Five job searching tips to help YOU stand out in today’s job market

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Shreena Gokani covid-19, candidate

Between March and May this year, there were an estimated 476,000 vacancies in the UK - 342,000 fewer than in the previous quarter. The good news is that there are green shoots starting to appear, with lock down being loosened and businesses re-opening, the upturn seems to be happening. The labour market, however, will remain fiercely competitive so consider these job searching tips to stand out in today’s job market.

1. Be visible in your job market
Before you do anything else, you will want to make sure your online profiles are updated. Just as you would update your CV and then post it to job boards, ensure your LinkedIn profile is as strong as it can be:

  • Use a picture that is professional yet warm – this photo should encourage people to want to reach out to you so try and smile in it
  • Switch on the LinkedIn setting that shows you’re looking for job opportunities – if you’re contacted about new opportunities, make sure you reply.  LinkedIn’s algorithms will automatically switch this setting off after a few unsuccessful (or ignored) contact attempts
  • Check your contact details such as telephone number and email address are correct – so many people forget to change these back from their former employer!
  • Create a strong summary about who you are and what you can do.  Update your work history, experience and employment dates too – try and surmise your key skills and experience that future employers will be interested in
  • Join relevant groups to the industry you work in and expand your network to include appropriate people. Like, comment and share relevant posts to your strengthened network, showing how immersed in your market you are – this will also start to get your name out there and hopefully raise your profile

You’d be surprised how many active job seekers don’t align their profiles with their current situation, which can raise questions and send conflicting messages.

2. Research your industry
It’s important to know what’s happening in your industry at any given time, so make attempts to stay ahead of the game and keep your finger on the pulse!

  • Explore which companies are recruiting and which aren’t. This will not only help you to keep an eye on their live vacancies via their websites, but it will also give you clarity in which companies you should be following on LinkedIn or other social media
  • Understand what the state of play is with your target companies – what were their plans pre COVID-19 and how they might have changed
  • Find and connect with relevant contacts that might be influential in the decision-making process at your target companies. As mentioned above, engaging with content they may be sharing can only increases your visibility and increase your chances of standing out

3. Tailor your job applications
Whilst your target list of companies may be actively recruiting, some won’t be, so be flexible in your approach:

  • Tailor, make or adjust your CV for each job application /submission. Remember, the person reading it doesn’t know you and will only be able to make decisions based on what they read. It’s easy to assume that they’ll know certain skills or experience that you may have, but be clear and transparent, making it easy for them to join the dots. The person reading your job application or submission might not be a specialist in your field
  • Include a cover letter surmising your skills, experience and achievements. Let people know why you are applying to them – why are you keen to work with the company? Highlight and match the skills and experience that the company is or will likely be looking for, against the skills and experience that you have to offer them. Make these obvious!
  • Consider sending your CV speculatively to organisations who may not be recruiting now but may be in the future.  Let them know your motivators for introducing yourself to them; why are you particularly interested in them as an organisation and what the benefit to them would be for them to consider you, when they start their recruitment drive up again
  • Consider what other industries you might like to work in. Your normal hirers may have been impacted by COVID-19, so be open to exploring new areas, into which your skills and experience could also transfer
  • Let employers know that you will be flexible in your approach, from longer term remote working to a more flexible work pattern or even embracing new technology or processes.  Could you consider temporary or contract work for the time being?  With things changing on a day by day basis, it’s important to demonstrate adaptability 

4. Plan and prepare your job search
Job searching can become mentally and emotionally exhausting at the best of times, so it’s vital that you prepare yourself and manage your mindset.  Use these tips to help to keep you on a positive pathway:

  • Create a daily schedule and set yourself goals or objectives to meet, for example to make a certain amount of networking calls a day or to find a specific number of decision makers / hiring managers within your target company list or to make a particular amount of applications a day
  • Manage your expectations – the recruitment and decision-making process could potentially take longer than it previously did.  Due to COVID-19 and people being placed onto the government’s furlough scheme or working from home, remember, people now have more than just the standard work challenges to solve.  They could be home schooling, even working reduced hours or even doing other jobs or tasks that don’t normally fall within their remit 
  • In readiness for when the interviews start to flow through, practice!  If you’re preparing for a virtual interview, check that you have the relevant software installed and that it’s working correctly.  Swat up on the company history and the company’s requirements so that you can plan and match your answer around the skills or experience they are looking for.

5. Don't forget to keep YOU in mind
It’s so important that as well as investing enough time on your job search, you also make time for yourself so that you can maintain a clear and focused mind…

  • There are a number of free learning resources available online, with courses ranging from psychology to marketing. Take advantage of these free offers and develop yourself in areas that will or could support your professional development: Free Learning from the Open University , National Careers Service , LinkedIn Learning
  • Get active!  Whether you’d prefer to do a Joe Wicks workout in the comfort of your own home, or fancy getting out for a run or a yoga class taking in the beauty of nature – we all know that exercise has it’s obvious health benefits, but it’s also great for you emotionally.  Increasing your endorphins can help to boost your self-esteem, enhance your mood, help you to sleep better and also increase your energy.  These are all things that will help you to put your best self forward!

TXM Recruit’s experienced Recruitment Consultants are accustomed to supporting job seekers from within Engineering and Rail, along their career journeys, so if you would like to book a career consultation then please get in touch!