Job Hunting Tips from a Recruiter

If you’re looking for tips on how to find a job, you might just find this article helpful.

When Covid hit, I lost all the work I was doing to fund myself and a start-up. I didn’t have access to any government support but had to, instead, be willing to go back to basics (in a career sense). Having gone through the rigmarole that was 2020, I’d like to share some lessons and experiences with you — with the hope that you’ll also find a rewarding job.

P.S. I currently have a much better job compared to what I had prior to Covid. Believe me, if you stick at it, it will pay off!

1. Be Realistic

Searching for a job is hard at the best of times, let alone when we’re in the midst of a pandemic. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people who have recently lost their jobs and are potentially in the same boat as you. This means that companies are going to be inundated with individuals applying for roles. So, don’t be discouraged when you have to wait a bit longer to receive feedback or if your applications are rejected.

Your first step, therefore, is to do a reality check so that you’re not left feeling disheartened. Even if you have to adjust your job expectations, that’s OK (although maybe not in the same way, some of the UK government advertising suggests). But this may be a great time to reinvent yourself a little and you can consider dipping your toes into unfamiliar territory. Maybe you could try out an industry that’s more buoyant? Perhaps a temp position could also lead to new opportunities?

The fact is that some markets have been severely hit and will take a little longer to bounce back — some may not be able to bounce back at all. If you work in one of these markets, you may need to consider taking a step sideways or even backwards into other roles. Depending on your situation, you also might need to prepare yourself to take on something you wouldn’t have dreamed of prior to Covid (Like myself)!

2. Use Your Networks

The best way to find a job is through a quality referral from someone that you know and have ideally worked with in the past. Start talking to friends and family about what you are ideally looking for and see if they are aware of anything or, even better, if they’re able to assist you with an introduction.

Building, refining, and making full use of your LinkedIn profile is another great way to create and use your own network. For example, when you follow and connect with companies that you’re interested in, then you’ll be notified when said companies advertise roles.

Hot Tip — If you’re aware that a company is recruiting, take initiative and connect with hiring contacts who are in that company. You may just find that this moves you out from the bottom of a pile of resumes to the top list of considerations.

JUST REMEMBER to exercise tactfulness when applying this strategy, especially when you know that a company has a conventional recruitment process that they prefer to adhere to.

3. Set up Daily Alerts on Job Boards

If you’re unfamiliar with Job Boards, now’s the time to research them and use them to their full potential.

In a nutshell, a job board is a website where companies can collectively advertise any available positions that they’re wanting to fill. Job seekers can then peruse the job boards to search for opportunities.

Here’s an easy way of how a job board can work for you:

If you can’t (or don’t want to) proactively search through job boards, then most platforms will allow you to set up an alert system where you will be notified on what’s being posted daily. The alert system on each job board will differ but the fundamentals remain the same.

*Be sure to add as much relevant information as possible so that you receive accurate alerts that you are actually interested in.

If you’re finding that the information you’ve entered is not producing jobs of interest, then refine the alert again. The last thing you want to do is enforce a mindset of ignoring those alerts because “the jobs are probably not going to be appealing”! You may just miss your ideal opportunity!

There are various job boards out there, some specialise in certain sectors while others are generalist.

Here is a list to get you started:

  • Glassdoor
  • Totaljobs
  • Indeed
  • CV-Library
  • Reed.co.uk
  • WorkinStartups
  • eFinancialCareers
  • Gov Website — type “find a job” in the website search bar.
  • AngelList

4. Recruiters

Love them or loathe them, a good recruiter can be an excellent source of market information. Just think about it — once you’ve found recruiters within your industry that you’re happy to work with, then you’ve got more eyes looking for your next opportunity.

Something to consider — unless you work in a niche market, it’s unlikely that a single recruiter is going to have a relationship with every company in your industry. So, it would be worth speaking to 3 or so recruiters, depending on your market.

You can use social media to request referrals for recruiters. Then, give them a quick call and pick their brains to see if they’ll meet your needs. If you feel that they’re not going to be of much help, move on to finding someone who you’ll have more confidence in (trust me, helpful recruiters do exist)!

Once you’ve found recruiters who you feel positive about, the next step is to build a good relationship with them. You’re going to want them in your corner, particularly in this competitive environment.

5. Personalise Your Application

This tip may seem obvious, but due to lack of time (or sometimes just plain laziness), it’s not practised enough.

At the offset, personalising your application may seem frivolous, but it will pay off in the long run (especially if you have a diverse skill-set or are working within a highly qualified role).

Remember — you’re applying for a role within THEIR company and they’ll want to know what makes you special enough to fit in with THEIR team.

You can add points such as:

  • Important insights you have into their market or business.
  • How you resonate with their vision.
  • Personal/professional connections you have in their business or market.
  • A specific value you can add to the company.

When personalising your application, keep automated tracking systems (ATS) in mind. These systems search for job-specific keywords in resumes and cover letters and if your application lacks the right “words”, then it may not be processed to the next stage. So, if you do notice any job-specific phrases or keywords being used by the hiring company, particularly in a job advert, then keep these words prevalent throughout your resume.

6. Don’t Leave Any Stones Unturned

One of the better lessons I learned in recruitment is to “keep the blinkers off”. This means that you should consider everything until you’ve found the best solution.

There are various ways to find roles, with some strategies used more in some sectors and job roles than in others.

Apart from Job Boards, using your own networks, and going the recruitment route, other sources of job opportunities include:

  • Freelance platforms, such as PeoplePerHour, Fivver, Upwork, Guru, Worksome.
  • Using relevant Facebook groups to reach out to others who may have useful contacts.
  • Browsing company websites (they may have a careers page or an in-house job board).
  • Print — some newspapers/magazines do still advertise job positions.
  • Shop/Bar/Pub window advertisements.
  • Networking (join relevant online groups or meetups where you can establish connections).
  • Jobcentre Plus.

7. Stay Positive and Proactive

It’s a tough time in several sectors out there at the moment and this is going to be one of those exercises that will build your resilience! Staying positive will help balance your mindset and it will also ensure a great first impression when you do attend interviews.

Why not set yourself some goals with your job search?

It’s important to keep positive but creating some structure will ensure that you are being productive with your positivity, instead of simply optimistically meandering along. You can treat your job search much like a work day. Ensure you have breaks and there is a definitive start and end to each day.

Final Advice — Use This Opportunity

You may not get another chance to change your career or the perceived time to do so — and the ability to upskill or diversify into another market has never been as accessible as it is today. The light at the end of the tunnel is that professional development can easily be done from the comfort of your own home via several different curated online courses — or you can try something new by volunteering. This way, you’ll experience what it’s like within new and different environments — you’ll never know what piques your interest if you don’t try!

Last, but not least, consider what your current market will look like in the future with the way that business is changing. Technology is also constantly re-moulding the working world, so that’s something to think about too.

**If you found this helpful and think you could benefit from similar resources, feel free to join the — Welfound Community. We put this support group together to help people deal with the current UK job climate.**

Director of Welfound. Looking to explore the idea of community driven recruitment.