Thanks to Google, there is so much information available to us on CV tips and job hunting. By a click of a button and bam! multiple search results on how to write the perfect CV and land that dream job. So why are many of us still failing with knowledge at the tip of our fingers? This is what our elders always say; "Take everything with a pinch of salt". Not everything you find online will be helpful and its not always the finished product.
This week on the TL Podcast we had the pleasure of being joined by Chira, who was returning after his appearance in Season 1 on the side hustles episode. This time he’s back to talk through how best to give your career a boost by adjusting the way you apply for a new job. We thought this was a really important topic to touch on because of the current climate, after the initial shock of mass furlough and now redundancies – the job market has been shaken and it seems like there is more demand than supply. Chira offers his tips on how to stand out from the crowd, especially because traditional approaches may not work now.
What CV template is the best? Well that's like asking what's the best outfit to wear to a funeral, wedding, house party and interview. No one CV is a one size fits all. A CV has to be tailored to the type of industry, job and nature of work to be done. So you need to really think about the structure of your CV.
Yes, we can all get lazy but this one is crucial! Every hiring manger who picks up your CV must feel like it was written with them in mind. This means you have to research the company thoroughly and understand what their environment and culture is like, you can use this to cater your CV to the role you’re looking for. When you get to the interview stage, this is particularly impressive – they want to see that you’ve gone into a complete ‘geek mode’ over them and you know how they’re doing, what their competitors are up to, how the entire industry is shaping up and what facts and figures you have to back this up.
When you don’t have a job, your full time job… is looking for a job.
Can we say it louder for the people at the back!?
We find ourselves in a very precarious position where there are hundreds of people applying for one job. Therefore, the odds will not be in your favour if you are applying for a couple of jobs here and there. Back in 2016 the statistics were that UK Job seekers had to apply for an average of 27 positions just to get one interview. This translated to an average of 6.5 hours per week searching for a new job, and about 16 job applications a week. Fast forward to the current climate and statistics show that people are now applying on average 100 - 200 jobs before securing a role. To put it simply, you need to step your game up significantly to secure that all important job!
If you’re in a position where your redundancy has been confirmed and you know when the money will stop rolling in, or if you’ve already passed this point and don’t have enough saved to sustain yourself for the next few months – then there’s a good chance you’re job hunting. The intention is to land a job by taking all the time you would be dedicating to a job or side hustle, and dedicating it to applying for jobs. Sending 100 applications in a week shouldn’t be out of the norm, and hopefully the only thing that’s taking time away from doing this will be interviews. We need to be aware that there are so many more applicants now circulating in the job market, this means you need to work not only harder and smarter than everyone else – this goes for every industry!
LinkedIn - Social Networking with Your Future Colleagues
Networking – the best professional buzz word of the modern world! You need to do this on LinkedIn, in person, in online social meet ups, anywhere you find people in an industry you work in or want to work in… you need to network. If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, this is the first thing you need to do. LinkedIn is now the Facebook for professionals, it's where the decision makers gather - they generally don't scroll through for entertainment but for work related reasons. If a hiring manager sees your message or content on LinkedIn then you now they were in 'work mode' not 'play mode'.
Apply to Smaller Companies
They don’t have such lengthy application processes! If you’ve ever applied to a company like Deloitte or KPMG then you know that you basically have to go through some type of long term mental and emotional preparation to even begin the application. You can go to a smaller company and stand out mu easier, if you take the effort you were going to use not apply for to an international corporation and put it into applying for a local firm, then your chances of making an impression are much higher. In many instances you can learn so much more from these more intimate companies than an enormous one, but this move will be more about securing a role rather than propelling your career to the next level.
Make an Amazing First Impression
In the creative industry, it’s probably a little easier to express your personality more than in other professional fields. The way to make a first impression might be beyond a traditional networking event, but instead sticking your CV to the inside of a pizza box and having it delivered to the office you wish to work at. There are so many applicants in fields such as Fashion and Media anyway, the pandemic just means you have to work even harder to be noticed, because if we are honest with ourselves, then we know the content of a the CV will probably be the same as 100 other applicants. That being said, it’s definitely possible to get creative for a corporate application – you’re able to make the typical white-sheet CV look interesting to the banking, IT and law industries. Chira suggests infographics and adding colour and photographs (not tacky ones) to ensure they see your CV in the pile and reach for it first. In this digital world, however, the best way to do this would be to have an eye catching subject line in your email and an incredible covering letter – this will serve as your hand delivered pizza box. But this is when you need to know your industry very well, all these approaches are better in some industries and not each other.
Reach out to Recruiters
This one is for everyone who is and isn’t applying. You can be a student before graduation, a well-established professional in a current role or have recently lost your role. You need to contact recruiters and send your most recent CV regardless, they will keep it on file in case something comes up, this is how you get them calling you before you need to call them. Even if you’re head hunted for something you’re no interested in – send them your CV and ask them to try again if something else arises.
Review your Applications and ask for feedback
If you're doing hundreds of applications; it will be so easy to lose track of your applications. We would recommend having a system that allows you to keep a tab on your applications. and also note outcomes and feedback provided.
Here is a free downloadable copy a worklist template to help you write all your Job Application.