As many of us know only too well, finding employment can be a job in itself. Today’s job market is a world away from the days of turning up on site and being hired or swinging by your local shops with a bunch of CV’s to drop in.
Nowadays, searching and applying are done online, for the most part, and the market itself is more competitive than ever, with employers expecting you to demonstrate knowledge of company history and to buy into being a ‘company person’.
In turn, many employers refuse to offer feedback on unsuccessful applications and interviews, and in a lot of cases, don’t take the time to let applicants know they’ve been unsuccessful. It’s definitely an employers’ market as things stand.
Then there’s the bits that come before job searching and applying – confidence and anxiety, skills, deciding on a career path, sorting out interview clothes…there’s a lot to factor in. Sometimes, job searching can seem like an impossible task, particularly after a series of knock backs.
There are things you can do to improve your chances and put you ahead of the pack!
Joe Cicero our Employment Officer has prepared the following 7 top tips for job searching success based on our work with job seekers in the community over the years.
Have a read and get in touch with us if you’re looking for support with anything mentioned in the list.
1. Deciding on a career path
A lot of people we work with are unsure about what it is they actually want to do for a living. This can result in putting off applying for jobs, or settling for a job you don’t enjoy. Deciding on a career path is the first step to job seeking.
Think about what you’d really enjoy doing and take steps to make it happen.
Want to work in construction? You’ll need a CSCS card and a bit of site experience to get started.
Want to work in office administration? You’ll need to know your way around a computer, be able to demonstrate your organisational skills and again, demonstrate some experience.
Be careful to keep it real though – it’s probably not a good idea to get into construction to see out the last ten or so years of your working life given the physical nature of the work and long hours spent in all weathers for example.
It’s a good idea to pick two or three different careers to aim for to allow for elimination. If you’re really stuck, try Careers Wales’ Job Matching Quiz.
Once you’ve settled on a career path, whether it’s retail or rocket science*, make it your focus to work towards your goal in your job searching and upskilling. That said, you may want to consider quicker, short-term employment to keep your head above water while you progress along your career journey.
*’Rocket science’ is actually a much abused misnomer, as the correct term is in fact ‘rocket engineering’. You engineer rockets, you don’t science them. Word.
2. Confidence, anxiety and self-esteem
Some of our participants come to us with confidence and anxiety issues which are preventing them from throwing themselves into applying for jobs.
ECLP runs regular, local stress control courses which can help with confidence and anxiety issues around job searching and preparing to enter the workplace. We’ve had success stories from participants who have been inspired to begin job searching, breezed through interviews and have learned to cope better with work-based stress.
Get in touch with ECLP to find out about our stress control courses.
3. Get your CV and cover letters nailed down!
We all have a decent idea of what a basic CV looks like.
Contact details, brief profile, skills and achievements, work history, education history and outside interests. The trick is making the most of what you have to offer in terms of skills and experience as briefly as possible in relation to the position you are applying for.
This last point is very important and the same goes for your cover letters. Read the job advert thoroughly and look for the key attributes required. Words like ‘team player’, ‘flexible’ and fast-paced in the initial job ad, however short it is, are your clues to what type of person the employer is looking for.
Rearrange your profile to hit each of the attributes mentioned. Do the same with your cover letter, particularly when applying for a job where your CV is not required.
Once you get into this way of thinking, writing cover letters becomes easy.
ECLP is here to help get you started.
4. Previous experience and transferable skills
If you have previous experience in similar roles, don’t hesitate to make a big deal of it both on your CV and at interview.
Be sure to highlight any additional responsibilities that show you are trustworthy such as key holding or cash handling, or any achievements that show your ability such as Employee of the Month or suggestions for more efficient ways of working that may have been taken on board.
If you are going for a job in a new field, think transferable skills – duties carried out previously that are relevant to the new role if not directly asked for e.g. dealing with customers in a call centre setting relates to customer care in a retail setting and multitasking in a production environment relates to dealing with a variety of tasks in an office administration role.
5. Filling in gaps in employment, knowledge and experience
Employers do view significant gaps in employment as a potential concern. There are smart ways to account for these. If you have been raising a family, you can draw on the skills required to do this successfully such as managing school work, household budgeting and cleaning.
If you’re really struggling to fill the gaps, it’s a good idea to enrol on free courses such as those run by ECLP and/or Cardiff Council’s Into Work Services. Manual handling, first aid at work, computer training etc. all look good on your CV and demonstrate that you are actively improving your chances of finding work.
We have lots of courses starting in September 2017, here are a few examples:
Computers and the Internet for Beginners
Play and Child Development
ECLP also offers funding for training to get into the career of your choice.
We regularly enable people to obtain the qualifications and licenses required to get started in various sectors. We can also arrange work experience or volunteering positions in the field of work you’re interested in to gain valuable experience.
6. Smart job searching
Job hunting is a two-way process these days. You have the opportunity to put your CV out there for employers to find in addition to you searching for suitable positions.
Make sure you’ve got your shiny new CV registered with the usual suspects – http://indeed.com, http://totaljobs.co.uk and http://monster.co.uk as well as Universal Job Match if you’re in receipt of benefit.
If you use social media, check out the ECLP Job Seekers Facebook group which is updated every Friday with all the job adverts we receive from various sources. ECLP can supply you with a full list of smart job search locations, as well as help you with registering and getting your CV uploaded.
ECLP can supply you with a full list of smart job search locations, as well as help you with registering and getting your CV uploaded.
7. Completing application forms and preparing for interviews
Some people find filling in application forms and going for interviews easy. For the rest of us, the process can be daunting. ECLP
For the rest of us, the process can be daunting. Don’t worry though, ECLP Communities First are on hand to help you.
As well as supporting you with all we’ve already mentioned, we can help you with
- Traditional and online application forms to practising interview techniques like getting your nerves under control and keeping focused when answering questions.
- Interview clothes and travel costs, taking away practical worries and helping you to perform your best on the big day.
Feeling Inspired? This is how you get in contact and keep up to date.
Phone: 02920 778128
Schoop ID: 58560
We’re here to work with you…