Things to think about when you're job hunting

You’ve written your CV and started a LinkedIn profile, now it’s time to get job hunting. Here are some things to think about when you’re looking for work.

Let people know you’re looking

First of all, it’s important to know that not all jobs get advertised – a lot of vacancies are filled before they even get to that stage, by ‘word of mouth’. For example, your friend Ian might hear that there’s a job going at Mike’s Motors. Ian tells you, you call Mike’s Motors to let them know you’re interested, and they ask you to come in for an interview. This is why it’s so important that you let people know you are actually looking for work. As soon as you do, you’ll find that people start passing on all sorts of useful information about where there might be jobs available.

Check the newspapers and online

Some jobs are still advertised in the local newspaper and most local papers feature jobs on a particular day, for example in Suffolk the jobs pages are on a Wednesday.

If you want to find work in a particular sector, it’s worth setting up a separate Twitter account to use just for job hunting. That means no ‘duck face’ selfies and no moaning tweets about how you wish you were on holiday! You can use it to follow the companies and organisations you’re interested in, to make sure you stay up to date with what’s going on in that field. You might even find that some companies use Twitter and Facebook to advertise their vacancies – it makes great sense for them to do it online, because it means they don’t have to pay for advertising! 

Handing out your CV

In the old days, if you were looking for a job in the local high street, the advice would have been to print off lots of copies of your CV and hand it out. However, more and more companies are now using online-only application forms. It’s still a good idea to have a walkabout – you might make a good impression on the manager and not all companies are big enough to be online – but be prepared for them to tell you that you need to apply on their website. It’s also worth having your CV with you because it makes it much easier to fill in an application form when you have all your information in one place.

Timing is everything

You can be the most qualified candidate possible, but if there are no vacancies, there are no vacancies. For example, it might seem like a good idea to look for a Christmas temp job in November or December, but most companies start recruiting seasonal workers as early as September! It’s also useful to know that lots of companies keep on temporary staff after Christmas – and at other times too – so it can be a good place to start if you’re after a permanent job.

Always be professional

When you’re job hunting, you might not be at work yet but you should always act professionally. Even if you’re in town handing out your CV, make sure you are dressed reasonably smartly and that you speak politely – you never know who you might be talking to.

The same goes for any job that tells you to email them your CV or fill in an online application form – dnt start talking txt spk coz it wnt make a gd impression! If you need to write an email or a covering letter to send with an application or CV, make sure you say where you saw the job advertised, including any reference numbers they have used. For example, start with something like: ‘I would like to apply for the vacancy reference RK342 “Customer Service Advisor” in your company, as advertised on the JobDirect site.’

Register with a recruitment agency

It’s worth getting in touch with some local job agencies – do a bit of research to see which ones deal with the kind of roles you’re looking for. Just call up or pop in and let them know you are looking for work. They will then talk to you about the kind of position they think you could get, based on your skills and experience. If the agency thinks you are a good candidate they will register you and send you vacancies or put you forward for jobs to see if you get an interview.

Consider an apprenticeship

Agencies and training providers can be particularly useful if you’re looking for apprenticeships – jobs that come with training. The salary is sometimes a little lower than people might expect, but this is because they train you up from scratch and teach you everything you need to know to do the job. Apprenticeship vacancies often don’t expect you to have any previous experience, so it can be a really good step up onto the job ladder. Your local JobCentre can also be helpful, and if you apply to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance you will be expected to actively look for work, and to provide evidence that you’ve been applying to suitable jobs.

Do some work experience

Whatever type of job you are looking for, if you haven’t done that particular kind of work before then you might need to be a bit flexible. You could offer to do a free trial, or ask the employer if you can do a few hours or a few days of work experience with their company. This shows that you are keen and it could lead to them offering you paid work. Even if it doesn’t, at least you have more experience to put on your CV. You might even find out that you don’t like that kind of job after all!