Getting ready to start a job hunt?
Here are ten essential items that should feature in your jobseeker toolkit:
1. Focus – you need a clear direction to focus on so you can tailor your experience, qualifications and the skills you’re honing to fit within the field. By having a career goal you will avoid wasting time applying for positions where the recruiter/employer wouldn’t even consider you. You should also develop a target list of employers and companies that you would like to work for – and contact them!
2. Value – get clear about the skills that you have and the problems or challenges that you can solve for potential employers. Back this up with strong evidence and your top achievements – the proof of your past high performance and success.
3. Resume – avoid the boring, waffle-laden job descriptions in your resume. Write a clear, concise resume that illuminates your skills, experience and value. This can push you right through to the shortlist. Consider the services of a resume writer. A good resume writer will get you to think about your skills and achievements, and the clear reasons why you are suitable for the opportunities you’re targeting. It’s a great exercise in identifying your strengths and value.
4. LinkedIn – these days, everyone has a LinkedIn presence. And employers and recruiters make it their first point of call when they see your name on your application. It’s not enough to just have a LinkedIn profile – you need a healthy network of connections too. The principles of good networking still apply – be interesting, add value, don’t just sell stuff – and network in person too!
5. Cover letter – once an essential part of the recruitment process, the cover letter is now perceived as old hat. But don’t disregard it completely. In many cases, it’s still a very useful way of introducing yourself in an intelligent and compelling way – just kept it short and get straight to the point.
6. Referees – so many job seekers wait until the last minute to secure great references. Don’t be one of them. Select your references in advance and don’t forget to ask for their permission and inform them of the type of role you’re applying for.
7. Money – find out the market salary for the job you want. Talk to recruiters and ask them to assess your market worth. When the time is right, be sure you can talk comfortably about money without sounding like it’s your only motivation for moving jobs.
8. Applications – how and where exactly do people apply for jobs these days? You need up-to-date knowledge of the most popular online job boards and a strategy for reaching hiring managers directly. Not forgetting the magic ingredient – referrals. Let key people know you are looking and leverage that awesome network you’re building on LinkedIn and via industry.
9. Spreadsheet – create something to track your job applications and progress. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a hiring manager or recruiter ringing you about an application, but you have no idea about the job in question because you lost track of your applications.
10. Support – a good friend or mentor you can talk with about your job search is essential. Job hunting is hard and often takes a while, even for the best candidates. You are going to need support and strategies to help keep you motivated!
Above all, don’t be discouraged by silence or rejection. The nerves that come with interviews, phone calls and clicking ‘send’ on an application will lessen with practice. Reading job descriptions in your field will also increase your awareness of industry competition, how much importance other businesses place on certain roles and what your worth in the job market.