I am frequently asked for advice on finding a job, so I thought it would be useful for job seekers to set down some tips.
The way that jobs are filled is a complex story, and depends on a number of variables.
Here is an outline of the job landscape and tips as to how you, as a job seeker, can make the most of it.
Word of mouth
A large number of jobs are filled by word of mouth. You may think this is surprising in an increasingly technology orientated world: but employers like trust, and if someone internally can recommend a colleague that they have worked with before - or a friend - that gives a level of trust that an unknown candidate cannot bring.
Also, it is cheaper and easier to hire someone that is already known to a member of staff, so it is a “path of least resistance” to many employers.
This internal referral method is actively used by many employers: some on a more active and organised basis; others on a more informal basis.
I have, on a number of occasions, been very surprised when an employer talks to me about their plans to hire for a role, and has given me precise detail about the type of person they want to hire.
They are seemingly uncompromising on the criteria of the candidate they seek (the skills, the background if the person, the type of companies they have worked for in the past etc).
Then shortly after, they tell me that things have changed: they have filled the role with someone that was recommended to them directly.
Lo and behold: the person they have hired does not fit the criteria they have set!
When I ask them why, the answer is invariably the same: “well this person was recommended by someone we know, their skills don’t quite fit but the candidate seems like a good person so we thought we’d give it a go.”
The real answer is that it was: easy to do – no long interview process to go through; cheap – no adverts or recruitment fees; a “bird in the hand” – solves a problem quickly even though the person hired may not be the right fit.
The latter often brings problems further down the line, but that’s a discussion for another time.
So, my message to job seekers is: make the most of your network. Make sure your contacts know that you are on the job market so they will think of you if a role comes up.
If you are well connected on LinkedIn - make the most of these contacts. There is no harm in messaging your contacts to ask if there are any opportunities going in their current employer.
There may be people you have worked with before, but have not been in contact for some time. Don’t hold back in getting in contact – ping them a message on LinkedIn and let them know you are available.
Some job seekers say to me that they are uncomfortable doing this because they feel it may be intrusive. Well, consider what I said above: lots of companies will welcome you getting in touch; it may be saving them a lot of time effort and money if you are the right person for a vacant job.
Internal recruitment teams
In the last few years, there has been a steady increase in the number of companies who have built their own internal recruitment teams.
The advent of LinkedIn and a myriad of job boards means that companies can hire a team of internal recruiters and do most of their recruitment within the business (the objective is to cut hiring costs and increase efficiency).
Not all businesses have gone down this route, and generally it works for larger companies with a significant recruitment need; smaller companies generally will not find it cost effective, and will use more traditional methods such as internal referral, adverts and recruitment companies.
If you have an interest in a particular company; or a number of companies in a particular sector or area of business, it is a good idea to get in touch with them directly.
You can do this on Linkedin or on the company’s website. On LinkedIn, search out job titles such as Talent Acquisition Manager, or Resourcing Manager, and message them direct.
It is their job to gain as much market intelligence about potential candidates who might be available to work with their company, so they will be open to you getting in contact.
Recruitment companies/ head hunters
Contact as many recruitment companies/ head hunters as you can - ideally ones that focus on the type of role that would be appropriate for you.
I realise that a lot of people find this an unsatisfactory experience: many people tell me they are dismayed that there is little interest or never receive a response to their email and CV.
However, I would say it is always a good idea to spread the net as wide as you can, and if your CV fits a role that is being hired, you will get a call.
Make the most of job boards
There are many jobboards on the market: such as Executive Appointments, Jobsite, Totaljobs, Monster, Indeed LinkedIn jobs etc)
Make sure you upload your CV to as many of these as you can. It doesn’t take long to set up an account and upload your CV.
Be aware: many recruiters, whether internal recruiters, or recruiters in recruitment companies, will scour the databases of the job boards to find suitable candidates for jobs they are handling. If your CV is not there, they will not find you!
Some people have said to me that LinkedIn has monopolised the market and that job boards are on the way out. Not so! Look at the number of jobs advertised on these sites and that argument is soon dispelled.
Having a good LinkedIn profile is important in your job search.
The Linkedin site provides quite a lot of tips and useful information on how to maximise your profile, so make the most of these ideas.
Most people are happy to this themselves. However, some people find it useful to get some external help, in which case I am happy to recommend Tony Silver, who helps people to maximise their LinkedIn profile – see https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonyksilver/
Tony charges a relatively modest fee but it can make all the difference in you being found by a potential employer.
There are many opinions about what constitutes a good CV. Ask 100 people and you will probably get 100 different answers.
My own view is that the reader of the CV must be able to understand what you are all about in a few seconds.
Think about: what do you do, who have you done it with, and what are your achievements.
Make sure the headlines of what you are all about are very easy to find (ideally a quick glance of the eye), and have additional detail if the reader wants to read more.
There are any number of points that can be discussed on how to optimise a CV, but I don’t propose to go into here.
I have a high regard for a career coach called Adrian Evans, based in Bucks.
Adrian runs a business called Accelerated Career Results, an executive mentoring and career development company committed to transforming professionals’ confidence, income and results.
In other words: he guides successful professionals to maximise their career potential.
See Adrian on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/adrianevans/
Adrian also runs a business called the ‘Enterprise Sales Club’. The title is such because most of Adrian’s clients are Enterprise Sales executives. However, virtually all of the tips on his podcasts apply equally to non sales executives, such as how to negotiate a better salary and how to get a better job. See ITunes Enterprise Sales Show
Adrian is happy to have an informal, no obligation introductory chat if you would like to find out more about what he can do for you.
(I have no financial involvement in this recommendation! ...I simply respect Adrian)