Every January, alongside improved health and fitness, a new career or job which pays better comes high up on a huge number of peoples’ priorities for the year ahead. It can be for several reasons, of which money is one. After all, it stands to reason that if you want to have more money than you have now, then you need to find a way to earn more, while also saving more of what you earn. More money coming in combined with less money going out will leave you with a bigger bank balance. Others, however, are comfortable financially yet still want a new job. Why? Because money isn’t the only motivator to change jobs or careers. Some people will change because they do not enjoy what they are doing and want a new challenge, or need a new job which can fit in with their other commitments.
Whatever your reason for changing jobs, January is the perfect time to get started. Regardless of your desired role, and the industry which it is in, you are almost guaranteed to find plenty of roles to apply for. This tends to be the time of the year when people have been promoted and their former role needs to be filled, or new roles have been created. The rest of the year, the number of vacancies will fluctuate depending on your industry. So, that’s why if you want a new job, you cannot afford to waste any time this month. Start as you mean to go on, and when you get started, please remember the below, which I have learned through bitter experience;
Hustle. Never stop working for whatever it is that you want, but also develop a thick skin in order to be able to deal with rejection and setbacks without losing your momentum or hunger for progress.
The above applies to all areas, not just job hunting. Whatever you want in life, you have to work for it. Hard. More importantly, you have to want it with every ounce of your being. This will keep you going through both the good and bad times. You will learn to ignore the negative voices who tell you to admit defeat and move on. You will learn to brush off rejection and keep going. Which brings me back to today’s topic.
First of all, a reality check. Landing a new job is hard work and it won’t happen overnight. For every role you apply for, there will be tens, hundreds or maybe even thousands of others applying for the same job too. You will spend countless hours working with recruiters only for them to go quiet all of a sudden. You will also encounter generic rejection letters or emails, or even no response at all. This is why you need to develop a thick skin and not take any of it to heart, because taking it personally can hurt your confidence and derail your progress.
Now…about the actual job search..
- Use a number of approaches. If you have an idea of which company you would like to work for, check their website for vacancies. Send a cv and cover letter to the hiring manager, whose details you may be able to find via LinkedIn. Sign up with recruitment agencies. Check job boards, newspapers, magazines and social media such as LinkedIn. Do not rely on job boards, or any one approach, alone.
- Network. Sitting in front of a computer firing off applications may give you a warm fuzzy feeling of achievement, but alone it won’t get you a job. You need to get up, get out and talk to people. Don’t just sign up with a recruitment agency, go to their offices and speak to them in person. How can a recruiter confidently put you forward for a role if the only contact they have had with you is a few emails and phone calls? Meet them, talk to them and forge a working relationship. Don’t just stop there. Now that you have ventured outside and away from your computer, attend networking events relevant to your industry or personal industry. You never know, the next person you speak to may have the perfect role for you, or if not, they might know someone else who does.
- Develop an elevator pitch. This is something which can help you greatly in your search. You will be meeting and talking to countless recruiters, hiring managers and figures within your chosen industry, so it’s best to have a well thought-out introduction prepared. Keep it to around 30 seconds, and if the other person wants to know more about you they will keep the conversation going. For this to be effective, you need to be clear about who you are, what you want and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. The best way to master this? Practice. Keep practicing and amending your introduction until you feel that you can do no better.
- Ensure that your CV and Cover Letter relevant and up to date. For a recruiter, there is nothing worse than receiving a cv and cover letter which is full of jargon and business buzzwords, but very little information about why you believe that you are a good fit for the job in question. Without fail, these cvs and cover letters go into the shredder. If you can’t take the time to update your cv and cover letter to reflect your suitability for this particular role, then you don’t deserve to be considered for shortlisting. You have to make some effort and show that you want this in order to stand out from other candidates. So, while a ridiculous amount of people still insist on having one generic cover letter and cv which they use to apply for every job, be the exception and take the time to tailor yours to the specific role. If the job advert lacks some information which you need to tailor your application, take the initiative to contact the recruiter and speak to them about it. That effort will work in your favour.
- Be relentless. Don’t just apply for 2 jobs and then put your feet up for the rest of the day, or week. Apply for 2 more. And another 2. Keep going until you have applied for all the relevant roles which interest you and for which you are a good fit. The job hunt is a game of numbers, and personal experience has shown me that you should expect a response rate of around 10% from your applications, depending on your skills and experience. So, if you apply for 50 roles, expect to hear back from around 5 of them. If you’re lucky, all 5 might want to interview you. On the other hand, if you’re really unlucky, all 5 might reject you. Regardless of whatever happens, keep going. You have interviews lined up? Great, but don’t stop searching for other roles. Keep up your job search until the moment you get the right offer and sign the contract. Then you switch your attention to the relentless pursuit of excellence in your new role.
So, be realistic about what you want. Don’t apply for every job going, but focus on the area which interests you. Take each application seriously, and tailor your cv and cover letter to show that you are interested in this role and why you believe that you are a good fit. Accept that you will meet with setbacks and rejections, but don’t give up. Keep the momentum going and keep applying for suitable roles and keep networking. It takes a lot of hard work to land the right job, but if you want it deeply enough, you will find a way to make it happen.