Careers coach: jobseekers should be realistic and flexible

Thu, 13/12/2012 - 17:47 -- nick

Jeremy I'Anson, the careers coach, has written about the importance of being both flexible and realistic when looking for a job.

Although the latest government figures show falls in unemployment, the reality is that more than 2.5 million people are still without work, and there are more than five people chasing each vacancy.

At the front line, this competition for jobs is clear. Well-qualified and experienced people are still being passed over for jobs and even interviews, and Jeremy gives excellent advice on how to get through the stages to getting work.

He says: 'I routinely get calls from people who have been out of work for several months and still haven’t had an interview yet alone a job offer. There's a curious disconnect between the optimistic picture painted by some reports and the job search front line. And there’s another interesting factor; huge regional variations in the availability of jobs, with London showing a decline while some parts of the North of England including Yorkshire and Humberside showing an increase in the number of vacancies.

So what can you do to get your job search moving in such a difficult market?

Be realistic and be flexible. Check salaries for your particular line of business, be competitive and be prepared to consider other factors apart from the headline salary. I recently had a conversation with someone who had changed direction in their career and taken a significant dip in salary but was much happier in a less pressurised job with more flexible working conditions.'

While undercutting others on salary is one way to getting a job, be careful not to give an employer the idea that you undervalue yourself or your skills.

Jeremy believes that your CV needs constant attention to make sure you are showing yourself in your best light:

'Of course you should also make sure that your CV is up to date and properly reflects the requirements of the job you are applying for. It’s quality not quantity that pays in the job search game, so rather than sending off dozens of job applications invest some time to identify just one or two jobs that perfectly match your skills and experience and then really take care with your application.

Make sure that there is solid evidence in your CV and application letter that confirms that you have all the skills and experience detailed in the job advertisement or job specification.

And look for unadvertised jobs. Did you know that at least two thirds of the jobs available are unadvertised? Use professional networking sites like LinkedIn to make new contacts, join the professional groups on LinkedIn and participate in conversations with fellow professionals to pick up news of unadvertised jobs in your field.

If you already have a LinkedIn account make sure that your professional headline is recruiter friendly. This is not “John Smith” but “John Smith – Experienced Chartered Accountant”. The social networking site is one of the key resources for recruiters and employers so it’s worth spending some time to make sure that your profile shows up in searches.

If you do find a possible job opportunity then you can apply to the company even if they are not currently advertising any jobs. Use the internet to research the company and then send a speculative application letter and your CV to an individual manager by name. Most companies say that even if they don’t have any current vacancies they still keep candidate details on file.

You can sit at home and wait for the phone to ring but improving your CV, networking and making speculative job applications are all activities that will pay off and help you to get a job offer even in a difficult market.'

Via The Telegraph

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