Job hunting is a mine field, it truly is. Many of you may be aware that I’ve been struggling for a while to land myself a permanent job of late. I’ve landed myself some fantastic internships and placements over the years, and I’ve worked on my own projects as well. It has been very hard at times and I’m perfectly willing to admit that. However, if I don’t land a role there was obviously someone more suited to the position – and who can blame a company for picking the right person for the job?
Along the way I have picked up a fair few tips on how to approach job hunting and the employment process and I wanted to share those with you today. Disclaimer – I’m no expert, this is just what I have learned along the way!
KNOW YOUR END GOAL
This is especially important if you’ve just graduated, but for all those searching for work. Make sure you have a good think about what type of role you want to work in, what sector and what environment. Decide if you want to work full or part time, and thing about if you would be willing to compromise – and what makes the right ‘right’ to do that for.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
You will inevitably be asked questions about what you look for in a company to work at, what your salary expectations are, what is important to you – e.g. progression within the company, are you money orientated, will you thrive to work towards targets..) Do your research into the things you need to in order to be able to answer these questions confidently without any uhm-ing and ah-ing.
Have an up to date basic CV and tweak it where needed for each position you apply for. I have a ‘generic CV’ and an industry specific one. Don’t think your CV has to be that plain black and white typed out piece that school led you to believe – this is especially true for any creative industry. My CV is bright and even has pictures on it. I’ve also made it interactive with a link to my blog – as most job applications are online these days and I have had positive feedback on that from potential employers. Employers are going to see a lot of CVs every time they advertise a job so you’re going to want your CV to be a pleasant reading experience, and appearance is part of that.
I can’t stress how important it is to prepare for your interview. The internet is freely available so if you go in without knowing the basics an interviewer is likely to write you off straight away. Make sure you understand what the company is about and understand the base expectations for the position you are interviewing for – you can ask more specific questions to get more a company specific view of the role. The crucial point is: Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail – your teachers weren’t wrong about that.
My biggest piece of advice for interviews is go in knowing what you want to know – an interview process is as much for you to find out if the company and the job is right for you as it is for them to find out if you are the right person to employ. Have 2-3 more unusual questions in your arsenal – this means even if the interviewer covers everyone you wanted to know you are still engaging and wanting to know more about the company and the role. One thing I like to ask if what the most unusual/fun/unexpected day the interviewer has had during their time at the company.
BALANCE YOUR TIME
Whilst job hunting can be a full time job in itself, use your time wisely. Don’t spend all day everyday at it. Just like you would do at work, take breaks when your brain is burning out. Use your time to do something else when you do burn out. Read, take up a hobby, go to the gym – you’ll thank yourself later and it will keep your brain refreshed when you return to your hunting. In short, whilst it’s important don’t let it totally take over your life.
It’s super hard, and totally de-motivating to put so much time into applications and half the time not hear anything back. It’s exhausting doing your research into companies for interviews to get pipped to the last post by a better candidate. I had big slumps on more than one occasions. It’s hard, it really it. I cried, I had a couple of really bad days. That is okay! Take your down time, just make sure you pick yourself back up and keep going. You will get there, don’t give up!
Have you got any tips for how to approach job hunting?