Forget the 1st of January and New Year’s resolutions; September is also a prevalent time for taking stock of what is and isn’t working for us and looking forward to new beginnings.
Perhaps it’s the legacy of a new school year getting started and us mentally gearing up for the next chapter of our lives. Or maybe it’s the arrival of the final quarter of the year and those niggling feelings that you know you don’t want to be doing the same thing when January comes around again!
Whatever your reasons for looking for a new job, I’ve lots of practical advice and a whole toolbox of blogs packed with information that can help you be successful in your job search.
Here’s a general overview of my nine top tips. I’ve also provided links to many of my other blogs, so you can delve into any sections you want to learn more about.
Let’s dive in!
1. Dedicate time to your job search
Although you may not currently be working you do have a job and that’s finding one! Carve out an appropriate amount of time each day or week to research positions, tidy up your CV, grow your networks, apply for roles, or brush up on your interview technique.
2. Be organised
Before you charge into your new job search, think about how you’ll organise your time effectively, keep track of the roles you’re researching, which roles you want to apply for, deadlines for applications, interview times, and feedback received.
Considering this before you begin will save you time in the long run. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy; a simple planner, spreadsheet or notes app can help you keep track of everything and feel more in control of the mass of information you’ll face.
If you’re working full-time and searching for a new role, remember to schedule enough self-care and work on your resilience strategies. This blog offers practical steps you can take.
3. Work on your networks
This may be one of my biggest pieces of advice regarding all things career and job hunting… don’t go it alone!
Surround yourself with people who can support you emotionally. For example, friends and family. Also, surround yourself with people who can help you practically. If you want to gain knowledge of new industries, find out about emerging roles, or upgrade your hard and soft skills, there are networking events and online forums you can join to help you do just that.
4. Apply for the right jobs
If you’re disillusioned with your current role and want out as soon as possible, it can be tempting to apply for EVERYTHING in the hope your next dream job will land at your feet. But use your precious time wisely and only apply for the jobs that tick the right boxes.
5. Be specific
To save valuable time, creating a CV that could cover various roles or industries can also be tempting. However, to give you a better chance to be selected, create a CV template that can be quickly customised and submitted. Use the work experience and skills sections to showcase specific accomplishments and transferable skills that demonstrate you’re the ideal candidate for each position you apply for.
I have lots more information on explaining gaps in your CV, answers to common CV questions, and guidance on ensuring your CV makes it through the applicant tracking systems (ATS) many large employers use to screen large volumes of candidates.
You can check them out here:
6. Look at your personal brand
Where you’ve worked and what you’ve achieved is vital for landing your next big role, but so is your personal brand.
It’s something I don’t think many people are aware of, but it can be another powerful tool in your job search tool kit. Here’s why:
- You can define who you are. What’s your personality like? What are your strengths, interests and skills?
- You can sell your reputation. What are you known for?
- You can talk about your potential – your achievements give you credibility, so showcase them with clear examples.
- You can show off your USP. What sets you apart from other candidates?
- You can present yourself to the world. Let your energy and confidence shine through via your LinkedIn profile, at networking events, on your CV or application form, and during interviews.
7. Acquire new skills
Hard skills are the job-related competencies and abilities we need to complete the work. Soft skills are personal qualities and traits that impact HOW we work and can be transferred to different roles and industries.
Soft skills include team building, effective communication, problem-solving, leadership and time management.
Look for opportunities to develop yourself further, such as taking part in projects outside your role, asking for feedback from work colleagues and creating an action plan, attending training courses or finding a mentor.
8. Work on your interview skills
This may be your first job search in a long time, so you may not be familiar with virtual interview practices, which many companies have used since the pandemic. Take time to understand the difference between a virtual and in-person interview by visiting this blog.
We only get one chance to make a great first impression, so prepare a solid answer for the ‘tell me about yourself’ question, which often opens an interview. Nailing this will give you confidence for the rest of the interview and hopefully land you the role!
You can find out more here:
Take time to understand that many tricky interview questions can be answered well using the STAR technique. This is where you can demonstrate your skills and experiences using four steps:
- Set the scene by describing when and where the situation occurred.
- Explain what the task was and what your role was in it.
- Describe the actions you took to achieve a result.
- Share the outcome and results of your actions.
9. Be realistic with your goals
Finding the right role to move on to can take a long time and can be detrimental to our energy levels, motivation and overall mental wellbeing. To feel more in control of the process, it may help to create a short to medium-term plan with realistic goals you CAN work towards.
Your plan could include skills you need to work on, information you need to acquire on new roles or industries, specific networks you need to build, companies you need to contact, or colleagues you could shadow.
I’ve recently written a blog on creating a 5-year plan, but the principles could be adapted to create a 6-month or 12-month plan relevant to your job search. You can read it here.