5 Keys to Job Hunting Success - Career Advice
The way to land a quality job is basically the same for everyone: focus, attitude, preparation, strategy, and follow through.
So, you need a job. A good job. Maybe you’re graduating soon and have already become tired of hearing your parents and friends ask, “Do you have a job yet?” Perhaps you are temping or being under-utilised in your current job and are seeking a new challenge. Or perhaps you’ve been working for a while in a career-oriented job but are ready for a change to something that pays more or just suits you better.
Regardless of the situation, the way to get a quality job is basically the same for everyone. You need to focus, have the right attitude, prepare thoroughly, devise a smart strategy and follow through. Read over each of these five keys to success to see what you’re doing right and what you need to improve on.
To get what you want, you must know what you want. Employers are turned off by job seekers that seem unfocused, vague and scattered. You do not have to zero-in on one overly narrow job target, but you do need to have a clearly defined picture of what you’re looking for. So you’ll need to communicate this in your CV and cover letter.
Most companies create many different roles that require various skills, talents, interests, experience, and personality types. If you sound like you’re willing to take any of those jobs, you may come across as a little desperate and employers will think you haven’t done your homework and aren’t really sure of what you want. Instead of having a variety of unrelated career goals, take some time to assess who you are and what you want.
Define some basic criteria you are looking for in a job, such as the skills you would like to use or develop and the type of work environment you want. When you know what you are aiming for, you’ll come across as a more impressive candidate and will find that your search is easier because you can focus on specific types of jobs.
Looking for a job can be frustrating. You will need to expend a considerable amount of energy and effort and learn how to deal with rejection and uncertainty. The right mindset can make or break your search. Make sure you are:
- Realistic about your qualifications and expectations
- Confident in yourself and your experience
- Willing to take a proactive approach to your search instead of passively expecting a job to land in your lap
- Keeping it all in perspective and not taking rejection personally
Preparation When you get into the thick of a job search, it’s too late to be tweaking your CV and discovering typos in your cover letters. You also don’t want to find yourself the night before an interview madly searching for information about the prospective employer or learning how to interview. Most people dive into a search with little preparation and find themselves playing catch-up from that point on. Before you begin a heavy networking or direct mail campaign, and before you start sending out CVs in response to job listings, make sure your cover letters are top notch and your CV is highly polished. Also, do what you need to do to learn effective interviewing techniques, whether it’s reading books like The Unofficial Guide to Acing the Interview, getting coaching from a career counsellor, or practicing mock interviews.
You need to be highly organised. One way to do this is by setting up a n area or home office to run your job search.
You should have:
- Office supplies
- A log of job-hunting activities
- A to-do list that keeps you on track
- A folder for research you conduct on prospective employers
- A folder for correspondence with prospective employers and network contacts and any other materials related to your search
Create a place for these things and keep everything in order. A job search is trying enough without having to sort through disorganised computer files or piles of paper when you’re in a hurry to write a cover letter or rush off to an interview.
The methods you use to find a job need to be appropriate for the type and level of job you’re seeking. If you’ve done some research on the career field you want to enter by reading about it and talking to people in it—or if you already work in the field in which you’re job hunting—then you should know which methods work best for the job you want.
The job-hunting methods to consider include:
- Online job boards and company websites
- Email (apply directly to organisations you’ve researched by emailing your cover letter and CV—then following up with a phone call or email at a suitable time if you don’t hear back)
- Recruitment agencies
- Networking events
The best approach is usually to use a combination of all of these methods so that your strategy is well rounded, but to focus on the one or two methods that are most likely to pay off given the type of job you’re seeking.
The way you follow up on CVs you send out, calls you make and interviews you go on can make or break your search. Job offers often go to applicants who take the initiative to make just one more phone call or email to express interest in the position and to reiterate their qualifications.
The main rule of following through is to keep at it. Persistence is key. Follow through with courtesy—it never pays to harass people. Keep in mind that you if you are too over-eager and aggressive it will come off as desperate. Ensure you avoid these typical mistakes:
- Emailing back within minutes of receiving any correspondence
- Calling or emailing repeatedly after an interview
- Sending extra emails to mention things missed in the application or interview
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