Whether you are currently working, had a recent change in employment, or just looking at the current job market there are several different avenues to explore for when looking for your next job.
Depending on personal preference and type of job desired, everyone has different experiences using the avenues.
Job adverts are the traditional method of job hunting and can be found on job boards, signs in shops or in regional and national newspapers.
Whether posted in a shop window, in a newspaper or on a job board, these job vacancies will usually specify how you can go about applying. The advert may ask you to fill out a formal application form or go online and fill out your details there.
If you are completing an application form for a job via an online form, remember to add sufficient information. Give detailed descriptions of the duties you have preformed, your experience gained and any other things relevant for a future employer.
When you see a job advert that you want to apply for remember to type up a fitting cover letter to send with your CV application. It is likely that the recruiter will have to sift through a number of applications to a well-written, descriptive cover letter which promotes you and your skill set can really set you apart from the rest.
There are a few different types of Recruitment Agencies to choose from - ‘General’ or ‘High Street’ agencies work across a variety of industries and place candidates into a broad range of job roles. ‘Specialist’ agencies introduce place people into specific industries i.e. Hospitality, Teaching or Construction (like us) so finding one that is relevant to your experience and career goals is important to how effective they can be for you. This type of agency is generally known as ‘Executive Search’ or sometimes coined “Head-hunters” and these tend to deal with senior and Executive positions.
Most agencies have a pre-qualification process that can range from a short, 15 minute informal meeting to in-depth interviews and assessment sessions which can include psychometric testing and other skills-based aptitude tests. These are generally for higher level positions but it is worth looking into their vetting process so that you don’t get caught by surprise.
When registering with your chosen agency make sure you give them enough information so they can promote you really well to their prospective clients and try to think of something that may set you apart from everyone else. Give the agent information about your strengths and areas you would like to develop; who you would like and wouldn’t like to work for as this helps them narrow down their clients to really find a job that will suit you.
Avoid putting all your eggs into one basket by registering with only one agency. Whilst you wouldn’t want to go for overkill it pays to register with a small number as they all tend to have strong relationships with different companies. This way you are getting a great, unbiased, view of the market and what is available to you.
Direct or ‘Speculative’ applications are the method of applying to a potential employer without first seeing an advert for a vacancy and is well worth doing if you know that you would like to work for that company as it shows them that you have taken a specific interest in them.
If you choose to go ahead with a direct application make sure that you find out whom to send you CV and cover letter to. Find this by a) phoning the office and asking who heads up the department. b) Running a quick search on the company website or LinkedIn to find the name of someone you think would deal with your application (you can always phone to check afterwards). This method is much better than simply addressing “Dear Sir/Madam...” – You’re not writing a letter to a teacher, if you want this job, prove it!
Use your knowledge of seasonal changes or changes in industry to your advantage when applying to a role. So, for example, if you want to work in a Retail environment, mention any upcoming seasonal changes (Easter, Christmas Sales etc) to help show the employer how useful you can be to them.
The ‘Direct’ approach can be a little hit or miss as, if it is a large firm you are applying for they may get a number of applicants asking for work so a good way of coming across less insidious is to ask for help with employment or a meeting with someone for how you can get into your chosen industry/job role.
Networking is a great tool in career and contact building. Whether attending Chamber of Commerce meetings or just going to a business breakfast the art of networking is a great way to meet new people and find potential business leads.
Whilst this is not a direct method of applying to a job, networking can open up your circle of contacts and can eventually either help you find a job or can generate you business in the future.
Networking events can be a great confidence builder as, whether you are a graduate starting out, or a seasoned Executive, attending networking events and meeting new people can stretch the comfort zone.
Feel free to share your thoughts, experiences and suggestions on this subject, and if you are considering new opportunities then head over to our Toolkit where you will find an extensive list of current vacancies as well as some other helpful guides and templates (including CVs!!).