Summer is notoriously long and slow for job hunters with many candidates accepting that in August they might as well put their feet up and take a break. But with the month end in sight and summer holidays coming to a close, now is a great time to get job ready and find a perfect match. Here’s some tips on how to be ready for the Autumn recruitment frenzy.
- Update your CV: Your CV is your first introduction to a prospective, new employer and for this reason it needs to sell you and all your credentials with a message, “You need me.” Present it in a chronological order, detailing your most recent job first – don’t be bashful either – if you oversaw a million-pound project then tell them about it. Ensure you have the dates of qualifications as well as school and University correct and, ensure your spelling doesn’t trip you up or your contact details.
- Focus on the jobs you want: Job searching takes a long time so it is pointless not looking in the right areas or wasting your precious time looking at jobs that are either below your ability levels or way above them. Be realistic, yet ambitious. If you are focused on a sector then most industries will have a bespoke jobs board listing current vacancies in those areas. Familiarise yourself with what’s on offer and the salaries that can typically be achieved. You will then also be able to spot who is hiring and who is not.
- Prepare your digital trail: Most employers will want to look you up on social media so you must ensure your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts as well as others are match fit for purpose. If there are some embarrassing photos or comments you’d rather your new employer didn’t see, then you may want to think about deleting them.
- Update your current affairs and industry knowledge: You should prepare for questions on current affairs and the changing world around you. If you’re not an avid news watcher then now is the time to start becoming one. Focus on the news issues that may impact the industry you hope to work in. You should also start reading your industries key literature so you can talk widely about the challenges and opportunities that are being faced.
- Boost your confidence: If you have been out of the jobs market for a while then you may need a boost in your confidence. If an employer needs to pick between yourself and another candidate with equally matched skills, experience and salary expectations it can often come down to whoever is the most confident. Volunteering for anything that may give you a position of responsibility is a good idea such as a coach for your son or daughter’s sports club, helping a local charity or taking on local trustee work. This can all help prepare you and add to your skills base.
- Manage your diary: If you are preparing to hit the autumn jobs market then make sure you empty your diary for September and October. You need to be ready to accept an interview invitation at short notice as well as start a job, so hold off on booking a holiday for a while.
- Dress to impress: If you haven’t got anything suitable to wear to a professional jobs interview, now is the time to go shopping. You may be called quickly after applying so you should be ready with smart shoes, an appropriate outfit and a tidy haircut.
- Prepare references: Most employers will require at least two references so line up your referees. Pre-warn them that you are job hunting and have listed them as a reference so it is not unexpected should they be phoned or sent a reference checking form. This is not only good manners but a good way of sending out the word in your industry that you are looking for a new role.
- Use your contacts: Jobs boards are not the only way to find a new position. Use your network to tap into new opportunities and start attending networking events and conferences. You may find out about a job before the market does and you may also meet the hiring manager. It demonstrates great commitment if you are seen to be attending industry focused events.
- Adopt a positive mind frame: If your CV is up to date and you have the required experience and skills then the only thing that stands between you and your new job is your state of mind. If you struggle with positivity then start focusing on ways to boost your self-esteem and outlook, sport and connecting with friends that support and help you is a great way to do this.
Author: Annie Hayes