How do you approach job-hunting?

Elvis Elvis

There are generally two types of job-hunter:

The one who just dives in, sending off a CV for anything that looks vaguely suitable and then wondering why they didn’t get the job.

Those who are prepared to take a step back and think about what they’re really looking. You could use the opportunity of changing jobs to increase your salary, have more of a challenge and find a job that meets your needs and aspirations better than your current role.

The question that very few candidates ask themselves in the excitement and pressure of job-hunting is:

Why do I want to move?

Is it an increase in salary? Is it a fresh start? A new company, new colleagues? Is it new opportunities? A change in career direction? Or getting away from a job that you’re simply not enjoying any more?

But before you start job-hunting, it’s worth thinking about whether there’s anything you could change about your current job that would make you want to stay.

Most bosses will do whatever they can to keep a good employee, so it’s worth asking. If you find you could improve your current role, you might be able to save yourself the hassle of job-hunting altogether.

How do you approach job hunting?

What Do You Want To Do?

Once you’ve decided you do want to move, the next stage is to think as objectively as possible about what you want.

What motivates you? What would a job have to offer you to make you want to jump out of bed in the morning to do it? Or, if that seems unrealistic to you, what would make you at least look forward to going to work?

Start making a really detailed list about what inspires you about your work (if anything!) and what’s important to you about your career. Try to prioritise the list. Is there anything that’s non-negotiable? Don’t apply for any job that doesn’t meet your essential criteria, or it’s unlikely you’ll be happy doing it.

Watch Out For The Job Advert

The biggest risk in job-hunting is being fooled by an attractive job advert.

Job-hunting can be an emotional roller-coaster and recruiters are marketing professionals, who can make even the dullest job appear exciting in the advert. Their aim is to make the job seem appealing, to attract good applicants. So unless you’ve thought about how to spot the job you want, there’s a chance you could end up applying for one that’s unsuitable for you.

There’s also a chance you could end up applying for every job that’s vaguely suitable. This dramatically decreases your chances of success, because you’ll be applying for many more jobs than you need to; diluting your efforts.

So how do you decide whether to apply?

Before you start tailoring your CV, it’s worth checking out some of the basics about the job.

For example, it’s becoming increasingly common for salary to be missing from a job advert and location is often vague, as are the details of the actual role. The recruiter’s idea of “competitive salary” or “Northeast location” may be very different from yours. Their intention is to attract as many potentially suitable applicants as possible, to maximise the chances of finding a good candidate.

Even applying and getting to an interview takes a lot of your time, effort and emotional commitment. So if you read an advert that interests you, it’s critical that you find out more before you apply. It’s really embarrassing to get a job offer and then find out the salary’s way lower than you’d be prepared to accept – a complete waste of everyone’s time.

You’ve decided to apply.

There’s one more thing you can do before you write your CV.

Think about your potential concerns. How confident are you that you can actually do this job? Is there anything you’re worried about? Any doubts? Make a list of these and then come up with counter-arguments. Make sure you find evidence of why your doubts aren’t relevant and why you can overcome them.

This positive outlook will put you in an optimistic frame of mind before writing your CV. This will really shine through in your CV and dramatically increase your chances of getting an interview.