Whether you’ve been thinking of a job move for a while but just not got your act together, or you’ve suddenly found yourself out of a job and needing to get sorted fast… here are our top tips to get you on track when starting out on that all-important job search.
1. CV CV CV
First and foremost, get your CV together. This can seem daunting – particularly if you have not done one for a while or have a long career history … it’s amazing how difficult it can be to remember all that you’ve done! The trick is to not worry too much initially about getting it too ‘perfect’ - a straight forward, clear, chronological run down of your work history is great! Many people refine their CV as they go along or have different versions. The important thing now is to get down on paper what is factually correct – so make sure you’ve got the basics in there … companies, dates, roles, key responsibilities. Add in your contact details and education – and done! You’re ready to go!
As well as being your essential ‘calling card’, getting your work history down on paper can be a brilliant motivational exercise too ... it’s easy to forget just how much you’ve achieved – so it’s a great opportunity to take a step back and take stock of how much experience you’ve got under your belt to offer a new employer.
You can refine your CV over time, so don’t let “I’ll wait ‘til I get my CV done” be the excuse that’s holding you back from getting your job search well and truly under way. Keep it simple, and get it done.
For more in-depth guidance on writing your CV see our blog - 'Writing your CV'.
2. BRAINSTORM YOUR GOALS
Have a ‘brainstorm session’ to clarify what it is you are looking for. If you’re not on a standard career path – and let’s face it in events is there such a thing? - then it can sometimes be tricky to know exactly what you are looking for. Best thing here is to do a bit of a brain dump – big piece of paper, loads of thoughts.
You may have a really clear idea of the sort of role you want, or you may be open to a number of different paths.
Don’t let it hold you back if you are not sure – you can follow up on a number of channels within your job search. Just get your thoughts down on paper, and then in order.
If you have a clear idea – great – but if you are not sure, just work out what the main ideas are so you can easily and clearly articulate these to others if you are asked … ‘what sort of role are you looking for?’, or ‘do you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for’.
A good ‘make it happen trick’ is to simply write down a whole lot of information about what you are best at – you may not know the title of the role you’re after or which organisation it is with, but at least you know you are looking for a role that features a lot of ‘what I’m best at’!
You should also give thought to what salary you are looking for. We’d recommend having a salary range in mind, rather than a figure. This allows you to respond flexibly and openly to opportunities, and not restrict yourself too much.
3. RESEARCH & SIGN UP
Research relevant job sites and recruitment consultancies – you’ll normally find there are some specialist websites and job boards which are focussed on your sector or specialism – these are often linked to the main publications within your sector, but also check out industry associations for where relevant roles are likely to be advertised.
Get to know who the main recruiters are in your sector. The ‘smart’ trick here, to save on scrolling through endless web pages of irrelevant roles, is to sign up for job alerts so you’re getting relevant jobs sent to you as soon as they come up.
Most publications, recruitment agencies and job boards do a daily or weekly update – so make sure the jobs come to you hot off the press.
4. BE READY TO ACT…
If you get a positive response to a job application that you’ve submitted, make sure you are in the right mind set to get on with things. It’s not uncommon for us to receive CVs in response to our adverts but be met with an eerie silence when we try and contact that candidate to find out more!
Opportunities can move fast – everyone’s busy out there, they’re not going to wait around for you … so, if you’re taking the time to apply for roles, make sure you’re ready to respond if you’re contacted!
If you are looking for a job, people will want to talk to you on the phone or face to face, so get into the mindset of being flexible. Perhaps make sure you have a time set aside morning, lunchtime and evening, just to check up on any job responses or are available for calls. Have an ‘interview outfit’ ready to go… swot up now on a few interview tips by reading our article - 'What Should I Wear to My Job Interview?'. In recruitment it is often the early bird that catches the worm – if you’re indulging in a bit of navel gazing or waiting for your interview suit to come back from the dry cleaners, someone else has got on with it, gone in and possibly got the job.
Another quick pointer on this - closing dates on advertising boards are when the role ends its advertising slot, so don’t confuse those with a stated ‘closing date’ for applications that would be in the advert copy. If you see something you are interested in, apply as soon as possible ... you may well miss the boat if you don’t.
5. UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
If you are able to promote the fact that you are looking – do it! “Event Manager – Currently looking for new opportunities” will invite recruiters to get in touch with you – so update your LinkedIn profile if you can.
Obviously if you don’t want your current employer to be aware of your search, you won’t be able to do this! But what you can do is update your profile, so that recruiters who are doing internet searches will find you and see your specific experience easily – make sure all your role titles and companies are on there. Recruiters spend a lot of time searching for talent for great roles… make sure you come up on those searches!
Oh… and be prepared with a bit of script for those awkward moments if a recruiter calls you and your boss is standing next to you. Be prepared, and have a confident reply already in mind – “Sorry, can’t talk now, I’m busy, but can you email me, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” … “ PPI Companies! They just won’t leave me alone!”
6. LET PEOPLE KNOW
A lot of roles come about by word of mouth --- often not a direct contact, but someone you know happens to be chatting to someone, who will mention a role, and that person will think of you! But only if they know what you’re capable of, what you’re interested in, and that you’re up for change.
To manage things politically you don’t have to let people know if you are miserable at work, you just need to let them know you’re ready for new challenges!
7. SET A SCHEDULE
Set an action plan and schedule. A job search can feel soul destroying …. it can take a while, it can have a few disappointments, and you can sometimes feel that nothing is happening despite all your efforts and applications. Be prepared for that, build it in to your plan, know that it can take a while. Keeping the momentum going and your motivation up is key – and essential to that is having a plan in place. Keep a log of what you’ve done … put some goals in there and build in milestones to either pat yourself on the back in terms of the effort you’ve put in or to review what might not be working.
Keep on it, and schedule time in each week to review roles that have come up and chase up on roles you’re waiting to hear back on. Remember every application is getting you nearer that dream next step – stay focussed, stay patient and stay on it. Give yourself a realistic time scale and build in measures so you can see you’re doing the groundwork, even if the perfect role hasn’t come up… yet.
8. STAY POSITIVE
We often say to candidates, it can be a bit like waiting for a bus … the right role might not come up for some time, and then suddenly several great ones come up at once! So, our final tip is stay positive and stay on it – in job hunting it is certainly true that you will reap what you sow!
Now, you were probably expecting points 9 & 10 … weren’t you meant to get 10 top tips? We must admit we’re partial to a bit of alliteration in our blog titles, and we also think 8 is quite enough to be getting on with to get you started! But if you want to add a couple of tips from your own experience, and send them to us to share with others – please do! Just email us at email@example.com
We hope this has been a useful ‘mind focuser’ – and helps you get up and running on your search for a new job, and a new career chapter! At Regan & Dean we are specialists in Events and Marketing roles, and work with some great employers – in-house, agency, association, commercial and publishing, charity, think tanks … We get a real mix of interesting roles – so if these are the sectors you’re interested in then sign up now for our job alerts here, and we’ll send you all our latest jobs!
And good luck with your search!