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Apr 232010
 
Job Seekers

Image by John McNab via Flickr

Finding a job in today’s employment market is hard work. To increase your chances of success, it pays to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, and a well-thought out plan of how you’re going to go about getting it before you dive in.

1. Know what you want

If you want to find the right job, the first thing you need is a clear idea of the area you want to work in. This could be a broad career discipline… like marketing, accounts or computer programming; or maybe you want to work in a particular industry, like pharmaceuticals, food or manufacturing. If you don’t really know what you want to do, try making a list highlighting the things you like doing, or that you feel are particular strengths. Now look at your list, and consider what sort of career might dovetail with your list of preferences and strengths.

Once you have a high level idea of the area you’d like to work in, refine it a step further by researching various job titles in your area of interest to see which roles are a good fit with your skill set, your temperament and your personal development goals… you want something fulfilling that will stretch and challenge you, and that will allow you to grow and progress.

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Mar 262010
 

image Sometimes the old ways really are still the best.

When it comes to job hunting it’s easy to get beguiled by the shiny-new allure of the Internet.

Online jobs boards list a whole host of vacancies in easy to navigate, searchable categories. They make short-listing suitable jobs a breeze, and will even notify you by e-mail when new jobs are posted that match your chosen keywords.

Professional web-based social networks like LinkedIn, and even less formal networks like Facebook and Twitter let you highlight your range of skills and expertise, and can act as a sort of living, breathing CV, helping you to connect with potential employers and giving you the inside track on upcoming vacancies.

There’s no doubt that the internet is an invaluable resource when it comes to your quest for a new job… but it’s important to remember that it’s not the only show in town.

The internet doesn’t replace traditional job-seeking tools and techniques, it serves to augment and enhance them. It ads several strings to the proverbial bow, but if you’re focussing all of your job seeking efforts online, you could be missing out on some of the best job opportunities out there.

Newspapers and periodicals

Newspapers… local, regional and national… can be excellent sources of new vacancies, and not all of the companies listing their jobs in newspapers will necessarily be advertising online. It’s always worth checking both regular newspaper listings and you’ll find specialist job newspapers available in most areas. Magazines focussed on your particular area of interest may also dedicate a section to ads for job vacancies.

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Feb 112010
 
Virtual Resume & Letter

Image by Olivier Charavel via Flickr

While economies around the globe lumber painfully out of recession, and there are signs of improvement on the jobs front, finding and getting the right job for you in today’s market is still incredibly challenging. With spring around the corner now is the perfect time to break out the metaphorical duster and give your job-seekers tool kit a much needed spring clean. It may be just the edge you need to land your perfect job.

Polish that CV

When was the last time you took a good long look at your CV to make sure it’s both up-to-date and up-to-scratch? Fish it out now, and go through every little detail to make sure it’s accurate and current. Don’t forget that both the information and the way its presented needs to be tailored to the sort of jobs you’re looking for. If you’re looking for more than one type of job, you probably need more than one type of CV — so create templates for each based on your generic master copy to suit the jobs you want to apply for.

Contact your referees

If you’ve listed references on your applications or have mentioned that they’re “available on request” on your CV, take a few moments to actually make contact with your nominated referees and let them know that you’re looking for a job. That way any request for a reference won’t come “out-of-the-blue”, and they’ll be more prepared to deliver that glowing reference that will set you apart from other candidates. Are the references you have listed the best ones… are are their contact details up-to-date, or would you be better off replacing some of them entirely? Continue reading »

Nov 022009
 
job hunting

Image by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr

Looking for work in a suppressed economy can be more than just an uphill struggle… it can be a soul-destroying experience. Unless you approach it with the right attitude, the inevitable knock-backs will chip away at your self-confidence and erode your self belief to dangerously low levels.  It’s a vicious circle… if you don’t believe in yourself, what are the chances of an employer believing that you’re the right person for the job?

Staying strong and maintaining your focus in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds can be difficult. It’s important to remember that not getting a particular job, or even an interview, isn’t the end of the world… nor is it necessarily a negative reflection of your skills, ability or experience relative to the role. There are literally thousands of things that influence an employers decision on who and who not to hire. In an incredibly over-populated labour market employers are inundated with tidal wave of applications for practically every vacancy they advertise. Not getting a job offer at the end of the process is the de-facto standard when it comes to job-hunting, and in a recession it’s ten times worse.

If you’re looking for work, and are starting to lose your enthusiasm, here are a few things you can try to help keep your spirits up when the inevitable knock-backs come.

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Jun 192009
 
US Whig poster showing unemployment in 1837

Image via Wikipedia

Today around the world thousands of people just like you are losing their jobs.

It’s an enduring, if unpalatable fact that due to the economic circumstances we’re living through workers are being made redundant through no fault of their own. That’s generally accepted, and being made redundant in itself won’t necessarily tarnish your impeccable employment record. But when it comes to your CV, just how much leeway do you have? What’s an acceptable gap between periods of employment, and when does the dreaded label of "long term unemployed" start to rear its head?

Six months! That’s the magic number, according to research carried out in Britain recently.

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) surveyed more than 1,000 managers on the topic. The results show that being unemployed doesn’t carry the stigma that people losing their jobs so often fear. At least not at first. In fact more than 80% of them said that the current employment status of applicants was completely irrelevant, as they didn’t consider it an accurate reflection of ability or performance given the current climate of mass redundancies.

But there is a limit to this benign outlook: spend six months or more out of work and a quarter of employers say they’d be less likely to give you a job, considering you to be "long-term-unemployed" at that point. Of course it’s not as cut and dried as that: studying for relevant vocational or academic qualifications, getting involved in voluntary work or perhaps pursuing your own entrepreneurial enterprise in the interim can bridge the gap, and demonstrating that you’ve been keeping up-to-date with developments in your industry while out of work can also help your credibility.

The ILM also warns those who’ve lost their jobs against splashing some of their redundancy cash on an extended career break; managers typically described candidates taking a gap year to travel or volunteer overseas as "unattractive" in the poll.

"Unemployment isn’t necessarily an indicator of ability, especially in the current climate when hundreds of talented individuals are being made redundant through no fault of their own," explained Penny de Valk, chief executive of ILM. "The good news is that most employers will treat unemployed applicants exactly the same as other candidates.

"The research shows that it is important for job seekers to try and get back to work as quickly as possible. They should use their time not only job hunting but finding ways to put themselves in front of the competition. The most effective way for job seekers to boost their future employment prospects is to play to their strengths, freshen up their knowledge and skills and keep up to date with developments in their sector," she added.

When you’ve been made redundant, picking yourself up and getting into the right frame of mind to look for work can take time – and in one of the most competitive job markets in decades finding a new job can be a long and drawn out process. So start early, and stay focussed. It’s tough out there — and that six month window identified by the ILM could slam closed much sooner than you think!

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