How to make your job search more effective

If you are considering looking for a new job, having a plan before you start is essential.

Planning what you will do will not only make the process much quicker but will also help you to make it much more effective. Here is a simple 7 point guide on what you need to do.

1 – Maximise your personal networks (Social Media)

Your first port of call should always be your own network. Remember it’s not what you know, but who you know! Let your friends, ex-colleagues and anyone else in your business/social network know you are looking for a new job. Update your social media profiles (i.e., LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) to reflect this and make sure that they are up to date. Online profiles are being used more and more by prospective employers to see what you have to offer. Treat them like an extension to your CV and make sure they match!

2 – Define your USP’s and communicate them clearly

You know what you are good at, but not everybody else will do. So make sure you clearly communicate these in your CV, online profiles or any covering letters you send. Don’t be arrogant or too bold, but be confident and tell people what you are good at and why.

3 – Check your CV, and then recheck it!

One of the biggest reasons for many failed job applications is spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in a CV. You’ve had a long day, you need to update your CV, and you rush it through before you go to bed. You run your eye over it, and it looks good, so you send it off with your application. Don’t! Wait until the morning and, with a clear head, look at it again. It will amaze you how many things you will spot and, at the very worst means an extra 10 minutes of your time is wasted when you find the CV is just as perfect as it was last night!

4 – Leave no stone unturned!

There is no one place where you will find all the jobs in Cambridge. Some employers will use job boards. Others will use recruitment agencies. Some will use social media much more and so the list goes on. You need to cover as many bases as possible. So, try to include all the leading job boards as often as you can. Most of these will be dominated by recruitment agencies (not so on the Cambridge Jobs Board!), but you will at least be able to find jobs to consider. Also, try to research local employers as much as you can and make a direct application where possible. This will always make a difference to your success rate.

5 – Use your cover letter correctly

While your CV should be almost the same for every job you apply for, your cover letter does not need to be so. In fact, your cover letter is arguably your only chance to connect with an employer. Use it wisely! Don’t just say ‘Hi, I’m John and I want to apply for your job…’ Tell them why you are so keen on this job and on the company. Summarise for them the key points from your CV and application and why this matches their job. Make it easy for them to see you are a perfect match and someone they should be talking to asap.

6 – Take a deep breath and don’t panic!

When you first start searching for a new job, there will be so many websites to view, and so many jobs in Cambridge to consider that it might all seem a bit daunting. Who should you apply to? Should you just send one application at a time, or apply for multiple jobs on the same day? While decisions like this will vary from job seeker to job seeker, everyone will get to a point where it will all just seem like too much. This is the point where you need to take a deep breath and don’t panic! A calm and systematic approach to finding a new job will help you to cope with the pressure that comes with this and will help you to reach your end goal: A great new job in a great company.

7 – Be prepared for difficult questions

Even before you get to an interview stage, you might be asked to provide extra information on difficult or awkward topics. It might be about your salary expectations, or why you left your last employer. It could be that you are asked to demonstrate why you are so keen on this job or be challenged that maybe you don’t have enough experience. Being prepared for these sorts of questions is key to finding a new job. When you apply for a job, try to look at it from the employer’s side. Would you offer yourself an interview for this job? What parts of your application might you review (as the employer) and want to know more about? By looking at each application as objectively as possible, and identifying any areas of weakness or ambiguity, you can be prepared for these difficult topics and answer them with real strength and credibility.

So, before you really start looking for jobs in Cambridge, use the above points to help plan your attack. Maybe ask your other half or a close friend to help you with this and try to be as objective about your details as possible. Good luck!