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How to find a new job
Are you looking for a new job? What's the best way to go about it? How do you start a job search? How does a recruitment agency work, and how do you register? How do you send a CV that lands you an interview and gets you hired?
These are just a few of the things that you might have to deal with when you start your job search, we are going to cover them, and more, below.
Step 1 - How to write a Killer CV and cover letter.
Your CV and covering letter will be the most pivotal part of your initial job search. Most hiring managers and recruiters will see your CV before they meet you face to face and a lot will make a snap call there and then based solely on that document, crazy right.
It's not hard to imagine, but Hiring Managers don't spend all day hiring, most are department managers, team leaders or HR professionals, and they have a whole other role to focus on. This is why you need to have an impactful, easy to digest CV and cover letter to help you avoid being overlooked. The same can be said for Recruiters as well, most recruiters will see 100's of CVs every day and most have become experts in picking out the best talent in a matter of seconds.
According to one industry survey, your CV may only have as few as six, yes SIX, seconds to make an impression. So please, please don't spend the first few lines telling up about how you like to go hiking up Ben Nevis at the weekend or playing alto sax in your spare time, we can get to that later on.
Your CV needs to start with a strong statement on what you can offer them and why they should hire you, and don't start it with something like "Dear Sir / Madam" or "To whom it may concern" this is your sales pitch at least have the common sense to do a bit of research and find out who it is you're sending your CV to.
The layout order of the content, font and overall design of your CV will also help you catch the eye of recruiters. This needs to be tailored to the role that you are applying for as well. There is no point in creating a flashy all singing all dancing video resume if you're applying for a job as a Tax Optimisation Expert at the HMRC, just like it might not be the best idea to just send a very dull, wordy, text-only CV to a job as a graphic designer. Remember you're selling yourself here.
If your CV does make the cut and makes it through the Hiring Managers "initial sift" you're going to want to make sure that you tailored your CV to that specific role. Having a scattergun approach and sending the same generic CV and cover letter out over and over again is not going to land you your dream job. Read the job spec very carefully, pick out the keywords and phrases. Highlight your qualifications, experience and skills that fit in with that role and company. Make sure that your goals are in line with the company's mission or vision statement, you'll usually find this on their website a little bit of research can go a long, long way.
Step 2- How to focus your job search and find the roles you want
Job hunting doesn't have to be hard, but that's not saying it's easy. It takes focus and dedication to get an interview and be offered a position. To stop your job search becoming frustrating there are a few things that you can do. Focus on one thing at a time, it might be tempting to answer email or scroll through the latest LinkedIn job posts while you're on the phone or watching TV, but this is not going to help you in the long run. Multi-tasking, in this case, could actually be slowing you down and making you less productive. If you want the best results focus on one task at a time, this way, you'll know that every step of your search has had 100% of your efforts.
- Make sure that you don't just skim read job descriptions. Take your time and take in every word. This will help you when you're tailoring your CV to make sure that it breezes past the ATS and straight into the shortlist for the role. Rushing through job specs will lead to you sending out subpar, generic job ads, and we don't want that.
- You're going to get annoyed, it's inevitable, so know when to step away and have a break. After a certain point, you might be sending out emails and applications on autopilot, this will lead to mistakes and in the long run will hinder your job search. Taking a break will give you time to chill out, and with that, you may just come up with some fresh, new ideas. Try and consider where your job search might be going wrong. This can be hard, if you are sending what you think are top quality applications and not hearing back and getting interviews, something is going wrong.
- Be honest with yourself, re-evaluate your job search and figure out what's putting the brakes on you landing a new role. Are you getting to the first stage but not getting called back for a second stage interview? You'll need to brush up on that interview technique. Maybe you're applying for jobs that your CV says you're not qualified for. Finding the pain points in your job search will reduce your stress and help you fix what's going wrong.
- Being on the pulse of what's going on in your industry is key to your job search. Something could come up in an interview, and you may be able to give an insightful, industry-relevant answer, giving you the chance to impress a potential boss with your excellent industry knowledge. Keeping in touch with your industries goings-on could also motivate your job hunt by helping you remember just why you work in that industry. Follow industry blogs, news outlets and industry leaders online, read industry-related books, all these success stories can help you keep the fire alive in your job search!
Step 3 - How to keep your personal brand on point
Personal branding is what differentiates you and the next candidate. It could make you more hireable and sometimes more likeable than a candidate with the same qualifications as you. Now more than ever, hirers will type your name into google and see what comes up. This means that keeping your personal brand consistent across your social media pages as well as your CV and cover letter.
How to craft a brand/summary statement
Your branding statement or summary statement is a brief introduction to an employer that tells them about your skills, how you have used these skills in the past and, most importantly, what makes you unique. These are not objectives but a description of who you are to a potential employer. It's your chance to separate yourself from the pack and why you should be considered for the role.
How to get your brand online
You're going to want to demonstrate your new personal brand, and the best way to do this is to be active online and across multiple platforms. Keep it consistent, use the same profile picture and similar about me sections across profiles.
Make sure you update your profiles to show any upcoming projects and any achievements. If posting across several platforms seems like it would take up too much time, you can use a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer that can automate your posts across all of your profiles.
How to keep it professional
Your online profiles don't have to be filled up with business-related posts, the main point of your personal brand is to demonstrate that you are a person. Don't be afraid to post about your favourite hobbies, what you did at the weekend or express yourself. Try not to be unprofessional, you don't want potential employers to see your "rowdy" night pictures and too many political rants could be off-putting also. You want to show that you are someone who your potential future colleagues would love to be around all day!
How to get connected
Now you have an excellent personal brand across all of your social you're going to want to show it off. You're going to want to join some groups on LinkedIn to connect with other likeminded people in your field. Most social platforms let you upload your email contacts so that you can connect with the people that you know easily and quickly. Once you have a strong network, you can ask your friends to introduce you to other contacts that could be valuable to you. This will help you to build your network and online credibility. Following hashtags on twitter can help you stay up to date on subjects that you care about and find more people to network with.
How to make sure that you show your personal brand on your CV
Your online persona is now on point, but you also need to make sure that it's shown on your CV too. Don't be tempted to copy and paste the same generic branding statement onto each CV instead make sure that you tailor it to the job you are applying for making sure you include any relevant keywords from the job description. Make sure that while tailoring your CV, you still stick to your personal brand to make sure that you stand out.
When it comes to personal branding, make sure that you are creating a well-defined version of yourself across all platforms, build your social network and show how you could be of value to any potential hirers. BUT - through all of this make sure that you be authentic to you. You're not selling anything but showing your own unique point of view.
Step 4 - How to team up with a recruiter
Finding a new job isn't always easy. Sometimes you are going to need/want a little bit of help, and that's where a recruitment agency can come in handy.
Wherever you are in your career, having people that know your industry guiding you through your job search is going to make a huge difference when it comes to getting hired.
What is a Recruitment Agency!
That's us! - In the very simplest of terms, Recruitment businesses match candidates to job vacancies, working with companies directly to help fill their roles.
Recruitment Consultants find new opportunities, edit and optimise CVs and give advice to clients on the hiring process and to candidates to prepare them for their interview.
Making the whole job-seeking process easier.
How do recruitment agencies work?
Not all agencies work in precisely the same way, but the underlying processes are similar across the board. Initially, a company will give a role to the agency and the recruiters will then;
- Look at their current database to find candidates the match the role
- Advertise the position online to attract applicants with the right skills
- Reach out to their networks online and reach out to people with the right skills
How do I register with a Recruiter?
There are several ways that you can sign up to work with a recruiter. Many agencies will let you walk straight into the office and sign up, many ask you to sign up via their website (ours is here), or you can call and register over the phone (call us on 0161 839 5353).
Before registering with an agency, it's always worthwhile to have a look at their website to make sure that they have roles in or work in your industry and Some agencies don't have traditional shop fronts so meetings may have to be pre-arranged.
Agencies may also contact you to let you know about available roles and to register if your CV is registered in an online database such as a job board or social media site.
How to apply for a job through an agency
Recruiters may post their roles online; anyone can apply for these positions, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to sign up to the agency if you do. These roles that are advertised will be working for other companies, often the recruiter won't reveal who the company is in their advert.
Once you have applied your recruiter will act as the middleman between you and the hiring manager, by putting your CV forward and arranging interviews.
If you are selected for an interview, they will help you with interview preparation and provide you with as much information and, tips and pointers to help you secure the role. This could be vital information about the company and their interview process, directions to the client's site and what to wear on the day. This will help you walk into your interview feeling prepared for anything!
What advantages does using a recruitment agency give me?
Using a recruitment agency can give your job search a fantastic boost. Recruiters will often have built up lots of excellent relationship with employers in your industry, this will sometimes give you exclusive access to their jobs.
Other benefits of working with a recruiter:
- The recruiter can give you lots of great CV writing advice
- You will be coached to make sure that you are ready for your interview
- The recruiter will make sure that you get constructive feedback on your interview
- They will ensure that you are put forward to any relevant roles in your sector
What happens if I get offered the job?
Well done! You got the job offer! Your recruiter's work doesn't end there.
Your recruiter will work to make sure that you get the right offer for you, they will handle all the paperwork and make sure that your new employer has everything ready for your first day. It's in a recruiter's best interest to make sure that they find the right role for you and make the application process as simple as possible.
Step 5 - How to use job search apps and tools
What is a job board?
A job board is pretty much exactly what it is. Back before the internet, a job board was a physical board where new jobs could be posted. Now it refers to a website where jobs can be hosted, these sites can be general with roles across many sectors, seniorities and locations or they can be very niche covering one particular area. There are lots and lots of different job boards, but the market is dominated by a handful of "big players".
These online platforms can be as simple as a list of open roles and contact details to complete listing and application systems that allow you to apply directly from the site, sometimes with one click.
Recruiters will often post vacancies to job boards as a part of their service to their clients. The more advanced job boards will also let recruiters browse job seekers on the site so they can come to you with jobs you may not have seen.
What's that about social media?
Facebook has 2.4 billion active monthly users, Instagram 1 billion, LinkedIn 303 million and Twitter 330 million with numbers like this it's no surprise that advertisers are jumping on the social bandwagon and using them to find and attract talent, LinkedIn and Facebook even have their own dedicated job search and advertising functions.
LinkedIn also allows users to notify recruiters that they are looking for work and that they are open to being approached about potential new opportunities.
Where else can you search for a role?
As well as job boards and social media recruiters themselves will list jobs on their website (just like we do) Not only can you view jobs on our website we have a built-in application system, so your CV comes straight to a recruiter. Even better still, if you can't find the job you want you can set up job alerts that will tell you if the position, you're after gets listed.
With all of these advances in technology, it's never been easier to find a job.
Step 6 - How to prepare for your interview
Firstly, congratulations on being selected for an interview! You've gotten to this stage because, initially your recruiter, and then the hiring manager – with potentially a member of HR thrown into the mix – decided your background is a match for a role in their company.
When Bayden Powell first came up with his rule for life, it was clear, concise and covered all manner of situations. In interview terms, we've broken down this simple phrase.
What time should I arrive for my interview?
Some interviews fall by the wayside before they've even started. If you can't be punctual for an interview, it shows a lack of respect for the interviewer's time. Research the location on google maps, allow time for rush hour traffic if appropriate, And make a trial run if possible. There are, of course, unforeseeable circumstances that can hinder – such as a road accident nearby – make sure you let your recruiter know at the earliest possibility so they can prepare the client
How should I dress for a job interview?
'Dress for the job you want' is a phrase you'll hear from time to time. Generally speaking, that will mean turning up smart for an interview. Make sure you are dressed in a manner appropriate for your most formal day at work, freshly ironed and polished to a tee. If in doubt call the recruiter and hiring manager and ask.
What should I research?
Check out the company's website for information on their founders, projects and products. Most people have LinkedIn pages, so feel free to stalk your interviewers to see their backgrounds.
Start and Finish with a firm handshake. Maintain eye contact. Sit up straight. Be engaged.
What questions should I ask?
From your research, you should be able to gauge some questions about the organisation. Ask about the team, the role you're being asked to do and the next steps in the interview process. Avoid talking about money with a hiring manager, they generally want to connect with you on a personal level rather than a monetary basis. Ask open questions rather than yes/no questions. If you have 2 or 3 questions prepared before the interview, it shows you have taken an interest in their company and their position.
What is a competency-based interview?
A competency-based interview is a questions and answers session based on examples of your career to date. If you are a graduate, then base it on any school/college/university jobs or even something you have done on an educational course.
An excellent way to answer these questions is to use the STAR method. Have some examples of scenarios in your mind before the interview. If you have a job description, look at the key competencies and see how they relate to your prior experience.
The STAR Method
Situation – Set the scene
Describe the situation you found yourself in and how it came about. Make it concise and informative, concentrating on what is useful to the story.
What was the challenge you faced within the situation you've described? Ensure you use a task that is specific to the question you are asked, not just the one you want to answer. Try to prepare a good range of examples so that you don't find yourself trying to make a generic example fit all questions.
This is the most critical part of the answer. It gives you the chance to demonstrate the skills required for the role.
- - Be personal, talk about your actions and not those of the rest of the team.
- - Go into detail, don't leave the interviewer to assume what you mean.
- - Explain what you did, how you did it, and why you did it.
It is normal to answer a question with what you did and how you did it, but not always why you use the actions you did. This shows you thoroughly thought an action through before commencing with your actions, and at least if the interviewer disagrees with how you progressed, it shows your thought process involved.
Explain the outcome of the scenario. Use the opportunity to describe your accomplishments and what you learnt. This is a chance for you to summarise all the skills you have and have used and any feedback you received
What other things can I do to prepare for my interview?
- Review the content of your CV, ensure you're familiar with the dates of employment in each role.
- Listen carefully to the questions and take a moment before you answer them.
- Convey your enthusiasm for the role you're applying for.
- Be yourself. Articulate your strengths, goals and personal attributes.
Take with you:
- - An up to date copy of your CV
- - A form of ID (Passport/Driver's License) and visa/work permit if applicable.
- - Evidence of qualifications
- - A portfolio of your professional work
Remember, the interview is a two-way street. This is your career, and you need to make sure this role and company are suitable for you as well as vice-versa. Ask questions that will help you make an informed decision should you be successful in the process.
Step 7 - Following up after an interview.
How long should I wait to follow up after a job interview?
You've just completely smashed the interview, be it face to face or over the phone, the first thing that you should do is follow up with the hiring manager or recruiter by email to thank them for their time and to reaffirm your interest in the role.
After this, unless there was an indication given to you in the interview of when you would hear back, there isn't really a defined amount of time to wait.
But as a rule, we would suggest the following guidelines;
- If you are given a defined amount of time, whether it be "next Monday" or "our interviews will be done by the 20th" make sure you don't jump the gun and follow up too early. If the timeline given comes up and you haven't heard provide them with a couple of days buffer as there are things that are often out of the hirer's control that can delay these things.
- If there is no timeline set, a reasonable amount of time to wait before following up would be 4-5 working days (a week). This gives time for them to finish any ongoing interviews. Coming across as over-eager or impatient will not help your chances in the recruitment process.
- Keep in mind that HR or Recruiters might not always have all of the answers (although we wish we did) as they have to wait for higher-ups and decision-makers to make the final decision.
Following up offers two benefits, it allows you to reconfirm your interest in a role while keeping yourself fresh int he hirers mind.
Step 8 - How to negotiate, accept or decline a job offer and handle counteroffers.
You've been offered the job! Well done!
Whether it's your dream job or you've thought about it about it and the offers not quite right, you're probably thinking, what should I do now?
Whether you plan on taking the job or not, most industries are very close-knit, so you'll need to act in a way that's not going to come back to haunt you in the future.
What do I do when I get a job offer?
When offered a position, you're probably not going to want to say "yes" on the spot. Even if you're confident that you're going to accept, step back and evaluate the role and offer to make sure it's the right choice for you.
How to evaluate a job offer
First things first you should ask for some time to consider the offer after all change jobs can be a huge life-changing the situation. Be sure to let the hirer know how grateful you are and how interested you are in the role and ask if there is a deadline by which you will need to make a decision. It's ok to ask for longer if you think you need it but don't delay it for too long and risk the offer being rescinded.
While evaluating the job offer, you should be sure to take into account the whole compensation package and not just the salary, any benefits and perks, travelling time and company culture.
If the job offer is conditional and subject to checks, references or screenings, make sure that you know what is needed.
Would you accept a job that you don't really want? There isn't a right or wrong answer to this, but sometimes it might be in a person's best interest to accept if you need a job in a hurry or it's going to help advance you to something better.
be sure to consider EVERYTHING, weigh up all of the pros and cons before making any decision.
You may come to the conclusion that the offer isn't right; it doesn't mean that you should just turn the job down there and then. You could consider negotiating. Whatever decision you make whether you're going to negotiate, accept or decline the offer you have to let the company know.
How to negotiate a job offer
So, you have the offer, and you're interested, but it's not quite good enough to get you to say "yes" then you can consider negotiating.
There are lots of steps to effectively negotiating a job offer. First, do some research on salaries for the job and get a sense of what you're worth. Consider what combination of wages and benefits would be right for you, and there you have your counteroffer. You then need to send a letter or email to the employer to start the conversation about your counteroffer.
Be mindful that although you should absolutely negotiate the salary and package that you think you are worth, don't push too hard and know when to stop negotiating, take the job or walk away. The last thing that you want is for the employer to withdraw the job offer.
How to decline a job offer
After giving it all of your consideration if you know that a role just is not right for you or it just won't work out, it makes sense to decline the job offer. There is a ton of reasons why you might decline a job offer, the compensation package might not be right, and negotiation is off the table. You might not have clicked with the person who you will be reporting too, or the company has a high turnover rate of staff and seems financially unstable. These are all good reasons not to take a job.
To decline an offer sending a polite letter to the hiring manager will help you maintain positive relationships with that employer, especially if you apply for a different role with them in the future. Be sure to say thank you for the opportunity, clearly stating that you cannot accept the position. Don't do into detail about the reasons why, especially if it is for reasons that may cause offence to the hiring company.
If it's the case that you have already said yes to an offer and have changed your mind you need to let the employer know as quickly and politely as you can, don't leave them expecting you to turn up on your first day.
How to accept a job offer
You did it! You got the job! And got the offer you were after!
Even if you accepted the job in person or on the phone, you're still going to need to accept the offer officially. Do this by writing a formal job acceptance letter. In this letter, you'll get your chance to confirm the details of the offer in writing, and it's a great chance to show your professionalism.
Step 9 - How and when to hand in your notice
Handing your notice in. You've probably already thought about this while going through the hiring and interview process.
You could go out all guns blazing, telling everyone exactly what you think of them and kicking the door off its hinges as you victoriously strut through it.
The most important thing that you can do is leave on good terms with your current employer. You're going to need them down the line for a reference and what if the worst happens and your offer is withdrawn? You might need to ask if your job is still open.
Do you definitely want to leave?
Please don't rage quit your job. If something is bothering, you take some time to talk it over with your friends, family or a trusted advisor.
Just because Bob, who sits at the next desk makes your blood boil to the point of steam coming out of your ears daily doesn't mean that there's not another role within your company.
Don't make a rash emotion-driven decision that you might end up regretting down the line.
have you secured a new job?
In 99.9% of situations, you're going to want to have secured a new job before handing in your notice. Leaving your current job without having something in place is a massive risk. It's much more comfortable trying to find a new job while you're already in one.
The exceptions to this rule are if you have a ridiculous notice period which you know your employer won't reduce, it's going to be hard convincing someone to wait that long no matter how much they want you.
The other is your health. If you are truly unhappy in your job and you believe that it would be beneficial for you to take the risk.
Who do you tell first?
Whatever you do, keep your decision to yourself at least until you have spoken to your boss about it. People slip up, and you may think that your co-worker who swore he wouldn't tell anyone" might just blurt it out at an inappropriate moment, making things very awkward for you.
How to write a resignation letter
Before you process, it's best to prepare your letter of resignation your letter should include the following;
- The position you are leaving, the amount of notice that you are giving (the amount specified on your contract) and the date of your last day with the company.
- Thank them for the opportunities that they have offered you (even if you are not grateful, it's polite)
- Wish them luck and make sure that you say that you want to keep in touch (You need to keep them onside as you are going to need a reference)
This all may seem a bit fake if you hate your company or your boss, but it's a formality that you should definitely follow.
now before you hand the letter over, be it with tears of happiness or sadness in your eyes you're going to want to speak to your boss one-to-one.
How to tell the boss
You're going to have to tell your boss that you're leaving and having an honest and open chat about it is better than just handing them your letter and walking away…awkward.
Suggest a meeting at a convenient time, try and not catch them when they are bogged down with work or in a bad mood, and try not to get too emotional.
Don't bad mouth the company, your colleagues or your boss, be a consummate professional and maybe at this point you might be presented with a counteroffer.
Your boss might not want you to leave. They might make a counteroffer to see if you'll stick with them. This could come in the form of a higher salary, more benefits or a new role.
Don't turn this down straight away. Take some time to consider it, especially if you weren't 100% committed to the idea of leaving anyway.
This doesn't happen all the time though there could be some other possible outcomes of the meeting with your boss.
In most cases, the conversation will be straightforward, and there will be no issue, your boss might even be happy for you… you never know.
It could go the other way though so be prepared
Another scenario that could come up is garden leave - This is usually the case if you are moving to a competitor, they could ask you to leave straight away and even escort you from the building. Be ready for this and make sure your personal possessions are easy to grab and you have backed up any personal files from your computer.
Your boss might be angry or upset by your decision if this happens, keep your head and don't be made to feel bad. Everyone has the right to move on
Now that you've had a chat with your boss, and we're going to say it's gone brilliantly, now is the time to hand in your letter of resignation… if you still want to leave.
If you have discussed a shortened notice period, make sure you update the letter before handing it over.
And that's it! That wasn't so hard, was it! Joking aside, handing in your notice can be a scary and challenging process, and that's why you need to be prepared.
If you're professional and handle it in the right way, you shouldn't come up against any issues. Your notice period will fly by, and you'll be starting your new job in no time.
Time to get prepared for your first day.