So, since returning home from travelling, I’ve been through job site after job site trying to get myself a job again.
It’s been a long and at times demoralising task, and I’m pleased to say I’m now on the other side of it, with a start date on the 26th.
This post is all about the pit falls I’ve encountered, and things that have helped me along the way, which I’m hoping may be helpful to others.
Probably the most important tool to get noticed by a potential employer. Make sure your CV is up to date, and ask a friend to check it for you.
If you are struggling for content, again, talk to a friend. Read theirs for inspiration, and get them to proofread yours for suggestions. You’d be amazed how many of your skills and achievements they’ll bring up that you might have overlooked!
Just remember, a CV should not be too long, so make sure you don’t ramble on too much. Two pages is an absolute maximum in my mind. In fact I cut mine down to a page and a half.
Don’t be afraid to use bullet points rather than whole paragraphs. For example, I was the Learning and Development Rep for my old team, I listed this on a bullet point, and then would expand on what that actually meant in terms of my role if called to an interview.
Formatting is so, SO important!! If you have different fonts or text size throughout your CV it looks unprofessional and sloppy. Make sure you check the format and ensure the document looks neat and tidy.
There are LOADS of recruitment companies out there. Use them!
Don’t feel like you are being disloyal if you use a few, remember, you are not their client, the companies with jobs to fill are.
I mainly used two, Reed, and Employment Specialists. I wasn’t massively impressed with Reed, they had someone else’s CV printed when I went to meet them, and kept mentioning ‘when you worked for Capita’.
I have never worked for Capita.
They just happened to be based in the same building as my old employer, who hired them for admin work. I assume this is where the confusion came from, but an outsourcing company and an international insurance broker are VERY different things, and frankly I expect a recruitment company to know that.
So I leaned heavily on Employment Specialists, who made the role I’m now starting in possible.
If you have been offered an interview, you’ve passed the paper sift, and you’re doing well. This is the point where the potential employer will want you to expand on what is on your CV, as well as try to gauge if you are a good fit for them. I like to think of the latter part as a two way thing; yes, I need to fit what they need, but they also need to fit what I need, and this is where I guage that.
Be professional and polite (obviously) but also remember to be yourself. Let your personality shine through. After all, the aim is for them to hire you, not the fake, interview you.
Try and think of some questions to ask during and at the end of your interview. Try not to centre these questions around pay, or staff benefits, but a few that worked for me were “which insurers do you work with most?” And “Do you encourage insurance qualifications?”
Make sure you read up on the company you are interviewing with, as they will more often than not ask what you know about them.
If it becomes apparent that you don’t know anything about them, it will appear as though you are disinterested.
This one probably goes without saying, but your presentation when in an interview is extremely important. People will make a first judgment of you in seconds, which is heavily based on your appearance. Make it a positive one.
Obviously it’s dependent on the job you have applied for, but a general rule is to dress smart, don’t overdo make up, and make sure you are clean and presentable.
If you are called to a second interview, make sure you have a different outfit, don’t go dressed the same as the first!
Chasing and feedback
Keep a record of what jobs you have applied for and when. If you haven’t heard from a prospective employer, in a while (say 7-10 days) don’t be afraid to chase them.
It shows that you are proactive and keen, but it also means you are pushing them to say no directly if you were unsuccessful. This then opens the perfect opportunity to ask for feedback.
Sometimes your CV will be found by someone who doesn’t have a job to give at the time, but they may want to talk to you anyway.
If so, GO!
This is actually how I got the position I did, and in my first meeting I’d only thought of it as practice for other interviews. After my second meeting, I received a call to say the company were creating a position for me.
This probably won’t happen in most cases, but worst case scenario, you’ve got some more interview experience, and potentially started to form a positive relationship with an employer who may be recruiting in the future.
Finally, relax! If you don’t get a job offer, there will be others out there. I am somewhat of a believer that if you don’t get it, it wasn’t meant to be.
Well, that’s probably my main lot of suggestions. Just relax, and go for it!