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HOW CAN I ORGANISE MY SEARCH FOR A JOB?

How Can I Organise My Search for a Job?

Help with your employment search: job search organisation

With the passing of time, the process of finding a job has become more and more complicated. Perhaps you recall a time when all you needed to do was read the papers, note an address, write a quick covering letter and then send it off with a copy of your CV. Perhaps that is how you got your first job. It was the way everyone did it once, but it is certainly not the way the majority of people secure a position now. For companies, the process of finding new employees has become ever more sophisticated and if you want to secure the right job, then you must approach the task with a similar level of sophistication, determination and intelligence.

In practice, you have to learn how to organise your job search. There are fewer vacancies nowadays and a greater number of determined competitors to fill the openings that exist. You need to be able to respond quickly and effectively when a job appears and to be able to keep track of the many ways in which job hunting manifests itself in this age of connectivity.

Pinpoint what you are looking for

The key to finding the right job, and to managing your search for it, lies in self-knowledge, in knowing who you are and what you want. So ask yourself, what do you really want to gain from a new job?

A good tip here is to make a list of what you have successfully done in your career so far. Do this and you will have a record of concrete, quantifiable acts that have made a difference to the companies in which you have worked. This list of achievements will tell you just how valuable you are and they will also help you concentrate your mind on standing out from the crowd in the future. Do you want more of the same? Or do you want to move up in your line of work? Or would you like to try something completely different? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can begin your job hunt in earnest.

Plan your search

When you have decided what to search for then you can move on to actually planning the search. Make a list of all the activities which you will have to carry out and set aside times for each of them. You might, for example, start your day by catching up with all your emails. Then, you could move on to surveying job pages on the internet, making a list of sites to visit. After this, you could move onto the correspondence of the day.

Having a plan in place will not only prevent you from missing opportunities, but it will also bring purpose and order to your job hunt, which is good for morale and self-confidence. Having a structured and orderly approach will enable you to work in a methodical way and should see quicker results than a haphazard method.

Part of your plan of action will involve the weight you assign and the amount of time which you devote to different types of vacancies. This is a subject on which you have to make the final judgment. Do you wish to limit your search to advertised vacancies, or will you also be making direct and unsolicited approaches? It might be a good idea to consider both of these methods, while also bearing in mind that many opportunities are now found through networking.

Identify what makes you special

Getting a job is all about learning how to stand out from the crowd of other applicants who all possess similar levels of skills and experience. To attract the attention of a hiring manager, you need to stand out by advertising precisely how you will bring value to the company. It can be difficult for a person to be objective about him or herself. If you are naturally modest then the process might be downright distasteful and even feel like a form of boasting.

There are three steps to identifying and conveying what makes you special. Go through the previous positions you have held and consider what skills and knowledge you gained from them. Now, reflect on how these skill sets would help you to perform well in the position you are applying for. The last step is to succinctly convey this information on your CV and application letter, so that the person reading it can clearly see how you will make a difference.

Responding to advertised vacancies

As we noted at the start of this piece, the day of the quick covering letter and the pro forma CV are long passed. The applicant who hopes for success in the modern competitive market needs to put as much thought into their covering letter and their CV as they would to an important assignment at work.

Time and care should be taken to research the vacancy and the company. It is essential to estimate what skills are required for the position. The applicant must match a position's requirements against his or her own skill set and see which facets of it would be best to be emphasised in both a covering letter and a CV. For ease of reference, this assessment could be made in the form of a worksheet which would help ensure that the letter and CV were conducted in a way that is most likely to catch the attention of the prospective employer. Make no mistake, a good application letter is a carefully constructed piece of writing and will go through many drafts before it is ready to stand the gaze of third parties.

Taking a direct approach

The direct approach is the descendant of sending your CV round to see if anyone is interested. Like replying to vacancies, the direct approach has grown in sophistication, and now requires considerably more effort than it used to.

It is essential that you have carried out research on both the company and any likely positions before making an initial contact. A direct contact email or letter will be another case where careful writing is required, and you will also have a fine line to take when it comes to following up on any speculative application. You want to appear very enthusiastic, of course, without becoming irritating.

If your approach is rejected, try to graciously hunt after feedback, but in a way that doesn't make you seem either needy or a pest. Direct contact by telephone is another matter which requires fine judgment; you must balance your own enthusiasm with an awareness of the other person's situation. It will, of course, be easier to make telephone contact with someone you know, which brings us on to the final component of this piece: networking.

Networking

Networking is a phenomenon that has been around probably since human beings first learned how to talk to each other. The old adage 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' is only partly true. A more accurate statement would run along the lines of 'what you know and who you know are both important'.

Before the explosion of social network sites, networking was carried out mostly face to face, reinforced perhaps by telephone conversations. In today's world, there are so many ways of contacting people that it is hard to know which is the most effective for you. Unless you are the sort of person who keeps all technical advances under close observation and has the latest trends in networking at your fingertips, then more research is required.

If you are looking for work you will be hoping to make contacts and to exploit them (whilst happily allowing them to exploit you in return). Networking on social media is an extremely valuable tool at your disposal. You should make a list of your established contacts and let them know that you are back in the job market. Use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to spread the word that you are looking, and try to become as active on LinkedIn as you can by adding companies you would like to work for and getting in touch with people who could potentially land you a new position. This approach should result in opportunities to make new connections, and hopefully more.

Conclusion

Overall, hunting for a job is rather like working in a job itself. You must be organised and plan your time well. It is important to keep a positive attitude wherever possible and to accept criticism and rejection graciously. At the same time, using your existing skills efficiently, and networking effectively, are also key components of organising your job search. It is a rather difficult feat to pull off, but one which is more than worth doing if you wish to find the perfect job for the long term. Good luck!

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