Job Hunting Basics: My Top Tips

Welcome back to my post series on planning and organising your latest job search! For this final post, I’m going to provide a summary of all the best job hunting tips that I’ve found most helpful when searching for a new job. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Job Hunting TIps

In this Post Series:

Top Job Hunting Tips: Basics

Whether you’re searching for your first job, a career move or end up redundant and having to look in the middle of a jobs crisis (like now!) these tips have you covered. After all, like anything else that’s meaningful, searching for a job that will meet your needs is a challenge!

  • Have an organised approach. As I spoke about in the first post of this series, figuring out what jobs you’re searching for is hugely important. This makes sure you don’t waste precious time when searching!
  • Be realistic in your aims. This is a tricky one to balance, but what I mean here is don’t apply for roles that you’re never going to get. Similarly, if you’re changing industries, don’t expect to always enter at the same level as you used to be.
  • Know your value. This balances with the above, don’t ignore roles that you like just because you don’t tick every box. This applies to women in particular, who are far less likely to apply for something if they only tick four of five categories. Get out there ladies, our competition is much more self-confident!
  • Persistence is key. If you’re new to the jobs market or are searching at a difficult time this particularly applies. You will send out dozens of applications and get nowhere. It sucks, but it’s true. Don’t go into a job search expecting the perfect job will fall into your lap!
  • Patience is also important. This is is particularly true in a world where you don’t hear back- ever- on the majority of applications. For the ones you do, it’s often weeks down the line when you’ve forgotten all about it.

Job hunting is not fun. Filling in fiddly applications and rewording your responses to standard questions is tedious. Never hearing back on an application you spent an hour on is just plain irritating. All you can do is persevere and be patient!

Top Job Hunting Tips: CV

I know I wrote an entire post about your CV, but I just wanted to highlight a few of my top tips here. Check out the full post on more about CV’s!

  • You don’t need to rewrite your CV for every role you apply for. Similar roles have similar criteria, so as long as you have good coverage of those essential criteria you don’t need to alter your CV. The exceptions here would be different skill requirements, high-level positions or a role that you’d just absolutely love to have. Put in the effort where it counts most.
  • If your CV is getting absolutely no interest, change it. There’s no point sticking with something that doesn’t work. Get someone you trust to have a look and offer suggestions. Maybe check out some online examples or run it through a valuer like that at Adzuna. These tools aren’t perfect but a good place to try different ideas.
  • Keep it clean. It’s pretty obvious not to have cursing in your CV (isn’t it?), so I mean visually. Make each section well-defined and keep spacing in where you can.
  • Always have a copy with you. This is for those looking for front of house retail or hospitality roles. You never know when you’ll see a help wanted sign. Get ahead of the game and have a spare CV with you to hand in immediately.
  • Keep a master document of all your previous roles, their dates and your best position descriptions somewhere separate. This is very helpful when you have to pull out specific dates or skills from an old role that you didn’t think would be relevant to your current search. It’s also great for any future hunts that may be for a different industry!

As I talked about in my full post on the subject, CV’s don’t have to be complicated. They’re meant to catch a recruiter’s eye and show what you can do, and inspire them to let you tell them what you can do in an interview.

Top Job Hunting Tips: The Interview

Again, this is something I’ve covered in detail here, but I thought I’d repeat some of my favourite tips.

  • Think positive! Don’t go into an interview wondering how on earth you got it and wishing you were elsewhere! All you can do is your best. There’s no way of knowing who you’re up against- unless it’s a group interview- and even then all you have control of is what you do and say.
  • Group interviews are horrible. You feel like you’re the odd one out and that if you get something wrong you’ll be humiliated. Think about the flip side of this. Everyone else is just as nervous as you are! On top of that, you get to see how the interviewers handle a group of people. If they’re managers you can get a great idea of company culture. Make a group interview about everyone else to negate the pressure on yourself!
  • Currently, virtual interviews are far more likely than group ones. These present their own problems, but 90% of these can be nullified by testing your systems beforehand and being patient. Everyone knows video chats are awkward and glitchy, that’s ok. What’s not ok is having a pin-up girl on the wall behind you. Tidy your room!
  • Be your (professional) self. If you’re having to fake a character in an interview imagine having to do that Monday to Friday, nine to five. If you can’t be accepted for who you are, it won’t be an enjoyable long-term workplace. Of course, remember this is your professional self. You’re still allowed to have a non-work personality who swears a lot, just shelve it for the interview!
  • Get there early. Again, this is in the hope we get back to face to face interviews! But make sure you plan your route and arrive early. You can always wait, you can’t redo running in five minutes late and out of breath.

Interviews are about human interaction. Interact well, and you’re in with a chance. Arrive late, avoid eye contact and give one-word answers; maybe not. Make it a conversation and you’ll find the whole experience far more rewarding, even if you get a no!

Top Job Hunting Tips: Offers & Options

A couple of years ago, I was in the hugely fortunate position of receiving several job offers in the same week. It can happen; sometimes jobs are like buses, none for weeks then they all appear at once! Here are a few of my tips for dealing with job offers.

  • If you get one offer but have a couple of other options imminent, make sure you know when the offered role needs a response. If you’re their top pick, they may even extend their deadline, otherwise you may have to decide to decline or accept quickly.
  • Comparison! By the time you’re getting offers, you should know salaries, locations, benefits, and have an idea of culture. Using this information, you can figure out what your preferences are. Job A is closer, but job B pays more and offers subsidised childcare. Measure up your priorities and choose accordingly!
  • If you’re not getting offers but are a close contender, it’s ok to ask interviewers what you could improve on. If it’s a company or industry you’d really love to work in, reiterate that you’ll keep your eyes open for future opportunities with them. This helps keeps your options open; and who knows, the number one pick may get an offer elsewhere or not do well. And then you’re back in the picture!

Final Thoughts for Job Hunting

As I’ve spoken about throughout this series, hunting for work is not easy. Particularly in the middle of an economic downturn! This is compounded by welfare systems that equate unemployment with failure.

I hope this guide helps you in some way to organise or hone your job searching skills! It’s a tough market though, and I wish you all the best! If you’re not sure how to get started or are looking for somewhere to track your applications, subscribe below to receive access to my Free Resource Library including my Job Hunting Planner and Tracker Worksheets.

That’s all from me though, but if you have any further questions please drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to help. Happy Hunting!

Job Hunting Tips Pin

4 thoughts on “Job Hunting Basics: My Top Tips”

  1. Wow so thorough! I’ll be job hunting again here soon. Never fun, definitely in a pandemic. And a group interview sounds awful I hope I never have to do that. Tha ks for the tips!

    1. I wish you luck with your search! And while it may not be fun, it can be rewarding- I’m starting my new job next week!!
      I’ve been lucky to only do one group interview. Making landmarks from marshmallows and spaghetti is not what it’s cracked up to be!

  2. S.S. Mitchell

    Excellent post! I love your points on persistence, patience and getting competitive even if you only tick three out of four boxes! It’s a really difficult time at the moment and I think your advice here is really detailed and invaluable.

    1. Thank you!! Mindset is such a big part of job hunting, especially in a difficult time. Stick to your targets, don’t be shy and persevere. Thanks for such a lovely comment ☺️

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