Losing your job or graduating into the big wide world with few career prospects can be daunting. So jobseekers would be forgiven for not taking to the job application process like a duck to water, especially if you’ve been out of the job game for a while.
But rather than plunging in blindly and accumulating a mass of rejection letters, here is what to do before applying for a job.
Before applying for a job, you need to have in mind the career you really want. Picture it, research it and start imagining yourself doing your dream job, because creative visualisation is one of the most important steps in realising any goal. If you’re not sure what career would suit you then do some online personality tests to give you some idea of the kinds of work your character would be suited to.
If you feel like you’re already on the ladder towards your dream job, take some time to re-assess your strengths, weaknesses and career desires. Is your dream position still all it’s cracked up to be or have your experiences changed your outlook? Could it be time for a radical sabbatical– where you take a time out from your ordinary career trajectory and try something completely different? You never know, that teaching job in China that you’ve always been tempted by could turn out to be one of the most valuable learning experiences of your career.
2) Update Your CV
Now you have in mind the kind of person you are and the kind of job you want, it’s time to start
crafting your CV to fit that image. There are numerous articles online to help this process but there are three important things to remember. Firstly, make sure that you’re including all of your transferable skills on the document – many people forget that aspects of a retailer’s job, for example, have skills that would be applicable to an office environment. So don’t think that your part-time job from university isn’t worth mentioning, it could be the experience that lands you your dream job.
Secondly, make sure that your CV stands out. Try and keep it to one side of A4 and make sure that your writing is brief and to the point. Lay it out in a simple and clear format and thirdly, make sure that everything is spelled correctly. Give it to a friend to check over before you send it anywhere and get them to be honest with you about how your CV comes across.
3) Find Useful Experience
It could be that you have researched your chosen industry and have found that your current qualifications and level of experience doesn’t quite match up to the requirements for an entry level position. But don’t worry; this issue can be remedied by gaining some useful industry experience, maybe in the form of an internship or a voluntary position. There are many websites dedicated to finding internship placements and volunteering opportunities. And yes, although in some instances you won’t be paid, the skills learned from schemes like the GKBC Writer's Academy, for example, could make your CV stand out over a graduate applicant with no experience. It demonstrates to employers that you have aspirations and you’re willing to work hard to succeed.
Internships typically last a few months, but if you’re still not sure if your desired career is the right one for you, it may be wise to see if you can get a shorter work experience placement to see how you’re suited. Sending out speculative CVs to prospective companies also shows that you are a proactive person who has something to offer and you never know, the recruiters might remember your name the next time a vacancy becomes available!
What other things should people do before applying for a job? Share in the comments below.