26 September 2014

Your Job Search Plan Of Attack


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Career development


Looking for, applying for and getting a new job has never been easy. Remembering everything from your personal brand to interview techniques can be daunting. It’s never been more important to have your job search plan of attack ready.

Where do you want to go?

your-career-journeyIf you’re at a stage where you’re thinking of a new job then you’ve probably already given some thought to what it is you want to do, why and which direction to take your career in.
It’s also worth giving serious thought to things such as working from home, flexi time and other factors that are now important parts of any career.

Are there particular brands that you would like to work for, would you like to relocate or even start a career where travel plays a big part?

The BBC recently reported the results of a survey on the most satisfying jobs in the UK. The results and accompanying article can be found here and may help help you as a guide.

Refresh and share your CV

Is your CV up to date and relevant for the work you’re looking for? Chances are that you’ve learnt new skills and competencies and have more experience than when you last updated your details.

Make sure that the information provided on your CV compliments the career you’re looking for and that it reads well. A few guidelines from a previous article are:

  • Look online at the company’s website and get to know everything about them, this shows that you’re serious and care about the position you’re attempting to get. Once you know about the company, you can tailor your CV to suit the role you’re trying to fill.
  • Use a simple layout for your CV, make sure it’s clear and easy to read; many recruitment departments will not spend too long reading each CV and so a limit of two pages should be set.
  • Make sure your contact information is clear.
  • List your current (or most recent) company/role first and then work backwards.
  • When listing accomplishments and successes in previous roles,  try to keep each one to a single sentence such as “Managed Sales team”.

Continue reading

Remember to share your CV once updated and complete. This includes relevant social profiles, job search sites and your personal site if you have one.
Also remember to email any recruitment agencies that you would like to work on your behalf with the new document.

Does your personal brand reflect what it is that employers are looking for?

super-employeeMaintaining a strong and up to date personal brand online is important anyway, but when looking for a new position you’ll be the subject of even more scrutiny.
Take time to examine each of your social networks (and any other sites that you can be found online such as forums) and update your profile to reflect the type of employee that prospective employer brands will be seeking.
You want to match your target brands idea of a super employee so you’ll need to research their culture and values, and reflect these qualities in the content you share and include on your profile.

Get involved with employers

Many brands now have active social profiles and encourage interaction with followers. Following, commenting on and discussing content that potential employers share is an effective way to get noticed by not only the brand itself, but other influencers in that industry.

Resharing content from target brands, and sharing content yourself that they may find interesting and reshare is one of the great features of social networks such as Twitter and Google+.
As information can instantly reach a large audience, as long as the content that you’re sharing is original and useful, it will likely be shared numerous times and by numerous individuals and brands, potentially including your target employers.

Attending conferences and shows that are also attended by your prospective employers should not be overlooked, not everything should take place online. Make the effort to travel to these events and network with employers and industry influencers alike.

Be seen to be an expert and influencer in your field

industry-influencerWhat you’re seen to create and share online will dictate how others perceive you as an influencer and expert in your field. In my opinion there are online networks which are more suited to this strategy than others.

LinkedIn, Quora and Twitter are great for building influence and, depending on your followers and contacts are seen to be places where more relevant information is shared and not just videos of cats and people falling into swimming pools.

Quora and LinkedIn groups specifically provide a stage on which you can be seen to offer advice and answer industry specific questions from other group members.

Writing articles on your own blog, for others or on industry sites is a fulfilling and effective way to build influence. By providing useful, original and relevant information in your articles you offer a service for others in your field and will soon build a network of your own, influence and be seen to be an expert. Such sites include:


Try something a bit different (but be careful)

There are a number of strategies you can employ to get yourself noticed by an employer. Whether you try these (and you feel they’re a good idea) is completely up to you!

  • Create an infographic CV
  • Youtube video advertising yourself
  • Use traditional mail and include a hand written cover letter
  • Create a website to showcase your skills and expertise
  • If appropriate, supply a free sample of your work to potential employees
  • Actually advertise on Google or social media


Be prepared for any eventuality

Being selected for interview is only half the battle of the recruitment process. Your first ‘real life’ meeting requires preparation and thought. If you prepare well then you’ll increase your self-confidence and be more relaxed which are both great benefits during an often stressful situation.

prepare-for-interviewResearch the brand your interviewing for, learn their culture, their values, what they do (in depth not just generally) and anything topical about the business that you’ve read in the news (positive stories).
It’s also a good idea to research the profiles of some of the key members of staff including the person that’s conducting the interview.

By doing your research you’ll then be able to angle your questions and answers towards the brand messaging. By answering and asking questions in a relevant and pertinent  way you’ll exhibit the fact that you’ve taken the time to learn about the business and taken a real interest in who they are and what they do.

Dress accordingly, arrive on time and be yourself, not just during the interview itself, but at all times while on site and the employer premises. The interviewer will have their own opinion of you from the interview but may also ask the receptionist and anyone else who came into contact with you what they thought of you.

Body language plays a large part in your interview success, and can tell an experienced interviewer a lot about you. Take a look at this previous article dedicated to body language for more details and tips.

Make the right moves as a new employee

There are certain things you can do, and say, as a new employee that will make a good first impression with colleagues and peers.

  • In an office environment always wear business dress for the first day, even if there is a casual dress policy. This will show that you’re happy to dress smart when required and gives a good impression of a well groomed employee.
  • Ask the right questions and show interest, remaining quiet and not being seen to be inquisitive and keen to learn is much worse than asking someone how to complete a task.
  • Make sure that you’re punctual, not only when arriving to work in the morning but also when taking breaks.
  • Don’t be a clock watcher, it’s a good idea to either arrive early or not to leave dead on 5:30pm.
  • Get involved in social events – this is a great way not only to show that you’re an outgoing employee keen to integrate but it’s also of great benefit to you when getting to know your colleagues.


There’s also a number of things you definitely shouldn’t do as the new employee!

As a bonus please feel free to download the below free infographic summarising this article.