CAREERS’ panel of expert recruiters answers a reader’s question each week. Have a question? Email [email protected]
I have not applied for job for a very long time. Where do I start?
Head of Organisational Psychology Consulting,
Stillwell Management Consultants
Start by determining what sort of work you would like to do which may or may not differ from what you have been doing, or if you have had a career break, done in the past. Research job advertisements in areas of interest and identify the qualifications and skills desired for these roles and consider whether you have transferable skills or need to do additional training. Updating your CV is essential for which you may want to get professional assistance and also get tips on writing applications and doing both face-to-face and video interviews. Reach out to people in your network who may also be able to help you get your foot in the door, especially if you are fairly flexible about what you are happy or willing to do.
If you are entering the jobs market for the first time in years, it’s advisable to firstly pause and define exactly what you are looking for. This allows you to focus your job search, which will ultimately make it more productive and successful. For example, consider why you want a new job now. Perhaps you would like more responsibility or want to diversify your skills and experience. Maybe you want to move into a new industry. Or perhaps you want to improve your salary, benefits or work/life balance. From this, define the exact role or roles that represent the next sensible step for you, any skills you may need to develop to make you a more suitable candidate and what salary and benefits you are realistically looking for. Next, update your CV and LinkedIn profile. You can download a CV template from our website that contains all the information employers want to see today. Remember to focus on what you can offer an employer, not what you want from a job. Then you are ready to commence your job search. Many people find it helpful to break their job search down into small actionable tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. For example, each day find and apply to at least one job opening, network with existing connections, build your online connections and sharpen your job interview skills. Don’t forget to also schedule a meeting with a recruiter. Our Job Search Planner can help guide your job search.
There are so many resources available to support you when applying for a job. Start by reviewing your current resume and making sure you are tailoring it and your cover letter to the type of role you’d like to apply for. If you’re not sure how to improve it, you can find resume and cover letter templates online, or guides at your local library. Once you have done your resume and have a cover letter template, you are ready to start applying for jobs. If you’re unsure about what industry to apply in start by looking through job boards and sites in your area. You can also find work by checking company and recruitment agency websites, local papers and community noticeboards.
If it’s been a while since you last went job hunting, I’d recommend browsing through physical and online job listings. By doing this, you’ll be able to re-familiarise yourself with the job market and identify what employers are currently looking for in candidates. You could also engage with a recruitment agency that specialises in your industry, talk with friends and family, and re-establish old networks to open yourself up to new opportunities.