Things You Can Do to Set the Odds in Your Favour
You've heard it said before, when you're out of work, job hunting should be your job. It's all very well being committed to finding a job and making contact everywhere you can, but sometimes you have to do things that will stack the odds in your favour and give you the edge over other potential candidates or applicants.
There are quite a few things you can do to enhance your visibility and make sure you are in an employer's or recruiter's mind ahead of other people.
Work at getting your job. The reason you've heard the saying before is because it's true. Treat your job hunting like a job in itself. Take your normal 40 hour working week and, as far as is reasonable, apply it to looking for work opportunities. Manage your time just as you would if you were in employment. Decide how much of your day should be spent generating leads, how much you should use making initial contact with new prospective employers and how much you spend following up on applications and previous contacts.
Follow up your initial contact. Sending an application into an internet black hole will likely never get you an interview. Spend time finding out who the contacts are that you need to speak to. Try company websites, networking sites like LinkedIn and even calling the reception desk at a company to get a hold of names and phone numbers. Making personal contact after a written application is vital if you want the employer to move your CV or resume to the top of their inbox. Sometimes the call you make will be the only spur for a hiring manager to even pick up your application.
Do your homework on the company you've applied to. If you land that all-important interview, and even in a follow-up call, you'll want to be able to demonstrate that you understand the company, their line of business and what sets them apart from the competition. Company websites are a great place to get started in this area but don't forget to look for news articles either online or in your daily newspaper that may be of relevance to the company or their market sector. Start a cuttings library either in a paper file or in a folder on your computer and store relevant articles and cuttings there so you can read up before an interview.
Organise yourself and your correspondence. If you are treating your job hunting as a job, you'll be generating lots of actions, contacts and follow-ups every week. To be able to easily follow up an application or to call someone back about a role, you'll need to have records that allow you to quickly get up to speed with the opportunity, what you sent them in your application and the names of the individuals you need to make contact with. Try using this information to set yourself a follow-up schedule in the form of a to-do list so you know who you need to speak with and about what jobs on what days.
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Understand what skills and knowledge you have that are transferrable. Transferrable skills are those that can be applied generically in any industry sector. For example, you may be an excellent communicator, you may have project management experience or IT knowledge. These can be applied to more than one industry sector so make sure you can talk about them and how they can be applied to the roles you're interested in.
Lastly, try and maintain a professional image and work on your appearance while you're out of work. It's easy to just relax and let yourself go a little when you're not being pressed to go to work and appear professional every day. Try using some of your spare time to work out a bit more so you look and feel fitter. Make sure you're always clean and presentable, after all, you never know when you might get an opportunity to move immediately and meet a prospective employer. You might even meet one while you're out doing something completely unrelated.
Setting the job hunting odds in your favour is all about putting in the work, doing your homework, maintaining contact and visibility and ensuring you're ready to move to interview at any point. Treating your search for work seriously and giving it the time and effort that it ultimately requires is the most important action you can take to set yourself apart from other applicants. The professionalism of your approach will shine through in your application and subsequent contacts, marking you out as the professional they are looking for.
Article Added: 10/03/2014
Posted By: Paul Docherty