Applying for jobs

Whether you’re coming to the end of your contract, facing redundancy, dreading an impending layoff, or simply looking for a new challenge, you are or will soon be in the market for a new job. Research and history indicate that there are many methods and approaches to finding a new job. Because this topic is so cloudy, here are seven suggestions that will help clear the water and have you dominating the job application process in no time.

Taking The Next Step in Your Career

A new job gives you the chance to change direction, advance in your career or even move to a new career industry. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly, so it’s really important to sit down and think about what you want to do next before you update your resume or even submit your first application.

If you’re not sure of what you want to do, or the jobs you’ve had were varied and too short term to really give you an idea of where you see yourself in the future, drafting out a rough resume can help you to look back and think about the skills you’ve acquired in your career so far and identify the responsibilities you enjoyed the most. It is also worth having a blue sky brainstorming session to think about careers that would interest you outside your area of experience. Some jobs may seem out of reach at the moment, but by securing jobs that help you prove your abilities in relatable areas, you’ll be taking yourself in a positive direction.

If you’re at a complete loss for ideas, it might be time for some career advice. Check out online self assessment websites like The Riley Guide, Assessment, CareerFitter, or Career Test to get a better idea of the options available to you. You can also take personality tests, like the Myers Briggs test to help you understand what your personality traits are, which might help you narrow down careers and jobs.

If you already know exactly where you want to be in five years time, and what you need to do to get there, spend time checking out different companies and positions related to your line of work. See if any of them offer opportunities that would enhance your career path, or offer benefits like better health care coverage, flexible working or a more preferable work environment.

Online Networking and Branding

Promoting your name and personal brand in the online world can really pay off. Many recruiters check out potential candidate’s social media accounts, and having your social accounts reflect a positive and at least somewhat active online presence can be a plus. For instance, if you’re hoping to freelance or secure a job in a media related industry, a strong social network presence can be used to advertise yourself to potential clients and show them that you know what you’re doing. Having relevant followings on Twitter, keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date and being active online can all be helpful in publishing your personal brand. LinkedIn is particularly useful for job seekers as it allows you to add feedback and recommendations from former clients and colleagues, ultimately showing recruiters and employers that you are an applicant with credibility and a proven track record.

Recruiters and potential employers will often take a look at your personal social accounts, so it is important to go through them regularly and remove any posts, comments or pictures that are openly accessible and appear to be less than professional. Always assume that someone will check them, and make sure you promote yourself in an positive, responsible and well-balanced way. Social Media can be great for personal promotion, but it is also a huge source for potential embarrassment.

In-Person Networking and Branding

Attending workplace, industry and corporate social functions can also be a great way to meet other professionals and expand your network. Potential contacts will be more likely to remember you if they can meet you face to face. By attending these events in-person, you can also make connections that can turn into online connections for future networking purposes.

Networking is often something that people start doing when they are actively looking for a job, but it is far better to get started long before you think about moving on to your next position. In fact, you should try to make it a point to meet people wherever you go, jobless or not. Talk to people about your passions, skills, and experience in a confident and appropriate way. Establishing your social network while you are still employed gives you a chance to build contacts, share your workplace achievements, and keep an eye out for openings that might be more appealing than your current position.

Job Sites and Job Site Postings

When searching for jobs online, it’s best to cast your net far and wide. Set up profiles for larger job sites that cover your area, adding a professional profile picture, a solid resume, and a well written personal statement. This should include an eye catching title and an elevator pitch summing up your skills, achievements and vision. Also take a look at smaller niche employment sites dedicated to particular career industries.

Use job site search parameters to narrow down your searches and find more accurate results. Many job titles can be quite generic and encompass a wide range of roles, so it’s worth trying a job search under multiple search terms. For example, you might find administrative positions under personal assistant, secretary, administrator, or customer services, and many of these searches would return relevant results.

Many job websites also have regular newsletters which you can sign up for. These newsletters have settings that can be customized to send you new job openings and career content tailored to your experience and skillset.

Applying to Company Websites directly

Many companies do not advertise on job sites, so it is worth identifying the companies you want to work for and keeping an eye on their in-house job board and recruitment pages. If you do not see anything that particularly suits your skills at the moment, you can always get in touch with their HR department and introduce yourself as an eager prospect with a view to apply if jobs specific to your goals and experience open up.

Recruiters and Headhunters

As you search various online job sites you’ll probably notice that many of the jobs available are advertised by recruitment companies rather than by the employer themselves. Once you’ve searched and narrowed down the agencies that are advertising the most relevant positions, check out their websites or give them a call. Signing up as a potential job candidate for relevant recruitment agencies can be very helpful in your search for a new job, as headhunters and recruiters will actively push your resume to suitable employers on your behalf. Keep an eye out for time wasters however, as some recruiters will try and shoehorn anyone into an available job opening just to hit their sales targets.

If you’re active on LinkedIn you may be contacted by recruitment agencies fairly regularly, so as another unsolicited plug, it’s worth it to keep your LinkedIn and social profiles up to date.

Virtual Careers fairs

Virtual careers fairs allow you to check out a wide variety of industries and jobs from the comfort of your own home. Sites like Jobs Today hold virtual fairs where you can click different booths to view multimedia presentations, browse job postings, submit your resume or even chat online with different recruiters. Before getting into a conversation it’s worth doing a little research into the company and getting your resume ready - check out our resume writing guide to help you get started!

Understand Application and Job Requirements

Before you apply to any position, online or otherwise, make sure you meet the application requirements and have a good understanding of the job requirements. If you are unclear about whether or not you fit the bill, consider contacting the company’s HR department or the recruitment company advertising the role to find out more about it.

It’s also essential to make sure your resume is up to date and relevant to the role you are interested in. We urge you to stay away from sending the same resume to every job you apply for. Consider customizing your intro statement and key skills to reflect the parts of the job requirements that are applicable to you.

By Staff Writer, SimplyJobs