Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The How-to Guide: Getting a job

Man wearing a suit and holding a card that says how to guide: getting a job

The competition in the job market is real, getting a job even with a perfect education is a struggle. In 2016/2017 there have been 757000 people with undergraduate degrees under their belt and 237000 with postgraduate qualifications. When it comes to employment, you should have a clear strategy, effortless applications lacking in research are not enough.

In this ‘how to guide', I am here to guide you through common life challenges. In this post, I will share some of my knowledge to ease your journey towards becoming employed.

1. Learn to become self-aware

The first important thing consists of exploring yourself. Think of yourself as a book that you are asked to analyse. If you have free time, practice self-analysis and think about your strengths and weaknesses. Ask other people about their opinion of you because on your own – you could lack objectivity. You could also step into other people’s shoes and think ‘how would I see myself?’.

Understanding the deep levels within your own character will protect you from becoming another cliché applicant who cherry-picks random skill synonyms from the thesaurus (without much thought about who they really are).

When you are confident about your strong and weak points, as well as your interests (any interests, no matter how random they are), you should start thinking about how your personality fits different job industry sectors. Prospects is a great website when it comes to researching career possibilities. Learn to become self-aware, this skill will aid your search for the right job and help you to sell your best self to the employer.

2. View life as an opportunity for self-improvement

Life should be viewed as an opportunity to better yourself. Be an ambitious person, dedicate some time in your day to learn and enjoy the process of learning. There’s a common misconception that experience in employment terms means job experience, that’s not true. You may not have job experience but if you have the right attitude – you will have other life experiences. Experience is doing something extra, something that others wouldn’t think of doing, something that makes you stand out from the crowd.

Rich experiences are the ones that improve your employability and display skills and achievements. Have you ever volunteered? Joined clubs or societies? Are you active in your school/college/university or local community? Do you play any sports in a team? Met all the deadlines for your projects? Whatever you have experienced, make sure that you don’t undersell your experiences. Even the most insignificant of experiences (according to you) could be your golden ticket to employment

3. View job searching as a job itself  

Searching for job vacancies is a mammoth task. Fortunately, there are always jobs available out there, you just have to know where to look.

Job vacancy sites

Most obvious place on the internet would be job vacancy sites such as Reed, Indeed and Totaljobs. Put your location details and explore all the available vacancies on every job site that you find, job vacancy sites may advertise different vacancies. You should also create a profile on a job vacancy site and upload your CV. This would make it easier for recruiters to contact you. Despite the popularity of job vacancy sites, it’s important to note that smaller companies might have limited finances to recruit their employees through these sites.

Exploring local area

Explore your local area, are there any businesses that you could work for? Shop store windows may have posters with available vacancies. You could also confidently pop into any store, tell them you would be interested in working for them and ask to see their manager. Hand in your CV and make a good impression. When a vacancy becomes available, the business would be more likely to contact you.

Company/business website

Businesses often advertise vacancies on their websites. If you know where you would like to work, apply directly from the company website and not from a general job vacancy site. The website could have a more specific email to send your CV and cover letter to. It shows you that you have bothered to check their website.  

Employment fairs

Another fantastic way to meet employers in person and give out your CVs. Employment fair is also a place to discover new companies to work for. When an employer sees your face, you become less than a number on an electronic screen and more like a person. Make sure to practice your gestures and posture in front of a mirror before attending the employment fair.

Not what you know but who you know

Talking to people can help you to get a job. Whether it’s your friends who are employed or strangers at a bus stop (you never know, a stranger could be a company manager). At the end of the day, networking is extremely important.

4. Knowing the employer

Knowing your potential employer and their mission is crucial when it comes to how you describe yourself in your CV. Read their about page, try to establish if there is a specific tone or language that they use. Understand their aims and objectives. How do your good qualities and experiences link with those aims? 

Make sure you make the link clear in your CV and cover letter and use their language. When it comes to your CV - ensure you don’t sound cliché and be yourself. Back up your skills with experiences. It’s great to be organised but how did you acquire this skill? Always list your past responsibilities in detail.

5. Last bit of advice

  • Don’t give up. Always search
  • Don’t stick to one vacancy. Apply to a lot of jobs and increase the likelihood of employment 
  • Spend time and effort on your applications. Research companies thoroughly.  

That’s the end of my how-to guide in getting a job. I sincerely hope that these tips have helped and will ease your employment process. I haven’t discussed job interviews in more detail because that’s a huge topic to explore. Let me know if you would like me to write about it in the future. Don’t forget – never give up and don’t be put down by rejections. The journey to getting a job is not a smooth ride, but I know that you can do it.   

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