Clarify your job and career goals and write them down
You wouldn’t normally embark on a long journey without first deciding on your destination, how you’ll travel, or which route you are going to take. Your job search is no different. Before you even think about putting your CV out there, you need to decide things such as:
- The type of role you’d like to secure
- The environment in which you’d most like to work
- For which industries you’d be a good fit
- How much you need to earn
- Whether you are hoping to work in a large organisation known for its major contracts or employee perks, or would you feel more at home in a smaller company with a more collaborative working environment
- How willing you are to relocate or commute for the right job
All of your actions in the next phase of a successful job search will largely be driven by these decisions. Evaluate your qualifications, work history, the type of work you enjoy doing and your ideal location.
You are 10x more likely to accomplish your goals when you write them down, so grab a blank sheet of paper and start writing. The more targeted your goals, the easier it will be to plan.
Plan your job-search schedule and stick to it!
Searching for your next job and getting all of your professional branding ducks lined up, such as a strong CV, Cover Letter, or LinkedIn profile, takes more time than you may imagine. Don’t leave it to the last minute or until a vacancy crops up for which you want to apply. Avoid the stress and get started early! Block time in your calendar every day and dedicate it to a job-search activity.
For example, you may decide to use Saturday to go through job listings online and select those you could apply for; on Sunday you could customise your CV to target those roles, and on Monday morning between 0600 and 1000 hrs, you could submit your online applications. Studies have shown that catching this early morning slot increases your chances of securing an interview 5 times! Tuesdays could be used to follow up applications from the previous week, and Wednesdays/Thursdays could be reserved for networking events – either online or in person.
Ask for help
You’re not alone so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re feeling stuck or have some burning questions. There are plenty of resources out there. Forces CV Services have a variety of free resources including our free CV critique service and free job search planner.
Get noticed with an impactful CV
I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said they’ve sent out hundreds of CVs and never had a callback.
So here’s the thing; employers and recruiters only really want to know if you meet their requirements, whereas people often feel compelled to put down every last detail of their career down on their CV, relevant or not. I see them every day; CVs with great detail about each job in the last 25 years, qualifications which aren’t relevant to the vacancy; deep focus on military careers, even though they have worked in Civvy Street for years. So write for your audience and tell them what they want to know. Fail to make an immediate impact and there’s only one place your CV is likely to end up – the shredder!
- Are you applying for the right jobs and do you have the skills and qualifications they need?
- Expand your job search. Could your transferable skills lend themselves to new fields?
- Even if you are applying for the right jobs, is your CV optimised to beat the bots and get past the ATS hurdle?
Like it or not, you are a product. You need to persuade the employer to buy what you have to offer. Just as when you are buying a new car or gadget, employers will consider if you tick their boxes when they read your CV.
If you’d like to see how your CV stacks up, go to www.forces-cvs.co.uk to request your free CV health-check.
Sian Richardson, CV & Job Search Expert at Forces CV Services