Looking for a new position can be a daunting (but exciting!) process. You want something that inspires you, that moves you forward and will see you ringing in the next new year in a much better position than you are in currently.
Exactly what ‘better’ looks like will vary from person to person. It may be a higher salary, a shift to a different area or focus, moving to a different geographic location, a greater sense of job satisfaction and fulfilment, or finally finding a company culture you truly ‘fit’ with.
It could be a combination of all of these things.
Whatever has prompted you to make a change, here are twelve simple but highly effective tips to help you find your ideal role…
Before you begin your job search it’s important to have a clear vision of the destination you have in mind, and the direction you want your career to take. Steve Covey lists this as one of the seven habits of highly effective people, in his book by the same name.
When you’re looking for your next move it’s important to correlate your end goal – the career of your dreams – with the search for your ideal job for 2020. Take some time to consider where you’re trying to take your professional journey.
What role do you see yourself in at the pinnacle of your career?
Once you’ve identified the destination, hone in the on the skills, experiences, and challenges you will need to attain in order to reach that point. Keep that list in mind as you start looking at roles and opportunities that come your way in 2020. Be discerning. Don’t simply look at landing any new role, think about how every opportunity has the potential to provide you with the areas you need to improve and progress your career forward towards your end goal.
One of the most important aspects of an effective job hunt is understanding your own strengths and, more importantly, knowing how to flaunt them. Over the years you’ve likely built up an impressive amount of skills. It’s time to cherry pick the golden bits and really show them off.
Think again about what you want to achieve from your next role. Now take a look at your CV and see which aspects of it are most relevant to your end goal. Knowing which trends to highlight will help you along every step of the recruitment process.
The key here is to not only know what your strengths are, but know how to effectively talk about them, whether you’re working with a recruitment company, or dealing with people directly. When you’ve finished discussing them, the person you’re talking to should be as confident in your strengths as you are.
If you’re unsure what your strengths are, do a recap on your career so far. Have a think about the things you’ve achieved in your previous roles, which attributes helped you achieve them – did you increase your company revenue, or save your business money?
If you can show the tangible benefits you’ve achieved, and provide evidence of these achievements, it will go a long way towards demonstrating your strengths. Ultimately, knowing your strengths and having the ability to effectively tout them is going to set you apart from everyone else.
The flipside of your strengths are your weaknesses, and we all have them (though we don’t all like to admit that!). Weaknesses are always difficult for people to consider because they think businesses want perfection. However, people are not perfect, and attempting to present yourself in that light will always backfire. Your prospective employees won’t believe you’re utterly infallible, and you run the risk of coming across as oblivious or ingenuine if you attempt to dodge this question.
The ability to effectively discuss your weaknesses is actually very attractive to companies. This may seem counter-intuitive but weaknesses are actually areas of growth.
Weaknesses offer us the chance for development and ensuring longevity in our next role. Rather than trying to hide them or skirt around them, embrace them. Work out your weakness, really dig deep and figure out what they are by asking friends and colleagues. Once you’ve identified them look for opportunities in the market and mentors who can help you address them.
If your next role or the person you work for isn’t going to help you, don’t take the role. Improving on your weaknesses allows for structured career growth.
Self-promotion is a fine art and involves making people aware that you’re looking for a new role, while effortlessly letting slip how great you are.
If you’re unsure how to go about promoting yourself you have two excellent tools at your disposal: your CV and your LinkedIn profile. When you’re putting both together think carefully about the content you’re using and make sure it’s achievement-focussed.
Frequently when your CV lands next to other people they will have relatively similar items listed. Creating a CV that focuses on your specific achievements, rather than the day-to-day tasks, is a great way to stand out. Not only that, if you do focus on the everyday, it can easily look like you’ve not achieved anything at all – which is not the case!
Don’t just write what you do, write how well you do it!
In addition to this, there are a few clever things you can do on LinkedIn. A lot of people are nervous of using LinkedIn as part of their job search, but don’t worry – nobody in your current organisation will be able to see you’re open to new opportunities, but prospects will be able to (Learn how to set your LinkedIn status to ‘Open to Opportunities’ here).
Go back to the strengths you identified and ensure they’re included on your profile. Once you’ve done this have a serious think about where you want to work (we’ll cover this in more detail in the next tip). Find the specific organisations you’re interested in working with on LinkedIn and start making yourself known to them. Engage with their content by liking and commenting on their posts and articles. Approach a hiring manager and tell them that you’re really interested in their company and want to work for them.
As you begin to actively search for a new job, think about the specific type of company you want to work for. Think about the industry you ideally want to work in, the size of company you’re looking for, and consider the risk profile they present. Smaller businesses generally offer wider roles, while larger businesses may have a narrower breadth. The latter can seem like a disadvantage, but if you’re very clear on your career path it’s a huge asset. You may also find larger companies offer a little more in the way of job security.
The most important element to consider is the kind of company culture you’re looking for. You spend a lot of time at work, and it’s essential that the business you choose is aligned with your values (both personal and professional) as well as your career goals.
When you’ve identified a prospective business, do a bit of low-grade stalking – check them out on Glassdoor, read their reviews on Google and Facebook, trawl through their social media platforms, and try to get under the skin of the business.
Think about the things you like about your current business, how they structure the appraisal system, the ways in which you work, and see if there are aspects of it that you enjoy. If there are, make sure these are replicated in your new job search. If they’re not, consider how you would like them to work and search for somewhere with a culture that offers you that.
This one might sound rather obvious, but don’t underestimate the importance of proper interview preparation. Researching the company you’re interviewing with is your number one priority. You won’t be expected to know the business inside out – in fact, it will work in your favour if you ask questions about the business – but having a good general knowledge of the business will show your commitment from the get-go.
Use their website, social channels, Glassdoor, and their financial report on companies house to find out as much as you can. Next, make sure you have the right address for them and plan your route to the interview (you wouldn’t believe how many candidates turn up at the wrong place!). If you happen to know people who work for the company already, take advantage of it.
Try to get as much information about the interview itself as you can. It’s okay to ask what to expect! Make sure you know what format the interview will be in – will you have anything to prepare in advance? Will there be a test?
The more you know the better.
Remember to prepare strong interview questions to ask at the end of your interview. After all, an interview is a two-way process. Asking questions will not only enable you to understand more about the business and whether the role and organisation are right for you, but it will also allow you to stand out from the competition and land the role.
By the time you actually get to your interview, you’ll have done a lot of preparation. The interview is your opportunity to really showcase your skills and show evidence of why you’re the best candidate for the role. It’s your chance to present factual information that demonstrates your skill sets match the role, and your personality matches the company culture. That might be showing how you’ve increased sales, boosted revenues, driven processes, saved time, increased efficiency, or saved the company money.
Clearly showing how you reached valuable achievements in a previous role not only proves your worth, it gives you a chance to demonstrate your passion and knowledge in the area you’d be working in.
For more help ensuring you deliver a killer interview, have a look at Tom Barker’s Interview Cheat Sheet.
There’s a lot of advice out there about landing an interview and getting through the interview itself, but there’s not a lot about how to get through that horrible limbo phase that follows. You’ve done all the hard work, you’ve given your best interview, where do you go from here?
It can feel difficult to take control during this period.
The best thing you can do is ask, at the end of your interview, how many other people they have left to see, when they’re going to be seeing them, and when they anticipate letting people know. This is an easy way of ensuring you’re not sat around thinking you haven’t got the role when in reality they’re just busy seeing people for the next two or three days.
Another thing a lot of people do after their interview is forget to contact their interviewer. Simply drop them an email to say you really enjoyed coming in, you’re very interested in the role, and thanking them for their time.
It’s surprising how far this can go in helping you secure your dream job.
If you are working with a recruiter, give them a call. Chances are they’ll probably have been in touch with the client already and have some feedback. Just give them a call to make sure they know you’re keen and want to find out what the next stage is as soon as possible.
Most importantly, if you’ve given your best interview there’s nothing more you can do.
You might as well just sit back and wait for the decision. At this point, you’re either going to get the job or not!
That might sound a bit basic, but once you’re at this stage there’s nothing more you can do to change the outcome, so why worry?
The first factor to consider are the finances. This can be a big or small issue depending on your priorities and situation. But when it comes to the financial aspects of an offer it’s important to evaluate everything, not just your salary but also your benefits, which might include your pension, flexible working, medical cover, private health care, life insurance, or even holidays.
If you’re only working so you can go on nice holidays, the number of days off you get a year might be the deal breaker for you.
You’ve got to look at your finances and compare what you’re being offered from one position to the next. A high salary may be the benefit you’re looking for, but you might also place more value on flexitime and the ability to spend more time with your friends and family. You really need to evaluate all of these things – write them all down on paper, everything you get currently, and everything you will get in the future.
You’ve got ambitions.
There are the things you want personally, the things you want out of your career, and the practical needs that you and your family have. Understanding your ambitions allows you to search for a company that has a role and culture in alignment with your needs and desires.
If you’re evaluating multiple offers your ambitions can act as a roadmap, helping you narrow down your choice to the perfect role. Match the progression and growth rate of the business that you’re looking at working for with your own career goals.
Consider the company culture, how you see yourself as a person, what you value from an employer, and whether the environment you’ll be working in matches your personality. It can be simple things that help you decide this, like flexible working hours, or it can be little things like natural light in the workplace, good people to work with, and not having to dread going to work every day.
Finally, it comes down to a question of the dedication of each of your prospects. What are they going to give you to help you in your progression? How dedicated will your manager be to you, and do they inspire you? Are they someone you feel you can learn from? If a business is dedicated to your progression and has someone you genuinely want to work for and are inspired by, it’s likely a good shout.
If all of this sounds like a lot to consider, just think FACED: Finances, Ambitions, Culture, Environment & Dedication.
So, you’ve accepted your offer and you’re taking the next step in your career – happy days!
Managing your departure from your current position is something that needs to be done with a little bit of thought. The main aspect of this is protecting the network that you’ve created with your present employer. You want to be a good leaver and ensure people have positive thoughts about you. When you hand in your notice, work out exactly what you need to do, along with a realistic timetable for your departure.
Once you have left, work out what personal time you need. That may include time to do bits of personal admin, going to the bank, arranging insurances, and all the other stuff you’ve put off previously because you were too busy with work.
You might also want to take some personal time as a holiday. You need a rest, it’s been a hectic leaving schedule, you’re about to start a new role, and you want to make a good impression. Take some holiday time for you and your family. Remember, when you start the new role you’re looking at six months of getting your head down and impressing the individuals that have just hired you.
The hard work is over, and it’s all paid off. You’ve smashed the interview and you’ve got yourself the job you deserve – huzzah!
Now it’s time to make that big impression.
Get yourself on LinkedIn and take advantage of the profile you built during the job search. Find your new team members, send out some connections, and find some common ground. Do some research on how you’re going to get to work: travel times, rush hour, and if you’re using public transport the bus or train times.
You will also want to speak to your hiring manager about dress code; the last thing you want to do is turn up in a suit if it’s a dress down policy or vice versa.
Finally, make sure you enjoy yourself; you’ve earned a little fun!
If all of this is sounding like a daunting prospect and your mind is addled at the mere thought of it, our final tip is to enlist some expert help. A professional recruiter can guide you through every step of the process and do a lot of the leg work for you. We’re here to offer all the advice guidance you need to find the perfect role, get in touch today to see how we can help…