Job hunters can greatly increase the likelihood of finding employment by making use of all available employment avenues, according to recruitment experts at Robert Half International.
Leads can originate from a number of sources, including direct applications, personal or business contacts, reviewing newspapers’ business pages, notices of new appointments, attending conferences and seminars, and using connections during temporary work. Below are tips to maximize a job hunter’s chances of securing a job:
1. Network among your own contacts for company and industry information, job leads, and additional contact names. Your initial list of contacts should include friends, former colleagues and bosses, your company’s auditors, and other business contacts such as bankers, lawyers, etc.
2. Write to companies that are not currently recruiting, but don’t write to the company chairman or the personnel department. Instead, write to the person who is likely to be your direct supervisor if you were to join the organization. Always write to a named individual and send a letter marked personal as opposed to private and confidential. The content of the letter should emphasize the benefits and relevance of your experience to the potential employer and not your needs or requirements. Follow up every letter by telephone.
3. Focus your job search: Don’t just write to any company. Investigate those which are experiencing growth, or where your experience will be of particular relevance. Make a list of all the companies for which you have ever worked. List their competitors, then other organizations within the same industry, followed by companies within similar and allied industries.
4. Don’t confine your search to large organizations. Recent reports indicate that you might be better off thinking small. There has been a significant decline in recruitment among companies with more than 1,000 employees, while most new jobs are created by firms with fewer than 20 employees. These companies might not offer as many benefits or as much job security, but they can provide that vital job.
5. Customize your job applications. Although it is labor intensive, it is important that each application is tailored to meet the specific requirements of each particular position or company.
6. Respond to job advertisements over a wide salary range. Your objective should be to obtain as many face-to-face meetings as possible. The job you are being interviewed for might not be right for you, but the meeting might lead to other job opportunities or contacts – or at least provide you with valuable industry information.
7. Respond to advertisements promptly, i.e. within 10 days. Make it clear for which position you are applying. Ensure your cover letter addresses the key requirements for the job. If possible, follow up by phone. Be sure your résumé is relevant for the particular position.
8. Don’t confine your search to the job pages of newspapers. You may identify potential job opportunities by reviewing the business pages for news of mergers, acquisitions, and recent company developments. Notices of new appointments give you the opportunity to contact both the new incumbent and their previous company.
9. Ensure your résumé is a good advertisement. It should not merely be a list of your duties, but should highlight your achievements and indicate both the breadth and depth of your experience. Your qualifications and the details of your current or last job should be shown on the first page, and in total it should not exceed three pages in length.
10. Establish a job search routine and stick to it. If you are not working, structure your day with a clear division between job hunting and leisure time. Many job seekers waste time and then feel guilty. If you are conducting the job search properly, you should be purposefully filling an entire day. However, if you do have spare time, use it to your advantage and do something to improve yourself. This could be further skills training or temporary work.
11. Make sure you do your homework on an organization thoroughly before the interview. Nothing impresses an interviewer more than good preparation. Where possible, obtain an annual report, plus any company brochures. Prepare questions to ask and be prepared for the interviewer’s questions.
12. Don’t ignore the importance of first impressions, as interviewers are easily influenced by the image you project. Ensure you are smartly dressed and well groomed.
13. Always show great interest and enthusiasm about the job you’re being interviewed for. Let the interviewer know how eager you are to work for the company. Enthusiasm sometimes can make up for lacking quite the right experience.
14. Consider temporary work. It will provide work experience and buy time until the right opportunity comes along. Also, many temporary jobs turn into full-time positions. Also, it is worth looking at voluntary positions – particularly if the work will be helpful in the long term and allows access to potential employers.