Sometimes it's tough going getting a new job. So to stand out from the crowd, you need to arm yourself with as many weapons as you can. Here are our top 10 tips.
1. Be prepared
The key to successful job searching is all about "being prepared". This means: having your résumé updated and ready to send; knowing how to write cover letters; and what to do once you score an interview.
2. Always send a knockout résumé and covering letter
To stand out amongst other candidates you need to get your skills and experience across in the most compelling and informative way. Having a top notch résumé is the key.
Be sure to have a basic résumé ready that can be altered to fit the job you are applying for. It should highlight your key skills, strengths and experience and be no more than two-to-three pages in length. The CV should be clear and visually attractive. Your cover letter should highlight (in point format) why you're the ideal person for the position.
3. Dress for success
Think about the image you wish to project when planning your interview outfit. Don't leave it to the last minute; get the outfit ready the day before so you'll avoid any last-minute disasters like a dirty suit or missing button. Remember to dress suitably to match the culture of the company. You want to look like you fit the part already. Pay attention to little things like perfume and aftershave, jewellery and make-up.
4. Ask the right questions
You've got to the interview stage and now all you have to do is answer their questions, right? Well you'd be wrong to think that's all there is to it. Interviews are a two-way street and you need to ask questions to gauge whether the company's the right fit for you. Do your research and always have a list of questions ready to take to the interview.
5. Widen your search
Sometimes simply reading the job classifieds and searching online job sites is not enough. Get in touch with all your contacts and see what jobs are available in the "hidden market". Develop a list of contacts through friends, family or former co-workers. A lot of companies now offer incentives to staff for recommending a suitable candidate, so don't be afraid to ask others to keep their eyes and ears open for you.
Another way to find yourself a new job might be to approach employers directly to express your interest in wanting to work for them. Do your research, prepare an Oscar-worthy speech or an outstanding letter, and make sure you establish contact with the right person.
6. Sign up with recruiters
Not getting anywhere with job ads? Then it might be time to turn to the professionals. Recruiters can help short list you for possible positions, get you a place at interviews and negotiate on your behalf when it comes to salaries/packages.
7. Act the part
Body language and positive thinking will go a long way to securing your dream role. When it comes to interviews, while it's always important to act yourself, there are some things you should always do. These include:
- Maintain eye contact at all times
- Address all people in the room
- Look interested
- Show that you are listening by using appropriate cues like nodding
- Have a firm handshake
8. Don't forget the basics
Remember three essential rules when you're job hunting and attending interviews.
Good manners: Always be polite, even if the situation isn't going your way. You never know what might happen now or in the future.
Good grammar: Make sure you spell check your job application and have a friend read it over for any mistakes.
Good appearance: It's important to look groomed and confident when attending an interview.
9. Get your referees in order
Try to tee up suitable referees as early as you can in your job search. They will play a vital role in supporting your efforts to land your dream job.
Generally you will need to supply two referees. Ideal candidates are people who have directly supervised your work in previous roles and are able to provide comments on your skills and work performance. The more recently you have worked with your referees, the better. Always alert your referees to any position you have applied for if you think they will be contacted. Never let them be caught off-guard.
10. Don't give up
Finding a new position can be a challenging time but it's important not to give up hope. If things get on top of you, take a break from the job search and do something you love. It pays to be as positive as you can be while job hunting.