Job searching is tough. How can you make it all happen faster? What can you do to improve – to get more interviews and more job offers?
Here’s an article written by Impti du Toit for the Cape Argus after an interview with me.
What Makes a Good Job Hunt?
Job-hunting coach and CV writer Gerard le Roux, founder of the Job Search Clinic, says job-seekers have to be smart across all areas of the job searching “landscape” to get more job interviews and more job offers, enabling them to find a great position or career that really engages their strengths and perhaps even their passions.
Is There a Job Search ‘Quick Fix’?
Many job-hunters still hope for a “quick fix” job search solution, with agencies and employment websites often seen as an “easy” path to employment, allowing a candidate simply send their CV through, get a call, go for the interview and get the job.
“But the reality is different,” says Le Roux. “The job market is a strange place where even the best job applicant isn’t guaranteed instant success. And focusing your job search only on common job search channels, like agencies and employment websites, may yield disappointing results.”
Job Search Improvements
A job search isn’t just about skills, qualifications and experience, or even your CV and ability to interview well. “It has much more to do with the whole of you: your attitude, your focus, your mental attitude and how you approach the job search process,” he says.
“For example, your CV could be great, but if you have the attitude that the world owes you a favour, it’s likely to turn off a potential employer. Or you might have all the answers to tough interview questions, but if you crumble and fall apart after one rejection, you will lessen your chances of finding a job.”
He points out that even if you have great work experience, being out of shape, unhealthy and low on self-esteem can send the wrong message to a prospective employer, perhaps signalling that you are battling to hold your life together.
“So you’ve got to start with ‘you’. You’ve got to be strong, resilient and smart in your job search. You have to understand, for example, that finding a job is a business process. Employers aren’t in business for philanthropy: they hire people to get some benefit. In every element of your job search – including your CV, covering letter, the interview, and the follow up – you should look for ways to communicate how you can be of value, how you can make a difference, and how you can help their business.”
These are some of the foundation principles of an effective job hunt, and if you don’t start by applying them you won’t be as successful, he says.
His second piece of advice is that job-seekers should know what they really want. “Having a clear direction, a sense of purpose and a vision for ourselves, our lives, and our career has a powerful, effect on what we achieve in life,” he says.
“Along our course in life – most often very early on – we somehow lose our way. We may end up being herded into a career direction by default. So we end up making a living, but it’s a slog. We have a job, but it’s a job we have to endure. We’re happy to be employed, but our work doesn’t engage our real passions, interests and talents.”
The consequences of accepting this situation and not paying quality attention to our career direction are dire: stress, depression, desperation, poor work performance and burnout. Instead we need to find what job really excites us, and what industry or sector brings a sparkle to our eye.
“I’m not suggesting that you should just resign your job to go off and save the whales, for example, but at least be aware that it is possible to search for and find work that you can be more passionate about. Define what will make you happy and then work out a plan to get there. It may take some time, but it’s a worthwhile exercise.”
Your Job Search is a Sale
He also advocates that job seekers should determine what value they are offering to potential employers. “Your job search is really just the process of selling yourself,” he says. “You’re offering what you have in the way of skills, knowledge, expertise and qualifications to someone willing to pay for it. It’s a sale or trade.
You are saying, ‘I’ll give you my expertise and experience, and you give me this salary and benefits’.”
Le Roux says this concept seems to elude many job-hunters. “When I ask them what benefits they provide, they give answers such as: ‘I manage production’ or ‘I am the Financial Manager’. They focus on their job title, their duties and responsibilities. But this gives an employer no idea of their value to their business.”
If you are not telling an employer how your focus is to build efficiency, generate revenue, save money, give better service, create systems to ensure delivery of products, raise customer satisfaction levels or motivate people to new heights of productivity, or are not giving specific figures or examples to add credibility, then you are not coming across as strongly as you could, he says.
Job Hunting Methods – Some Work Better Than Others
Le Roux says you also need to identify what job-hunting methods will yield the best results for your efforts. “If you were looking for gold, you may want to first establish the kind of rock formations and geological strata that gold is likely to appear in. Looking on the beach may be a comfortable environment, but will it be productive? The job market is no different: you need to decide where you are going to spend most of your time and energy looking.”
While job advertisements, agencies and websites play a valuable role in the marketplace and should form part of a job search plan, job seekers should also use alternative methods to improve their chances of finding employment, he says.
For example, he suggested to someone who had been fruitlessly searching for a job for 10 months that she might start visiting every business in her area once a week; get to know the names of local business men and women, and meet them any way she could; and that she could offer to help them using her skills, or offer to work for a business part-time or casually.
He points out that every method will not work for every job-hunter, but by taking a more ‘guerrilla’ style approach you will be giving yourself a competitive edge. On his website, Le Roux provides many ideas on alternative job search measures, as well as support to assist in this respect.
His free guidance on running a successful job search campaign covers five other critical job hunting areas apart from the tips provided here, including your CV, covering letters, job interviews and remaining mentally strong during the process.
Other features of the site are a free job-hunting e-course sent via e-mail to subscribers, and the facility to ask a “Burning Question” relating to your personal job hunt, which Le Roux will answer on his blog, on which he shares his weekly insights into what works and what doesn’t in the real world of job hunting.
- Free Registration to Weekly Job Search Advice eColumn – send an e-mail to jobsearchclinic [at] getresponse.com
- Free Job Search eCourse – send an e-mail to 12jss [at] getresponse.com
- Info on how to write your CV – www.wowcv.net
- “Get a Job Fast” Programme – only available at www.careerandsuccess.info