Job search is a game, and you need to know the rules.


I had a conversation with Frank yesterday, whilst still in his 30s it’s more than 10 years since he last applied for a job and he recognised he needs some support. So much has changed, from jobs being advertised on line, to needing to take a direct approach to companies and how there is an increasing importance of using the people you know to both tell you of job vacancies and act as your advocate.

Style of CVs have changed too – it’s more about focusing on THE job you want and the organisation and using ‘achievement bullets’ not just a list of duties.

When most people start job search, they register with agencies and online job search sites, read through newspapers, looking for something that catches their eye, send off their CV and then wonder why they don’t get short-listed. They don’t understand the job search rules.

Let me share the top 5 Job Search Rules

Job Search Rules 1: Agencies are not interested in you unless they can get you into a job. They aren’t there to find the right job for you, but to place you in a job so they get their commission. It’s a transaction and if you are clear on this you won’t raise your expectations too high.

Find out in advance which agencies focus on the role you seek and see if you can get to talk with a consultant to find out more on how best you can help them, but don’t hassle or come across as too needy. If they have a job you are suited to they will let you know.

Job Search Rules 2: Your CV is a selling document, and it needs to sell you into the job you seek. Bland and unfocused CVs will not grab the recruiter’s attention.

Clarity of the job you seek will mean that you can create a CV focused on this. Make yourself stand out by focusing on what makes you different and the value you offer.

Job Search Rules 3: Expect rejection. It’s rare to get the first job that you go for, so you need to be able to pick yourself up and apply again, but also to review your performance, find out how you did and how you can improve.

Sometimes people tell me they’ve already applied for 20/50/200 jobs, so they are bound to get short-listed soon. Not if your CV and application is unfocused. You must pass a critical eye over your CV and ensure it focuses on the job. The step before this is to make sure you will be a credible applicant; would you shortlist you?

Job Search Rules 4: Be proactive. Don’t just wait for a job to be advertised, that means you are competing against many. Instead once you are clear on the job you are looking for, approach companies direct and ‘network’ (which just means talking with people who may be able to help) to find the jobs before they are advertised.

Too many fail to do this, they say that they don’t like networking, but it can be done in different ways and in a way that suits you. Start with people you know and use LinkedIn as a way to find people who could help you.

Job Search Rules 5: Get expert help. Whilst you can glean information from various job sites and learn from experience, how much is all this learning costing you? Wouldn’t it be easier to learn from an expert? How long would it take to learn to drive without an expert instructor? The money spent on job search support can result in better clarity over your job search campaign, a better financial package and a new job months sooner than doing it alone.

I’ve been helping people with career related issues for over 30 years. I work as an assessor and for many years was head of assessor training for all Post Office Businesses. I’ve been a consultant to organisations for 20 years guiding them in effective recruitment practices and chairing selection boards. Feel free to arrange a consultation to discuss how I can help.


Published On: November 4th, 2017 / Categories: Job Search /

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