Let's try and help make seeking employment a bit less soul-destroying.
When you’re applying for jobs because you really need a new one – whether you’re in a state of joblessness or job-loathing-ness – it can be absobloodylutely soul-destroying. But what can you do other than hurl your CV at as many LinkedIn ads as possible? We pulled together a few tips from our own experiences… and we promise none of them are “everything happens for a reason!”.
Take a breath and be strategic
When you need a new job, chances are you’re not feeling like Your Very Best Self. In fact, you might feel like Your Very Best Self has been chewed up by a temperamental office printer and is now lingering in the recycling bin underneath Martin From IT’s discarded Pret wrapper. This means you might well hurl your CV around in a decidedly scattergun fashion at jobs you don’t actually want because quite frankly you’re TOO GOOD for them. Stop! Devote some energy to your strategy before executing it. Get trusted friends to look over your CV, tart up your online presence, research companies who might be hiring, and get your hair/nails/tarot cards done… whatever it takes to feel like your most spectacular, confident and employable self. You could even take a look at some of the courses in our Work It section for inspo.
Don’t use technology just for the sake of it
Sure, you’ve got a Canva account and you’re not afraid to use it. But this doesn’t mean you should get carried away and create a purple and turquoise mosaic-style CV with a “fun but professional” headshot plastered at the top. We’ve learned from bitter experience (only getting interviews for jobs we were overqualified for to the tune of 20K, because the recruiter assumed from our CV that we were 24 instead of 38). Goodbye “graphic design for dummies”, hello boring black and white two-pager with actual detail rather than two inches of forehead and a not-so-winning smile. Besides, some companies massively frown upon photo CVs and will reject them at first glance due to potential discrimination issues. We’re not saying you need to be boring, but use words, rather than snazzy fonts and graphics, to get your personality and experience across.
Being pushy pays off
It might be hard to actually get a job, but it’s easier than ever to apply for them, thanks to LinkedIn and other popular job sites offering one-click application options. Unfortunately, this means it’s also easier than ever for applications to get buried.
If you’ve got a way with words and you’re annoyed there’s no cover letter field for the job you want, channel your inner detective to track down the person in charge. We don’t mean an HR person, but the person who’d actually be your boss if you were to land it. Send them a personal note on LinkedIn explaining why you’re so brilliant for them, and they may well give HR a nudge and fast-track you for interview. We tried this a couple of years ago and had a 100% positive response rate. Obnoxious and pushy? Perhaps, but sometimes it’s the only way to stand out from the slush pile.
Good recruiters are worth their weight
Recruiters get a bad rap, but depending on your industry, they could be crucial for your job-hunt. You might feel like some of them are just ticking boxes if they deign to give you a call when you send them your details, but the good ones will pretend to find you genuinely fascinating, and this can give you a really good boost, if not an actual job.
Research the leading agencies in your field and look for the consultants who engage a lot on LinkedIn, sharing articles and tips, as they’re likely to be the ones who are genuinely immersed in their professional niche and therefore better-placed to help you. And start engaging with their posts too, so you’re at the front of their mind when a suitable job comes their way. Remember too that good recruiters play the long game: if you end up getting a job via another route, they might not have got any commission out of you this time but they’ll know you could soon be the one doing the hiring, so it’s worth them treating you like an actual human.
The right job for you might not exist… yet
Know what company you’d love to work for but can’t see anything suitable right now? Or they have a job going but it’s too junior/too senior? Get in touch anyway, there may be more flexibility than you think. And if you have any kind of “in” with your dream gig make the most of it – a recommendation from a well-respected mate or former colleague could mean there’s a chance they could tweak the job title or salary for the right person (YOU!). In the current climate, a lot of people are being way more helpful and accommodating than usual when it comes to pointing you in the right direction, so make the most of all those posts on LinkedIn offering up help and advice, and then get them to endorse the hell out of you.
Good luck! And remember, everything happens for a- CUT!