Tips for accessing 100% of the job market
Making speculative applications
This job search method involves making a direct approach to organisations to inquire about job opportunities. When looking for businesses or organisations to contact, use the internet, search engines and web directories such as the Yellow Pages or Google.
- Do as much research as you can to identify a suitable business or organisation. Find out who is the best person to contact and directly name that person when you reach the employer.
- Be prepared with the questions you need to ask what you want to say about yourself and know what you want from this approach.
- Practise beforehand, and don't be put off if there are no vacancies, you can offer to send your CV for their files
- Make contact regularly to discuss possible new opportunities.
Some organisations offer the ability to register your interest in working for them, often by completing an online form. If you do this, the bonus is you get to keep in touch with the organisation.
Networking and informational interviewing
Networking can be more effective than making speculative applications. It involves using people you know and people they perceive as a source for contacts and personal referral.
- In this, it is essential that you do not ask for a job on your initial approach to the business contact.Instead, ask for information and advice – this is often referred to as an informational interview.These are purely information-seeking approaches at that stage.
You should aim to keep the lines of communication open for any future opportunities. Informational interviews can be a great way of accessing information about the hidden job market. The purpose of networking and asking for an informal interview is for you to find out more about:
- The organisation that your contact works for and the sector it operates in - the culture, challenges, opportunities and significant players.
- How your skills, experience and qualifications might fit within the organisation and industry concerned.
- The role that your contact holds - what it involves and is like on a day-to-day basis, its good and bad points and typical routes into such work, for example.
- How people work together, and what the organisation’s senior leadership is like, in the specific business.
- What particular needs the organisation has.
Networking and informal interviewing can lead to opportunistic hires.
- You may gain advance notice of a role that is about to be advertised or may even find that a role is created for you that didn’t previously exist.
- When undertaking informational interviews, one of your major goals should be to project your professional personal brand. This should encompass who you are as a person; how you could add value to the organisation that hires you and how you would do this in a unique way.
- Stress skills and qualities that you have that would be a major asset to the organisation, show your awareness of problems or challenges that they face and offer solutions to these based upon your past experiences of problem-solving.
It is likely that you are involved in social networking. Potential (and current) employers often look at the on-line presence of employees and job applicants. It is crucial that you think about your presence in social networks and what it might say about you.
- Look at all the items you have on social networking sites - your photographs, links and comments and review them from the standpoint of an employer - what image do they give of you?
- It may be a good idea to delete some items and strengthen your privacy settings. As you are doing this, don’t overlook asking others to remove items; photos and other references to you if you are uncomfortable about others accessing them.
- Be very cautious about commenting on a role; profession; sector or organisation. People have lost their jobs for posting derogatory comments or other items on social networking sites.
- Search for yourself - look up your name in Google and ask people you know to look for you in social network sites they belong to. You might be surprised at the quantity and range of information revealed!
- Finally, remember that nothing ever really disappears from the internet. If in doubt, don’t post to begin with - and keep a close watch on your on-line presence wherever it comes from.
Consider using professional social networks such as LinkedIn for the core of your career and job search endeavours.
- LinkedIn is a professional networking site that operates worldwide. For many job seekers, it is an invaluable resource that can be used to develop a professional identity.
- To use LinkedIn professionally, you will need to update your profile there on a regular basis. Be active in relevant groups and to share your experiences, advice and expertise with others.
- Additionally, you can load your CV onto any professional blogs you create and sites that you join - but ensure that it is concise, focused and up-to-date.
- Use ‘keywords’ relevant to the type of work you seek.
By joining relevant professional associations you will be better able to network with people working in career areas that interest you. You can make yourself known to them and access advice about employment; trends in the sector and roles and potential employers.
- This networking can occur on-line or through attendance at local and national events hosted by the association – many have very active branch networks.
- Additionally, many professional associations carry ‘job opportunities’ and ‘work wanted’ sections on their websites, sometimes accessible only to members. Coupled with this, some offer online journals, which allow you to keep up to date with the profession concerned; discussion forums and details of professional development opportunities.
Maintain your momentum
Take every opportunity that you can to connect with people in your preferred roles and sector, for example by attending conferences; exhibitions; seminars and expos and by engaging with online groups and webinars.
- Try to arrange work shadowing or internships. (Please make sure that your visa allows you to do this).
- Are there short courses or skills you could develop or qualifications you can attain to increase your chances? These could be excellent opportunities to show growth.
- Keep your contacts updated on your progress.
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