With so many people looking for work, how do you stand out from the crowd and really get yourself noticed? Have a read of my job hunting tips to find out.
1. Get networking
More jobs come up through people you know or connections you've made than just from adverts. So get yourself on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and maybe even start blogging. Make it known you are looking for work and advertise your skills.
Try to attend networking evenings if you can too. Local business associations should be able to tell you if and when networking events are taking place.
2. Brush up your CV
It sounds obvious, but if your CV isn't spot on you'll fall at the first hurdle. For help getting it up to scratch, have a look at the DirectGov website. A few general rules:
- It shouldn't be longer than two A4 pages
- Make sure if you include an email address it sounds professional (firstname.lastname@example.org will not go down well)
- Use a straightforward and clear format and font
- Check and re-check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors - they won't look good.
- Including some personal information about hobbies is fine, particularly if they are relevant to the role, but don't go overboard. Your employer isn't going to care that your passion in life is your dog Alfie.
It's another obvious point, but one which people still seem to overlook. You can tweak your CV for each and every job you apply for if you want, and you should always make sure it is as relevant as possible.
The same goes for the covering letter - don't send the same one to different employers and definitely, definitely don't send one to various people at once with all the email addresses in full view - it looks incredibly unprofessional.
Make sure you know the name of the person to send your application to. If the advert doesn't state one, phone up and ask - it's always better to direct your email to someone personally. But make sure you spell their name right!
4. Hone your interview skills
Interviews are always a bit nerve wracking, and the interviewer will expect you to be nervous, but you can't let nerves get the better of you. Practice interview conditions with a friend and concentrate on maintaining eye contact and trying not to fidget.
Make sure you are well prepared - about the company, the role, and any current affairs which could be relevant. Be sure to have some questions for the interviewer too - it'll show you've really given the job, and the employer, some thought.
5. Don't sit on your laurels
Job hunting is hard and you might not find your dream opening straight away, but be productive with your time. Don't spend every waking second applying for jobs or you'll go mad.
Why not volunteer in a similar role to the career you want? Or perhaps start learning a new language - there are free beginners courses on the BBC website. Both will look great on your CV and shows you're keen and proactive.
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