Monday, 4 May 2009
There are around 12.5m Americans looking for work at the moment. I was told last week that a position on GAAPweb, a UK Finance Recruitment site, attracted over 400 applications. With that sort of competition, it’s very hard not to get disheartened. However, with a few simple steps you can increase your chances of securing that all-important interview, but remember;
“No one has a free hour to hear your sob story, you have to make a compelling case for that to happen” Jia Lynn Yang - Fortune.com
1. The CV – Match your skill to employers needs
The CV or resume is your number 1 marketing tool. Make sure it’s upto date and reflects your experience. Ask someone you know, to give you feedback on how it looks and whether your CV shows your achievements, not just what you did. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes.
However, having one CV is not suitable for all positions that you will apply for. You should tailor your CV for the role that you are applying for. For instance if the role is for a Project Manager then you should highlight your project management experience, projects you have managed, worked on or implemented.
A template CV can be downloaded here CV Template
2. Keep relevant
Whilst out of work do something practical such as learning a new skill or perfecting an existing one. This can be done by enrolling at your local college or studying online. Even short courses such as learning to use Excel or Powerpoint or improving how you deliver presentations will not only improve your technical skills, but will demonstrate to prospective employers that you have been doing something positive with your time and demonstrate your commitment to finding a new role.
Practice for interviews. Think about what the interviewer might want to know – anticipate questions and practice responses with examples of relevant experience to support your answers.
Read the news about what's happening in your industry. Understand who the major suppliers and competitors are within the industry and how they are performing. Try to identify factors which may impact your industry. Form opinions as to what is going on, the causes and how prospective employers should prepare. For instance, if you were in the food industry then you may think that with the trends towards healthy living a prospective employer should be developing good value healthy alternatives.
3. Offer solutions
Look at the products and services that prospective employers offer and identify ways in which they can be improved. Be free with advice or suggestions when you get the opportunity, although be careful not to lecture. Be tactful!
4. Target your search
Submitting your CV for lots of roles may feel like you’re doing something and being proactive, but when there’s 400+ people applying for an advertised job, you might as well be playing the lottery. Employers now have so much choice you will really need to tick all the right boxes. Gaps in skills, which may be overlooked when the market is booming, will not be considered in a downturn. Consequently, if your experience is in telecoms, then, unless you’re skills are highly portable, you are most likely to find work in that industry. These are the companies that you should look to target first. In areas that have been significantly affected due to the downturn, such as financial services, then you should consider retraining for another industry with more opportunities.
Make sure that the recruiters know you as more than a CV. Speak to relevant recruiters personally go and meet them rather than just speaking to them on the phone or by email. Meet as many people as you can and explain how you can help them.
5. Stand out from the crowd
Make sure you’re Although make sure it’s for the right reasons. When Aleksey Vayner submitted a video CV for a position at UBS investment bank, it was quickly circulated around other Investment Banks before being uploaded to You tube before quickly going viral and Vayner became a figure of fun. However, when Jamie Varon wanted to work at Twitter, she created a website which contained a cv and a blog of her quests to secure a role at Twitter. Within 24 hours Twitter contacted her to arrange an interview.
6. Remain positive
As time goes on, it is natural to get depressed. However, keeping a positive attitude will make you stand out when you do secure an interview. Imagine yourself in the job and the work you would be doing. Treat the search for work as work itself. Set targets for the number of recruiters you speak to and make notes of your progress. Follow up on all leads and be proactive. Reading a book on self empowerment such as Awaken The Giant Within by Antony Robins is a great starting point and will help you think about what you want to achieve.
Post update 7.5.09
As is usual with google, you find something of interest when you're looking for something else. I found an article in the National Post on the same subject and I thought I'd update the post and share the key strategies with your here:
1. Develop your personal brand.
Our world today is not just about what you do but who you are and the image your project. And people will judge the kind of person you are very quickly. Use of Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook can all help develop your brand. see: looking for a job? Harness the power of social networking.
2. Focus on and develop your strengths.
Too much of our education system and workplace has focused on correcting your weaknesses, an exercise that frequently ends up in you becoming mediocre at something. Develop your strengths so you can minimize your weaknesses. Suggested reading: Marcus Buckingham Now Discover Your Strengths is an excellent book and it's really helped me identify what I'm good at.
3. Treat every encounter and conversation you have with someone as an interview.
You never know where that next job opportunity will come from.
4. Never be unemployed even for a day.
Volunteer in an organization where you can use your talents, so you might network with someone that can help you, and you avoid the cycle of negative thinking about being jobless while sitting at home.
5. Find mentors.
Hire a coach, find a wise person to give you ongoing counsel, preferably outside your family or work.
Read the full article here