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Creating a Winning Job Search Strategy

17th Mar 2021

Effective job strategies can make all the difference to helping you to find the best opportunities out there. With an increasingly competitive job market, it is not always as straightforward as putting in an application and getting an interview. Below are some of our top job search strategies to help you create your own job-hunting masterplan.

  1. What do you really want?

    Start by ‘interviewing’ yourself to find out what you really want. Ask yourself some key questions such as:
  • Why are you really looking to leave your current role? This is the push factor. It could be that you’re not feeling valued; your employer doesn’t offer you the opportunities you want; or maybe you have skills that are not being used that you wish were.
  • What do you enjoy most about your current role? Consider the things you love about your job and put these things top of your wish list when looking for a new role. It could be that you enjoy variety in a role, or an office environment, or being more independent and meeting with others on a daily basis.
  • What is it that you want from your career moving forwards? Is it a promotion? More room for creativity? A better work-life balance?
  • What company culture would suit you best? Company culture plays a critical part, and people need to think about the culture that would suit them. Often the culture of a workplace can have a far greater impact on job satisfaction than the actual job itself. Do you enjoy working for a large organisation or smaller, more dynamic company? Do you like high pressure and fast pace? Would you get bored in a gentler-paced job?
  1. Be prepared

    Once you know what is important to you in a future role, begin by highlighting all your relevant skills, interests and experience on a new Word Document or mind map.

    Working out what your main skills and interests are can really help narrow down your search results, helping you to focus on jobs that more closely match your abilities and interests.  

    Need help identifying your skills? Try carrying out a Skills Assessment or make a start at writing down what skills you have gained through education or training courses, or extra-curricular activities. Work experience and volunteering is also a great way to learn new skills, and you can even develop them at home learning from people around you. For example, if you play a sport, you’ll have most likely have picked up teamwork and leadership skills.
  2. Create a targeted application

    Instead of applying for every job vacancy with the same CV, you get much further by tailoring your CV to each company and job opening. Look at the job description and specification, does your CV mention any skills and experience they are looking for? If yes – make sure your CV and application match this. The more that you can demonstrate you can do the role, the better your chances of scoring it. But, if you find you fall short in a few areas, there’s nothing wrong with trying to apply anyway if you have at least 70% of the requirements — you never know what could happen! Quite often companies are aiming to find the most perfect candidate possible – which is often not reality. Or sometimes companies do not know exactly who they are looking for, but reading your CV may spark a realisation of skills they really need in their company.

    If you need help creating your CV, we offer over 19s in Dorset a free CV writing service which you can book in for through our website.
  3. Allow employers to find you

    When you have created your new CV, don’t keep it to yourself. You can post it online and let potential employers come to you. There are lots of great websites that you can post your CV on such as Indeed or Reed. Make sure you indicate clearly on your CV the type of work you are looking for and make it obvious what your experience and abilities are.
  4. Be proactive in approaching employers

    Spend time researching companies that you’d love to work for, and reach out to them by way of email or LinkedIn and let them know that you would be interested in speaking about opportunities that might exist now or in the future and why. It’s advisable to attach your CV when you take this direct approach so they can see what you could offer. Follow up with a phone call or email a couple of weeks later if you haven’t heard a response. It takes bravery to make such a direct approach, so it helps you to stand out and the employer may well remember you when if a suitable position becomes available.
  5. Network

    There are better odds for securing a job through networking than applying for vacancies posted online, with only around 25% of jobs being advertised. The term “hidden job market” is usually used to refer to jobs that are not publicly listed on job boards or elsewhere and the only way to access them is through networking or by having a recruiter reach out to you.

    Most networking doesn’t involve walking into a place filled with strangers and having to work the room. You can gradually build up a list of contacts in the industry you are interested in, join online networking opportunities, and become part of a supportive group. Follow up new contacts by email or on social media after an online or in-person event or meeting. Ask for help only when it's needed, such as asking for an introductory meeting with a manager in their company, and be prepared to offer help when it's asked of you.
  6. Keep going and stay positive

    It takes effort and persistence to secure a job you love, so you are bound to have some setbacks along the way. Keep focused but also take some time out and do something that will reenergise you, like a walk or some exercise. Make sure you have a good support system around you to get some help and feedback from others. Talk to your family and friends and get their thoughts or speak to a Careers Adviser at Ansbury Guidance for some professional feedback.

    Looking to stand out? Why not try some volunteering, work experience or do an online course to build skills and experience whilst you are looking for a new role. You never know where it might lead!