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Whether you are looking for that next career move or have been made redundant and need to find a new position, the following tips and advice have been put together to guide and assist you.
One of the first things you need to do is to make sure that your CV is up to date and presentable. Your CV should be no more than 3 pages long and should be presented on good quality white paper.
Think of your CV as a marketing tool. It should be inviting and interesting to the reader and should include your personal details and contact information, details of your education, a summary or profile, a list of the companies you have worked for including dates from and to, and a short description of your responsibilities. You may also want to include your hobbies and interests along with names and contact details of references. Your CV should NOT include; reasons for leaving, any negative comments about your job or the companies you have worked for.
As well as a hard copy of your CV you may also want to think about having an online version. This can be done either by creating your own web site or adding your CV on to your LinkedIn profile. You can then send the link to prospective employers or recruitment agencies. (If you do not have a LinkedIn profile you can easily and quickly create one by going to www.linkedin.com see below for further information about LinkedIn).
Things to remember when creating your CV:-
· Keep it down to a maximum of 3 pages
· Cover any gaps in your career (include voluntary work, time spent caring for a child/relative etc)
· Make sure your profile/summary is compelling and interesting
· Ask someone to proof read it for you for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes
· Include your transferable skills
· Re-visit your CV often. Update it with any new skills
· Consider having 2 CV’s if you find yourself applying for 2 different types of job
· Never lie on your CV
· Use good quality paper
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site with over 50 million members. It allows you to connect with trusted contacts and also search hunderds of jobs that are advertised via agencies and direct by hiring companies.
By setting up a profile on LinkedIn, you can expand your network of contacts and increase your chances of finding a job as many opportunities on LinkedIn are not advertised anywhere else. You can also add sound bites from your references to your profile to add more credibilty.
Things to remember when setting up your LinkedIn profile:-
· Keep your LinkedIn profile regularly up-dated and refreshed
· Use a professional photograph. Head and shoulders works best
· Only add people you know to your professional network
· Ask for endorsements/referrals to add credibility to your profile
· Join groups that are appropriate to your skill set
It’s vitally important that you stay focused when looking for a job. One easy way to manage this is to create a separate e-mail address used exclusively for your job searching. This way you wil be focused on the task in hand and not be distracted by e-mails from friends etc whilst you are job hunting. Remember, if you are out of work, looking for a job should become your full time job.
Things to remember to help you stay focused:-
· Set up a separate e-mail address purely for your job searching
· Have an action plan
· Keep a diary and a ‘to do’ list
· Prepare for rejection, but don’t let it get you down. Learn from it and move on
· Research growth markets
· Make looking for a job your full-time job. Manage your time and be disciplined with yourself
· Smile J A positive outlook brings positive results! Never, never give up!
Applying for Jobs
The last year or so has been difficult for the job seeker and it’s been particularly tough for those candidates that have been made redundant. It takes much more effort to look for a job in the current market and consequently it’s easy to apply for jobs that you are not qualified for. However this is never a good idea as will make you look desperate and unfocused. It’s far better to concentrate your time on those positions that you do have the skills for and searching out the unadvertised jobs using your LinkedIn contacts or other networking contacts. You could also send speculative CV’s to employers that you know look for people with your skills even if they aren’t advertising, as you never know when opportunities will arise.
Things to remember when applying for jobs:-
· Keep your cover letter to just one page and a few paragraphs
· Draft some template cover letters
· Follow up any CV’s you send, it shows how interested you are in the role
· Be proactive in your search, don’t wait for opportunities to come to you
· Never use your work e-mail address to apply for jobs
· Set up a professional voice mail message on your answerphone
· When searching the job boards, don’t just search recent jobs. Positions that are hard to fill stay open longer
· Send speculative CV’s to employers even if they are not advertising
· Make sure you spell the persons name correctly that you are sending your CV to
· Be as flexible as possible on location. If you are willing to travel or re-locate there will be more opportunities open to you
Once you have secured an interview, you need to make sure you are fully prepared.
Remember, first impressions do count and most people make a decision about whether a candidate is suitable for the job within the first few minutes of meeting them. You can never be over prepared for an interview. The more you know about the company and the person who is interviewing you the better.
Things to remember when attending interviews:-
· Research the company thoroughly before attending the interview. When was the established? Who owns it? Who are the key personnel? What are their main products/services?
· Find out as much as you can about the person interviewing you (use LinkedIn)
· Always send a thank you letter or e-mail to the person who interviewed you
· Dress appropriatley for the job you are being interviewed for
· Do a ‘dummy run’ of the journey before your interview
· Keep eye contact with the interviewer and always look interested
· Arrive in plenty of time
· Never say negative things about your previous company, boss or work colleagues
· Make notes during the interview to refer back to if invited for a second meeting
· Tell the interviewer why you think you would be good for the job
· End the meeting with a firm handshake and a smile
· If offered a telephone interview, speak clearly, be upbeat and listen
· Never lie at an interview. If you don’t know the answer be honest and say so
· Practice for the interview. Use role paly with a friend or colleague
· Get an early night before your interview. Arive fresh with a clear mind
· If they are looking for a particular skill that you don’t have, say you are willing to be trained or cross-trained, even if it’s at your own expense
· If asked to do a presentation, keep it simple and learn your subject
Once a verbal job offer has been made and accepted you will receive a written offer from the company confirming the salary and detailing any benefits. Never hand in your notice on the strength of a verbal offer. Always wait for the written offer and make sure you are happy with the terms and conditions of the contract before resigning.
Things to remember when a job offer is received:-
· Make sure you receive the offer in writing before handing in your notice
· Sign and return the contract as soon as possible
· Pre-warn your references to expect a call from your new employer
· Stay engaged and interested in your old job until the day you leave
Other Useful Tips:-
· Consider taking a temporary position or short term contract until you find the ‘right’ job
· Attend job fares or open days. Take along several copies of your CV to give to potential employers
· Job searching is competitive. Be prepared to compete