With more than 30 years’ experience, from washing dishes in a restaurant to running multi-million pound companies, our guest editor gives her advice on how to get that job you want!
Hone your profile
The CV is still really important when it comes to looking for a job and even the coolest start-up or quirkiest business will want to see one. Write it, edit it, edit it again and let other people see it to offer constructive criticism. Tailoring it to each job you apply for is also a great thing to do. Focus on the skills, experience and qualifications you have that are directly mentioned in any job advert. If you are posting your CV online, use keywords or phrases so your profile comes up in searches. It is also a good idea to check your privacy settings on your social media as some companies conduct checks and you don’t always want that bikini picture to be the first thing an employer sees (or maybe you do!) Every time you send your CV off for a job interview it should be different. No job is the same so no application should be either. Use key words from the advert and answer their questions. You’ll have WAY more success if you do this.
Use your contacts
The old saying of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is still relevant when it comes to finding a job. Speaking to family, friends, businesses, Facebook groups, connecting with people on LinkedIn and joining professional societies are brilliant ways of meeting new people. You never know, that connection you made six months ago at a party could bag you your next job. For a lot of people, the idea of attending a networking event is terrifying (it is for me) but careers events and job fairs can be a way of meeting new employers in a safe environment. It’s also an opportunity to meet other job seekers and sharing experiences can be a valuable process as you look for your next career move. Speak to everyone and anyone, and you never know whose path you will cross. What helped me was not looking at it as ‘networking’ but seeing it as a chance to learn from them, ask questions and to build relationships with people I like.
Take the initiative
Lots of the adverts you find online are out of date so don’t waste time trawling through pages of search results – go direct. Seek out the companies you want to work for and contact them with a CV and awesome covering letter or email. Tell them why you want to work for them and in what role. That’s the way I’ve got every job I’ve ever looked for.
You just never know, they may be about to advertise but your knock-out skills will have blown them away already. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get through the door, keep an eye on their website and Twitter feed and as soon as there is an opening, speak to them again.
The fact that you actively sought employment from them and are genuinely interested in their company can only work in your favour.
It’s the kind of thing that fellow employers and bosses tell me is something they really appreciate in candidates – hunger to nail that job.
If you want to move into a slightly different sector or are finding your lack of experience is standing in your way, try looking for some temp work in that field, offer to do an internship or volunteer for a few weeks. If your skill set isn’t quite matching the jobs you want, then look at doing a short vocational course at college. All of this will show an employer you are conscientious and serious about the roles you are applying for.
Be positive & brave
We have all been turned down for dream jobs, but it’s how you deal with those setbacks that sets you apart. Looking for a job can take a long time, is completely normal and doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. Staying upbeat is so important – employers want positive people.
Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs which on paper you aren’t ‘qualified’ for. A lack of experience is often subjective anyway as many skills you possess are easily transferable and can be used in different fields.
Employers will be pleased to see you are adaptable, even if you don’t have
the exact skills they are seeking. Let’s face it: if Donald Trump can become President of the United States, thereis hope for us all.