Your Job Search Quest

Getting Into Action With Your
Career Change

Checklist

When you have decided on your new career idea, you will be keen to get started on your job search quest.

But before you reach for the nearest paper or type 'job vacancies' into Google, stop for a moment to think about what the best job search tactics will be for you.

You have just spent a lot of time and effort working out what will be the right career for you, so don't throw all that effort away by making the usual job search mistakes.



Where to start?




Let’s start with the obvious. Most people think of looking in the press and on the internet and there is nothing wrong with that – as a starting point. On this page you will find some tips about how to use the traditional tactics in your job search quest.

But the real secret is to spread the net a lot more widely than this, so carry on reading for some more creative approaches to job search.

Some of these ideas will feel more natural to you than others. Our personal preferences will always shape which approaches we try first. If you have done the simple personality test on this site you will know what your preferred style is and you might like to explore how this can influence your job search quest.



The Internet


Job search on the Internet

The trouble with the internet is that there is just too much information and it is often a challenge to know where to start. There a many different sites that can help you with your job search quest.

Online job search sites such as jobcentral.com are a good place to start whatever type of role you're searching for. But there are a number of options for you to consider such as...

  • Big, generalist job vacancy lists with a range of searchable subsections such as occupation, industry, location etc.
  • Occupation specific lists which focus on jobs in a particular sector.
  • Many professional bodies have job lists, though you may have to become a member to access them. 
  • Geographically specific lists where jobs in a local area are advertised. 
  • Company specific lists. If you know who you would like to work for, then head straight for the company website to find out if they are recruiting.

Many job boards, such as totaljobs.com will allow you to post your own cv as well as search job vacancies.

You may be wondering which are the best ones to choose.  Not a straightforward question to answer so take a look at this information on choosing the top job search websites.


Create your own online presence

And don’t forget that you can promote yourself directly by building your own website. This can be a great way of presenting more information about yourself than you can ever cram onto a cv. And it demonstrates your IT skills too.

Think carefully about the design and content of the site – it has to be carefully crafted to create the right impression, but done with care, it can be a great addition to your job search quest. Make sure you mention your website on your business card and on your cv.



Recruitment Agencies




You may decide to use a recruitment agency to do some of the work for you.

You may have started by finding them online.  It is worth looking out for agencies that specialise in the area you are considering. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation have a Find a Consultancy page which helps you identify agencies by location and business sector. However, I suggest you use agencies carefully.

They are another useful tool in your job search, but don’t depend solely on them. Too often I have seen clients who sign up with a couple of agencies and then sit back and wait for them to do all the work.

This is a big mistake.

Agencies will have hundreds of people on their books and it is only too easy for you to be nothing much more than a number to them.

What you need to do is to be selective in who you register with and then work on building up a relationship with them.

The better they know you, the more likely they are to think of you when a vacancy comes in and the easier it will be for them to match you to the right job. So make friends with your agency – it will help them to help you with your job search quest.



Newspapers and professional journals



By all means regularly scan the Situations Vacant columns, but think carefully about which newspapers you look in.

Girl reading newspaper


Many people just go for the obvious – usually the big national daily papers. But don’t forget to look at...

  • Local papers – especially if you want to work nearer home
  • Specialist journals for particular sectors
  • Journals from relevant professional bodies
  • Specialist vacancy publications

And it is important to scan regularly. This will mean you are less likely to miss things and will also give you a sense of what the job market is like generally.

Of course, you do not have to buy all these papers and journals. Many can be found at local libraries and the majority can now be accessed online. The internet gives you the added advantage of being able to search by keywords relevant to your career change plan.



Creative Job Search




But if you want to be really successful in your job search, you need to be creative in how you approach it. This is particularly important if you are changing careers as you may be selling a set of transferable skills with no immediately obvious relevant experience.

Here are a few ideas about how you can make your job search quest more creative.

Using newspapers creatively

When you are scanning the job ads, look at the companies who are recruiting. There may be a job advertised which is out of your league, but it suggests that there is movement within the company. Why not contact them and ask if this vacancy means there are changes elsewhere in the staff structure? This could lead to a possible opening for you.

Don't just look at the job ads, read the editorial, especially in the professional journals. You may spot something interesting about developments in a local company and that gives you a reason to write and introduce yourself. Your interest in what is going on could lead you into a conversation about the impact on staffing levels that might arise from these changes. And there is your possible opening…

Hidden job market

You may have heard of the hidden job market. The fact is that many jobs are never advertised. This is why using a direct approach in your job search quest is often more fruitful than looking for vacancies.

So how do you get to hear about these hidden vacancies? This is where you need to return to the networking skills you will probably have used as you were researching making a career change. The more people you talk to, the more likely you are to come across someone who might have some information, a useful lead, or even just the job you are looking for.

So make sure you keep eyes and ears open all the time. This means being alert to opportunities you come across by chance, but also taking a proactive approach by setting up informational interviews with people who could help you.

Create your own job

This does not just refer to becoming self employed – though that, of course, is an option you may be considering.

It is not completely unheard of that you can create a job for yourself if you do the right ground work. A really creative job search quest will always allow for this possibility.

So what do you need to do…?

Firstly...

You need to be very clear about what you have to offer. Refer back to the exercises on the Who Am I? pages. Make sure you are able to promote what you have to offer clearly and positively.

Secondly...

You need to have done your homework on a company and organisation and have followed this up with an informational interview so that you get some real grass roots ideas about what are the current challenges, projects, skills shortfalls for this company.

Thirdly...

Having made a contact and built a positive relationship with your key contact, there is no reason why you should not propose a solution to a problem they are facing by suggesting that you could work on it on a project basis.

You will probably suggest it as a short term contract in the first instance, but once you are on the inside, you are in a great position to show what you can do and to look out for options for longer term employment. Even if it only works out as a 3 month project, it will give you some very relevant experience to add to your cv.

So go on. Be bold. Why not give it a try?




So to make a success of your job search quest, it is essential that you do more than the obvious. The more different approaches you use, the better.

Most people don’t go beyond the traditional methods. If you want to be ahead of the game you must be prepared to think outside the box and make your job search quest varied and creative so that you turn your career change plans into reality.


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