Finding a “job” is a job – 10 steps to job search success
In today’s tight economy, jobs are scarce. However, preparing yourself for the process of finding a job will definitely improve your chances of succeeding. Follow these 10 steps to success.
Step 1: Have the right attitude
Your attitude will play a big part in your quest to find a job. Remember that you need to stay focused and be positive. It’s said that positivity is the first step to success. You need to believe in yourself and ensure that you come across as motivated, positive and realistic when dealing with potential employers.
Step 2: Prepare your CV
Your CV is your marketing tool and is often the only thing a potential employer will see before considering you for a job. It is very important that your CV is an accurate reflection of your qualification and experience and that it is free from errors.
Your CV should include all important information about you including Personal Details, Qualification, Experience and a Reference. If you don’t have a work reference available, ask your Headmaster, Pastor or someone else of importance within your community. Remember that they need to be able to give a character reference and so need to know you well.
Your CV should always be typed. You may need to ask someone for assistance – visit your local Internet café or even your library where you will be able to make use of a computer.
Things to consider when creating your CV:
• Make sure that you’ve done a spell check and that there are no spelling mistakes
• Make sure that the CV is neatly laid out and that all information is included in the correct place
• Make sure that your contact numbers are very clear on the CV so that a potential employer can quickly get hold of you if they’re interested in calling you in for an interview
• Try and keep the CV as short and sweet as possible – 2 pages maximum
• Make sure that your CV is up-to-date. Correct any changes including contact details and add any work experience as you get it.
Because many companies require you to email your CV to them, as opposed to faxing it, you should set up an email address. There are many free email addresses to choose from – hotmail, Gmail and others.
Step 3: Get your CV in as many places as possible
Looking for a job is hard work and will require that you spend time researching vacancies and opportunities.
I suggest that you get your CV on the many job portals that exist because this means that your CV will be accessible to many hundreds of recruitment companies and potential employers. These websites are free and you can simply upload your CV onto the sites – most of them have simple templates where you capture your information.
You should also keep an eye out for the job sections of your local newspaper where jobs will be advertised by recruitment agencies or potential employers.
Remember that whilst you are trying to get your CV in as many places as possible, you should only apply for jobs for which you are suitably qualified or experienced.
Step 4: Dress for the job you want, not the one you have (or don’t have)
It is very important that you behave appropriately throughout your job search process. This means that you need to ensure that not only during interviews, but all the time, you act the way you would if you were around your potential boss.
This doesn’t just mean the clothes that you wear but also how you engage with people on the phone. Remember that when you’re looking for a job you should ensure that you always answer your phone professionally and not how you’d speak to your friends or family. Also make sure that you have voicemail facilities set up on your phone and that the message is professional. The message should clearly identify your name and surname so that a potential employer can be sure they’re dealing with you and can leave a message for you to contact them back.
If you are invited to attend an interview, make sure that you’re dressed appropriately. You must ensure that your clothes are suitable for the job you’re applying for. Rather opt for conservative clothing – trousers and a collared shirt for men and trousers/skirt and a nice blouse for women. Don’t wear anything that could be seen to be too revealing or in poor condition.
You and your clothes should be clean and neat. Make sure that you fix any hems, buttons or other problems if there are any.
Shower, wash your hair, brush your teeth and put on deodorant before going to the interview. You need to look your best to impress. Looking good also helps you to feel more confident and this is always a plus when you go into an interview.
Step 5: Manage your time and always be punctual
Potential employers will be looking at everything about you during the recruitment process. They will specifically look to see if you’re reliable and able to manage your time efficiently. This means that you must ensure that you arrive for the interview on time.
If you’re not sure where you’re going or how to get there rather be very early than late. If you arrive more than 15 minutes before your appointment time, rather go and get a cold drink, take a walk or wait somewhere else. Being too early can be just as bad as being late.
Step 6: Preparing for the interview
You should always prepare for a job interview. It’s normal to feel nervous about the interview but you need to try and manage your nerves. You can feel more confident, and therefore less nervous, if you are prepared and know what to expect during the interview.
Ask the potential employer or recruiter what format the interview will take, whether there will be any skills assessments and who you will be meeting. If possible, try and find out more about the potential employer before the interview by looking out for articles about them in the newspaper, visiting their website or asking friends or family if they know about them.
Remember that you will be asked questions about your qualifications and experience. Always be truthful – you will be caught out if you lie and this will seriously jeopardise your chances of finding employment. Understand how you’d answer questions like:
What kind of job would you like to be doing?
Do you have any plans in terms of where you’d like your career to be in 3 or 5 years time?
What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
Think about how you could use examples from your school life, sporting achievements and other aspects of your life to show that you’d make a good employee. Have you held leadership roles at school, in Church or on the sports field? Do you display discipline through your sports practice regimes?
Step 7: Interview “rules of engagement”
There is a definite set of rules that apply during a job interview. You should always behave professionally and with respect. Refer to people you engage with during the interview as “Mr” or “Mrs” so-and-so. Remember to be polite and always use “please” and “thank you”.
Don’t be afraid to ask an interviewer to repeat the question if you’re unsure what they’re asking. Never be afraid to admit that you don’t know the answer – tell them that you’re not sure but attempt to provide an answer as you understand the question.
Step 8: Watch your body language
80% of communication is non-verbal and this means that the way that you’re dressed, your facial expressions and your body language all provide feedback to your interviewer. Be sure to consciously manage these non-verbal forms of communication during your interview.
Whilst there are differences culturally when it comes to body language, you need to pay careful attention to the following during an interview:
• Sit up straight in the chair – no slouching
• Don’t fidget. If you’re nervous, fold your hands in your lap rather
• Maintain eye contact with the interviewer – if you don’t look at them they’ll either think you’re too shy or trying to hide something
• Shake hands firmly with the interviewer
• Don’t cross your arms – this comes across as being a defensive gesture
• Talk slowing and clearly
Step 9: Remember to smile
Smiling releases endorphins, the body’s natural antidote to stress, and these help to fight the nerves brought on by stress. Stand up straight, think positive thoughts and smile – you will feel and look much more confident!
Step 10: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again
It’s highly unlikely that you will get the first job you apply for. Remember that every time you attend an interview you are gaining experience that will hopefully assist you in better managing your nerves and improving your chances of getting the next job.
It’s easy to become despondent during the job search process but remember that potential employers are more likely to consider a candidate who is positive, upbeat and confident. Rather than get yourself down on what you’d consider “failed interviews” focus on the positive lessons you can learn from the experience. Practice your interview skills and improve your presentation and you’ll be one step closer to getting your first job.
[box] Written by: Natalie Singer, APSO Chief Operating Officer[/box]