By Cindy Norcott, owner of Pro Talent – firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Type up a cv that is no more than 3 pages in length. Keep it short and concise and to the point.
2. A recruiter will judge your cv in 6 seconds so make sure it is free from spelling mistakes and has a font that is easy to read. Make sure the cv flows in a logical manner.
3. Be self-aware. Know the answers to the questions about your strengths, weaknesses and career aspirations. What are you good at? How would you describe your personality? If you were able to change one thing about yourself at work, what would it be? Where do you see yourself in three years’ time? What is your ideal job?
4. Have a job-seeking plan. Treat job-seeking as a job. Do something every day to look for a job. Don’t waste time.
5. Use your network. Make a list of past employers, previous teachers or lecturers, friends and family and anyone that you know who is working in a company. Contact these people and ask if they have any opportunities for you, whether it is temporary or permanent.
6. Have you volunteered your time to a company free of charge for a period of time such as a week or two? Often the company will end up paying you something to cover your petrol but if they don’t, you walk away with more experience and more people in your network. For instance, if you would like to get into Accounts, if you could volunteer your time in an accounts department and gain an insight into how such a department works.
7. Don’t be scared to take a job that is lower than your qualification. Be humble. Take a waitressing or shop assistant or call centre position while you are looking for a more senior position. There is a saying “A half a loaf is better than none”. Also, please note that job seekers who have some work are more attractive to potential employers than those who are sitting idle. The fact that you have offered to do voluntary work shows a prospective employer that you are hard-working and very keen to get ahead.
8. If you can’t get a job for free, you can always consider doing some volunteer work for a charity. This would look great on your cv and it will also increase your network. Helping others who are less fortunate than you are can also help you gain perspective and feel better about yourself and feel more positive about your circumstances.
9. Don’t chase the money in your first few years of your working career. If you are a junior candidate, you are better off getting good work experience rather than only chasing the money. Once you have enough experience, you should then attract a suitable salary.
10. You need a multi-pronged approach to job hunting. Have you registered your cv on the various job portals and have you registered with recruitment agencies? Do you have a Linkedin profile?
11. When you go for an interview, google the company beforehand so that you know enough about the company, what industry they are in, what their products and services are and what they have to offer.
12. When you go to an interview, ask questions about the company and the opportunities they offer. Don’t just sit there being interviewed. Show the employer that you are also looking for the perfect opportunity for you and have carefully constructed questions to ask.
13. Don’t be fixated on the money. Don’t make the first question you ask be about the money you will be earning. That is usually something that will be discussed towards the end of the hiring process.
14. I know you will be nervous in an interview but try your best to appear confident and enthusiastic and at ease. Show energy and a positive approach.
15. If you are desperate, never let that show in an interview. Nobody wants to hire a desperate staff member. If you have been unemployed for a while, tell the employer what you have been doing in that time that is productive – such as looking after your children, volunteering, learning a new skill or developing a talent.
16. Believe in yourself and use the interview as an opportunity to sell yourself. This is your one chance so take advantage of it. Tell the interviewer why they should hire you and be unapologetic about what you have to offer the company.
17. If you are young and inexperienced, try to emphasise your positive attitude, friendliness, energy and willingness to learn. Let the interviewer know what you are humble, eager and willing to start at the bottom and do what it takes to prove yourself.
18. If you are unemployed, spend your free time learning new skills – learn new computer packages online, read about different subjects, watch Ted Talks and do something every day to grow yourself.
19. If you have little or no experience, it can be tempting to lie on your cv or exaggerate what you can do. Don’t do this. Be honest at all times about what you can do and what you know. If you lie in your cv, an employer has the right to dismiss you immediately once they find out.
20. I know it is hard looking for a job but keep at it and never lose your belief in yourself. You have what it takes to find a suitable position and you need to do what it takes.