in a CV. They will have their likes, dislikes and preferences, which cannot be predicted. Don’t forget that a CV is only the first stage in the job-seeking process. Its role is to promote you and win an interview.
Using a recruitment consultant
Recruitment consultancies are the most popular way of finding a permanent job. The Gordon Yates/Guardian annual survey shows that 87% of companies and 89% of candidates use an agency. Peter Grace, MD at London-based recruitment consultants Gordon Yates, explains how to get the most out of an agency and how to build your skills base.
The right agency can:
1. Introduce you to a much wider range of job opportunities than would be available to you if you were going it alone.
2. Help you to select the right opportunities so that you don’t waste time chasing down blind alleys.
3. Brief you so that you arrive at interviews already knowing a lot about the company and the job on offer. You should take your interview with your selected agency as seriously as a job interview. The consultant you meet has the potential to move mountains on your behalf – if they believe in you.
Thereafter, try to nurture a sense of partnership with your consultant:
1. Prepare carefully for any interview arranged for you. Take note of the briefing your consultant gives you about the company, and carry out your own research.
2. Be punctual for your interview.
3. After your interview, give feedback to your consultant as promptly as possible.
4. Be receptive to your consultant’s feedback. Finding the right job is a step-by-step process.
5. Keep your consultant informed of any changes to your skills, search criteria, contact details, holidays and so on.
6. Take advantage of any computer training facilities offered by the agency to develop your skills.
Does your skill set match the needs of today’s job market?
Today’s job market is very competitive, but there are always great jobs out there. So more than ever, you really need to make sure your skills match employers’ needs.
1. Word, Excel and PowerPoint still dominate. In the past, it was sufficient to be able to use these to a reasonable level, but today’s employers expect more. Each of these packages has immense potential, and there is a strong demand for people who can really exploit their features to the full, especially in the case of PowerPoint.
2. Internet and website skills continue to grow in importance. The ability to use the web to access information is essential. The ability to contribute to website design and management can also be a key asset, particularly in smaller companies.
3. Other popular office packages include Access (database software), Sage (accounting software) and a wide range of graphics packages such as Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro. All of the above are potential job winners. Wherever you can, whenever you can, get as much training as possible and then use your newly won skills to consolidate the training.
The top five attributes listed as essential by today’s employers are:
1. Good communication skills
2. Good written English
3. Common sense
4. A positive attitude
Hone your PC skills, communication skills and written English, but don’t forget the importance of that positive attitude either.