Getting ahead of the crowd in your job hunting efforts is what everyone should try to do. There are certain things that you should know and do that most other applicants won’t.
1) Companies still recruit in December (but many applicants assume otherwise)
Contrary to popular belief (and the belief of many applicants), brands do still recruit in December.
New skill requirements, resignations and retirements don’t simply cease during this part of the year and companies need to fill those gaps. In many cases, managers are under pressure to be prepared and have a full complement of employees ready for the start of the New Year.
If you’re looking for a new job at this time of year, then instead of assuming that there’s no point in making the effort until January, concentrate your energies in the knowledge that there’s likely far less competition for the role at this time of year.
Networking with businesses around Christmas can be easier too, as they’re more likely to be running social campaigns and less formal social marketing – more on networking later.
2) Clean your nails and brush your hair
It may sound obvious and something that we do as a standard part of our day, but ensuring that our nails and hair are clean and tidy is important in an interview situation.
If the interviewer is sat across the desk from you and you’ve got dirty nails, then they’ll be in plain sight (unless you’re aware and are making a conscious effort to hide them, which will look weird!).
If your hair looks as though you’ve just been dragged through a hedge backwards, then it will have a similar effect, especially if the role is customer-facing.
Whether we like it or not our appearance matters, where our careers are concerned, and will be what interviewers remembers about us. How we conduct and present ourselves is usually a reflection of how we live and work generally.
3) Check your digital self
Before embarking on a new job search, check your personal brand online.
Are your social profiles clean and safe, should a prospective employer scour through them for information?
Run a Google search on yourself, are there any results that you wouldn’t want your employer to see? One way to keep track of your digital self online is to set up a Google alert using your name.
Does your LinkedIn profile reflect the qualities, qualifications and competencies of the role that you’re looking for? Do you have a suitable profile image (NOT a cartoon version of yourself!)?
One element of preparation prior to looking for a new job is to share relevant content with regards to the type of role your looking for or the brand(s) you’re targeting.
Increasing your visibility and influence in your profession will get you noticed, provide you with an interesting topic of conversation in your interview and show that you’re passionate about what you do.
4) The vast majority of jobs are never ‘advertised’
It’s reported that approximately 80% of vacancies are never advertised in the traditional sense, they are filled using referrals and networking.
This can be used to your advantage by knowing your target brands and making a conscious effort to engage with them. LinkedIn company pages and groups are a great place to start, as they allow an instant connection to businesses which can be used to comment on and share their updates.
Building meaningful, relevant connections on LinkedIn will increase your chances of someone in your network referring an upcoming position to you. Increasing your network will take time and effort, so thinking ahead is a must.
5) Get someone else to read your CV (it’s easy, so do it)
Once you’re happy with your CV, ask someone else to read it and give feedback. This doesn’t have to be a professional CV writer, it just needs to be someone that can spot spelling and grammar mistakes.
Not checking a CV and leaving obvious errors in it will have an immediate negative affect on whoever reads it. Even if you have the right experience and qualifications for the role, if you can’t ensure that the document you use to advertise yourself is free from mistakes, then you may be dismissed before even getting an interview.
6) Be aware that your CV may never get read by a person (and use it to your advantage)
It’s very common for software to score and sort your CV before any human lays eyes on it. This may seem harsh, but the sheer number of applications that many brands receive makes it almost impossible for a person to deal with the workload.
If you know how CV’s are scored by software, then you can use that to your advantage though.
Many of these programs will look for keywords within your CV content that match those within the specific role you’re applying for, so optimising your CV for each position is crucial. Once it’s gone through your application it will score you based on how well your CV matched the job description.
Only then will a human scan through the successful applications in order of how well you matched the position.
Luckily, there’s a website called jobscan.co that will help you to match and score your CV compared to a specific job description. Once you’ve run your CV and targeted job description through the site, it will score you and give suggestions on how to improve your CV for the role.
7) It’s not just what you know
When in an interview, remember to try and be yourself. As well as looking for an employee that can do the job, most brands will be looking for people that fit the company culture and that they can work with on a daily basis.
Coming across professional, but too wooden, may well have an adverse affect on the interviewer if they feel that you might not fit in.
If you’re a nice bright person that has some sense about them, then you’ll be an attractive option for most employers.
8) Make use of technology
In a world where technology is available from anywhere and at anytime, it’s in your own best interests to take advantage of it.
- Use social media to engage with brands and influencers that will help to progress your career
- Use tools such as jobscan and Grammarly to ensure that your CV is optimised
- Use Google alerts to stay up to date with your personal brand and news on the companies you’re targeting
- Use industry-specific online job boards to publish your CV
- Use blogging platforms to build influence in your professional area
9) Know how to respond to bad interviewers
So you’ve done all your research, you’ve networked with the right people and got an interview for the perfect job via a referral (so not too much competition). You get to the interview and the interviewer is either rude or deliberately difficult – how you handle the situation counts.
There’s a couple of techniques you can employ when responding to overly direct or just plain rude questions or comments:
- Don’t answer statements, a statement is not a question. If the interviewer makes a statement about your CV, then they’re not looking for an answer. If they were, they’d have asked a question
- Don’t let your ego get the better of you. At first, a comment or observation about you from the interviewer may seem harsh, but it might just be a fact. Try and look at these types of comments from their point of view
- When answering questions, rather than jumping straight in with an answer, think about the question for just a couple of seconds, then answer. Simply pausing for a very brief period will be enough to avoid hasty, ill-considered responses.
- If the interviewer clearly hasn’t prepared for the interview, then instead of getting annoyed and letting this affect your chances, see it as an opportunity. They are now the one with the nerves and it’s your chance to be the extremely helpful and forgiving applicant. By happily helping them out with the details that they should have already read about you, they’ll naturally remember you as ‘the one that was really cool about my unpreparedness’. That’s one great way to differentiate yourself from other applicants.
10) Distance is no longer an issue
With the continued growth of SaaS solutions, distance is becoming less inhibiting to job applicants and employees in general. Many roles that previously required being in the office to manage are now fully achievable from anywhere with an internet connection.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to widen your search and look at more locations as possible opportunities.
The more popular cloud systems become, the more applicants will start to realise this fact and widen their own search, so get in there first.