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Job Hunting Guide

15 Jul 2016

The competitive nature of the current UK job market means that job-hunting is no easy task. Use our step by step guide to ensure that your search for a new career is as effective and successful as possible.


Before you do anything, you need to have a clear idea of the role you want. You will have a number of things to consider:

  • Identify your key strengths and weaknesses – what sort of roles would these suit best?
  • What do you enjoy? It is important to think about your previous roles, particularly which aspects were beneficial, which weren’t, and why.
  • Think about the future – Where do you want to be in 5, or 10 years time? You can revolve your job search around roles which will enable you to achieve your long-term goals, as well as your short-term.
  • Research the market – You need to know what opportunities are out there so that you can decide which appeal to you the most.
  • Create a wish list – if you could work for anyone who would it be? If you could do any role, what would it be? Try to establish which parts of your strategy are the most important – it may be the training opportunities, the culture of the firm, or the chance to use a particular skill.

Having this clear in your mind will give you the confidence to begin your job hunt, secure in the knowledge that when the right role comes along you will be ready.

Now that you know what you want to achieve, it is time to put your plan into action!

Your CV
Before you do anything else you will need to write a CV – your most important career tool, you are reliant on this document to make a positive 1st impression and secure those all important interviews. Your CV needs to be your sales brochure – if you are not getting a satisfactory response then your document is letting you down and you will continue to fall at the first hurdle.

Opportunities Available
Your next step is to distribute your CV – this is where your ‘strategy’ is going to be important. Don’t limit yourself, research vacancies from a variety of sources:

  • Online Job Boards
  • Newspapers
  • Industry Specific magazines
  • Company Websites

If there is a particular company you have in mind, don’t be afraid to contact them directly to enquire as to opportunities which may be available. Make sure you have a strong speculative cover letter to introduce yourself.

Before making the decision to apply for a role, make sure you do your research and ensure that the role would complement your strategy.

  • Visit the company website and try to establish the sort of culture which may exist in such a firm.
  • Research competitors – they may have similar roles available and you may find that they would provide more opportunities for you.
  • Research the industry – perhaps visit some internet forums for the opportunity to speak to real people who have worked in a similar role before – Nothing beats advice from those with 1st hand experience.
  • Be realistic – there may come a time when you are unable to meet all of criteria on your ‘wish list’. This is fine, as long as you don’t sacrifice the aspect or aspects which you decided were most important to you.

Congratulations for reaching this stage – Be confident in the knowledge that the Recruiter has been impressed! Be positive, and go into the interview with the belief that you are the best person for the job, and that the job is the best role for you!

  • 1st Impression – Still as important as ever, ensure that you are dressed appropriately and greet the interviewer professionally. Remember, it is better to be over-dressed compared with your interviewer rather than under.
  • Ensure that you have done your research and are prepared for the sort of questions you will be asked. The Interviewer will want to know why you want to work for them and why you would be the best person for the job. It may be a good idea to prepare answers to some of the general questions which you expect to be asked.
  • Dependent on the role, the Interviewer may want to test your awareness of the industry, so make sure you are up-to-date with the latest news and developments.
  • Try not to be too nervous – if you are well prepared then you have no reason to worry as a Recruiter will never expect you to be perfect. Be confident and sure about you application as this will rub off on the Interviewer.
  • Have a list of questions you would like to ask – The Interviewer will be happy to see that you have thought ahead and are showing a keen interest in the company. This is also an opportunity for you to decide whether the role really does match with your requirements.
  • Always thank the interviewer for their time.

Your Interviewer should give you an idea of the timescale within which you should expect to hear a response. Don’t be afraid to follow up with a call, proactive enthusiasm will only ever work to your advantage – remember that a successful job search relies on you being memorable and standing out from the crowd.

We all go through a job rejection at some point in our lives. Whilst it is always disappointing, it is important that you do not let it affect your job search. Speak to the Recruiter and request some feedback, you will gain confidence from hearing the positive things they have to say, and have the opportunity to focus on learning from the negative things so that you are in a better position for your next interview.

If you find that you are continually reaching interview stage and then receiving a negative response then it may be an idea to invest in some interview technique coaching to see where you are going wrong and improve your chances for next time.

Congratulations – You are the best person for the job!! Make sure you read the conditions of your offer carefully and discuss any potential issues with the employer before signing anything. Remember to keep job-hunting until contracts are signed and you are happy with the conditions. If you have more than 1 offer you may be in a position to negotiate an improved contract – don’t be afraid to discuss this!

Most importantly, ensure that you are happy with the company and the role before you accept the job.

All being well, you should now be ready to start your new job! In advance of your first day make sure you have read over your contract and undertaken some additional research into the company and your role so that you are fully aware of what is expected of you.
Be proactive and introduce yourself to your new colleagues - attending social events is a great opportunity for you to bond with the team outside of a working environment.

Until there comes a time when you feel that you have reached a ceiling in the organisation and it’s time to move on, enjoy your new career and take advantage of any opportunities which are going to help you fulfil your strategy.

Remember that even if you don’t enjoy the role as much as you first thought, or find that your strategy has changed, the experience which you have gained is going to enhance your CV and make job-hunting the next time round even easier!