It has been a tough old time, with wave after wave of announcements about redundancies in different industries hit by the economic impact from Covid-19. However, some businesses are scaling at a staggering rate as they meet new trends in demand. This is a time of mass displacement of talent, including some superstar performers who have never been in the open talent market before.
Richard Hamilton, co-owner of the Recruitment Advertising Business Guru shares 5 insights from over 20 years of working in recruitment…
Now is the perfect time to take a look at where your career is heading, spend an afternoon to review your skills and build a picture of where your values lie and what benefits you can bring to an employer. Understanding your own worth will not only give you self-confidence in your abilities but will also help you understand which opportunities are right for you.
Try asking past employers for written references to build a wider understanding of your strengths and achievements, this can be a really great way to get a second opinion and re-affirm your skills and what values you have.
When applying to positions it is far better to make 5 amazing applications than 50 average ones. So before you embark on your job search journey, get things organised and ship shape. Team Sky famously go to extreme lengths to identify and leverage marginal gains, from tweaking sleep patterns and dietary requirements to bike aerodynamics and more, they look to improve every area of weakness.
The aim is that all marginal gains add up into one big advantage. Job seeking is no different, if you can create an eye-catching professional CV, a first-class LinkedIn account, write the perfect cover letter and make applications to jobs the moment they go live you’ll beat the competition – just like Team Sky does!
You may have heard the phrase “searching for a new job is a job in itself” as you embark on your job search you should set time aside each day to focus on job searching. There are a many ways you can put yourself out there in the shop window, from registering with job boards and applying to live vacancies to utilising your network of contacts and finding hidden opportunities there are a lot of bases to cover.
Let us say I’m searching for Copywriting jobs, typing “Copywriting jobs in London” into Google is probably the obvious start for most jobseekers, and it’s certainly an avenue to look at, however, it’s also the most trodden path. There is a whole world of opportunity out there and most of it lies elsewhere as the following graph explains…
As you can see from the above graph the head of the tail represents only half of all the opportunities, by searching far and wide – delving deep into detailed google searches, company career pages and the nichest of job boards – you can reach further down the tail to find additional opportunities.
Avenues to explore…
1. Live / Published Vacancies – Employers who are actively advertising their vacancies across job boards and with agencies. Many jobs are only advertised on one or two job boards, therefore, to avoid missing an opportunity register with multiple websites to cover all angles. Search beyond the large, mainstream job boards and look out for specialist agencies and niche job sites.
2. Hidden Vacancies – Employers with low recruitment budgets or those who are just starting out on the route to hiring, search company career pages and social media feeds for results. Search social media channels for keywords such as “I’m hiring for …” / “we’re recruiting for…” or “New Vacancy AND …” Within Google it is also possible to search for recently updated company career pages, adapt and use the following search to return all employers that use the workable platform… site:apply.workable.com intitle:(Copywriter) London, UK Be creative and adventurous in ways to search out and find new opportunities.
3. Making Speculative Enquiries – For the best talent companies will often make a position if the opportunity is great enough. Research and find businesses you really want to work for and make direct contact with them irrespective of if they have a vacancy or not. Build a list of companies that excite you and go after them, contact relevant people on LinkedIn or phone the offices, reach out directly and make yourself known. These types of approaches are hard to convert and can take longer to nurture, so if you’re not lucky straight away be persistent and circulate conversations with your contacts on regular basis so you’re at the forefront of their minds should an opportunity arise.
4. Networking – Reach out to your network of contacts to explore what opportunities they have (or are aware of). Publicly announce you are looking for work on LinkedIn and other social networks. Also, consider mailshotting all your connections through LinkedIn to ask if they or if they know of anyone hiring at the moment. Aim to do this regularly with different messages and updates on your progress, you might be surprised at how others might want to follow your job search journey. Over the coming days and weeks, you should aim to leave no stone unturned, but remember, the aim is not just to “find a job” it is to find the right opportunity. Although things are a little competitive right now that does not mean your next career move should not still fall in line with your career path and values.
Current market conditions mean that employers are filling jobs quickly, for job seekers this means you need to get your applications in quickly, within the first few days but ideally on day one. Those that are quick off the mark will reap the benefits this brings. A quick application means you will be putting yourself in the hat for the first round of filtering (which in current times is likely to be the first and only round).
Configure alerts on job boards and Google Alerts to do the hard work for you. Define detailed searches to return new vacancies the moment they are posted and get your application in quick. Set aside time every day (if possible 2 or 3 times per day) to react to vacancies. Tweak and finetune your alerts / searches in order to keep things specific, you want your alerts to be 100% relevant so you can make the most of your time.
Relevancy is king, especially in an employer’s market – For the best chance of success apply to the vacancies that are most suited to you and your skills this way you will stand a far greater chance of receiving an interview. That’s not to say you shouldn’t widen out your job search and apply to other positions that interest you, but it’s worth remembering that the wider you cast your net the harder the competition will be against you.
For those who work in sales the phrase “people buy from people” will probably be familiar to you, and it’s so true, making a personal connection in any walk of life is a great feeling and can help you go far, another truism in life is “it’s not what you know but who you know”.
Over the years it has always amazed me just how few people follow up their job application with a phone call, but the ones that do never fail to make an impression. Honestly speaking I would say only 1 in 500 applicants chase a job application by phone.
Big mistake. The mindset of most candidates is “I don’t want to bother them, they’re busy and probably have strict recruitment processes” however, the mindset of an employer can actually be quite different, they want to hear from brilliant, passionate and relevant candidates. Speaking to them over the phone gives you a unique opportunity to sell your skills, experience and passion for their company.
If you want to make an impression and to stand out from the swathes of other hopefuls then you need to phone up the hiring manager and get personal. I can understand that not everyone is comfortable doing this, however, you can still make a direct connection on LinkedIn and enquire about a call this way, it is a softer approach but can still work.
The aim is not to come across as pushy, your just politely enquiring and trying to spark up a conversation, be polite, confident and read the situation as it presents itself.