We may well be coming out of the toughest economic period in almost a century, so if you’ve had enough of hanging on to your so-so job just because it pays the rent, now’s it’s finally the time to look for a new one.
You might be out of practice in job-hunting, though, so we’ve got some handy tips for you to think about as you scour the jobs pages.
Update your CV
The first thing you need to do is to dust off your CV – I may well have lain fallow for a few years. Think about what you’ve learned since you last looked at it. Have you been promoted? Achieved some serious targets? Have you been on any courses and actually used what you’ve learned? Remember to list your most recent experience first, and keep things concise.
Do your homework
You’re hoping to get an interview for your dream job at the very least. An interview is like a cross between an exam and a date. OK, you can’t guarantee chemistry, but you can guarantee that you know what the company is about, what its aims are and the latest news. This is important. Read the industry news, look at the company’s Facebook page and Twitter, and try to mention some of what you find at the interview.
Compile your portfolio
You should always have a portfolio ready to go, even if the job spec doesn’t ask for one. The fact that you take the time to get one together and keep it updated means that you take pride in yourself and your work. Don’t bore your potential employer, though. Restrict the items in your portfolio to six or seven, and be ready to go into depth about the two or three best ones.
You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job! What you should do if you’re in this Catch 22 situation is go on courses, attend seminars and networking events. Even if you have no on-the-job experience in a particular sector, braving it at seminars shows initiative and willingness. Lots of employers value that as much as years served. If you’re changing sector, you might need to learn new IT programmes, so take a look at information on Microsoft e-learning options.
How do you look online?
Most employers now look at the Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts of job applicants these days. Unless you have the squeakiest-clean online presence in the country, lock down your profiles and only show your good side! Consider setting up an FB page that can showcase your talents…or at least remove the pic of you minus one eyebrow after that stag night last June.
Nowadays, networking is an important part of business and professional life. It’s not cronyism; it’s just getting your name, face and talents known. Go to business events as often as you can – and talk! Aim to talk to ten people at each event, and collect their cards or details. Do not hog them, though. Five minutes max, unless you really click and you think you can move things forward.