Job Hunting – What to Do

This is a topic that is as relevant now as it has ever been and I’d to share a few insights that I have on the subject.

In this time of ideological austerity you’ll be used to hearing about how our economy is improving, how unemployment is falling and how wages are on the rise.

Those of us on the front line of employment, who’ve been job hunting or unemployed in the last few years, know that the reality of the job market is far less rosy than the upbeat figures suggest.

I’m sure I’ll address misleading statistics in the media in future but it’s not what I want to cover today so I’ll skip over that to get to the point of this post.

As I sit firmly in the under 30 demographic that always seems to struggle in the employment stakes I’ve had many discussions with friends, colleagues and classmates about the difficulty of the job market in the current economic climate and I’d like to share my tips for making your way in the world.

I don’t pretend to have all (or any) of the answers, I can only help with guidance that I’ve found useful. Whilst these tips are aimed at the jobless they are also appropriate for those looking to move on to a new position, although I’ll be looking to address this in more detail in a future post.

Job Hunting is hard work

This is a point that anyone in employment tends to forget. From the comfort of a paid position it is all too easy to think that those without a job aren’t trying hard enough to get one!

There is a lot of work to put in to a successful job search. In the most simple terms you need to write or update your CV, find job adverts, write cover letters, attend interviews fill out application forms both in paper form and online, and sell yourself and your skills to anyone that will listen. None of this is easy but don’t get disheartened. The more effort and work you put into your preparation the more likely you are to succeed.

Curriculum Vitae

Your CV or resume is the first place to start with job applications and can make the difference between success and failure in an application. There is no need to panic, it’s much easier than people make out.

Keep it simple!

Try to summarise your job roles in bullet points rather than paragraphs of text, put relevant key skills in a separate section at the top of the CV and, above all, make it easy for the recruiter to read.

In a situation where the recruiter has a large amount of applications then they won’t always have time to sift through every CV in detail, your application needs to have the right information in a place they can’t miss.

It can be daunting looking at a blank page and trying to turn it into a CV so if you find yourself stuck then use a template. They’re built into Word and freely available on the internet, use the resources you can get hold of!

The next point may seem obvious but I’ve seen many applications that have missed this. Spelling and grammar are important. You won’t stand out with correct spelling on your CV but you absolutely will stand out if there’re errors. If you can’t take the care to get it right on a CV then why should a prospective employer think you’ll put any care into working for them?

And finally, remember to work out what type of job you will, mostly, be applying for and tailor your experience to fit.

Now you have a great CV you’ll need the next part of the application…

The Covering Letter

This letter has one purpose. Why should they hire you?

So make sure that you answer this question in the letter. “I would be suitable for this position because… ”

This is your chance to sell yourself and get that interview. But remember, a busy recruiter won’t read a badly formatted essay. Keep it simple, keep it to the point.

Write one general covering letter than can be easily edited, by changing one or two sentences it can cover you from a customer service position to data entry. This can make it a very useful tool. Writing this properly will mean you can apply for jobs in seconds rather than minutes.

The Search

This is equally the hardest and the easiest part of the process.

It should be easy if you’ve prepared correctly. Armed with your CV and covering letter all you have to do is send in those applications, but don’t forget to spend a minute editing your covering letter to personalise each application.

The easy part is to find vacancies. There are a multitude of avenues for you to explore when searching for the right positions.

Most large companies will have their own careers page on the website, listing all vacancies within the company. Check for any companies you know that have locations near you.

Local papers are great resources for small businesses to advertise in and many will use these exclusively. National papers have a jobs section with a variety of jobs available here.

The most common resource are through websites such as Reed or the Job Centre sites. These collect together vacancies from all over and should be your go-to place to start your hunt.

The Right Job

It is very important to be realistic in this aspect. You won’t get a part-time job, paying your dream wage in exactly the field you want.


Apply for a job with a lower salary than you want and negotiate in the interview. Apply for jobs further afield. Apply for jobs that you don’t think you’re qualified for.

The important thing is to keep applying.

Final Words

To round off this post I’m going to cover a few key points that trip people up.

When you’re unemployed, job hunting is your full-time job! Don’t apply for two jobs and think that you’re done for the day. You should be looking at spending 8 hours a day on your search. Whether this time is best spent rewriting your CV or blanket applying for jobs is down to you.

Don’t rely on others. Agencies are notorious for this. They are incredibly useful tools to help you but don’t rely on them. Just because you’re registered with an agency doesn’t mean that you can stop looking. You may get lucky and get a proactive recruiter who spends their time searching for you but most of the time you won’t even here back.

On that note, don’t expect replies from your applications. At most, 10% of companies will even acknowledge your application much less follow up on it. This is simply a matter of numbers. If they have 200 applicants for a position then it would not be feasible to reply personally to all of them. Don’t expect one and you won’t be disappointed.

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