Occasionally finding the right job can be very simple. An advert in the job section of your local newspaper may grab your attention. A friend of a friend might know somebody that's recruiting. Your CV lands on the right desk at the right time.
All of this said, relying on chance to get you that perfect job is probably not the best and most reliable approach. So, if you're searching for the job of your dreams, where's the best place to start?
1. Define specifically what you are looking for
Be very clear and precise about what you are and aren't looking for
The type of work advertised, location, salary, prospects, industry etc...
Balance the dream job with a realistic look at what's out there and available
And, if you aren't quite ready for the dream job, what types of work will help get you there
With all of this in mind it's time to do your homework,
Research your chosen positions and industry....
What and who are they looking for?
2. Take time to take stock - make a list of your pro's and con's
Part of looking for and applying for jobs is selling yourself and just like any other service be realistic and consider both your strengths and weaknesses
Of course the trick is to maximise and emphasize your strengths
Build your CV around such core attributes that your target industry or career path will be looking for.
And, of course, do your best to minimise your weaknesses
Are there any gaps in your work history? Can these be filled with part time work or perhaps voluntary or charity work?
Will it aid your efforts to get a professional membership or specific qualification?
Fill in the holes
3. Be prepared with the basics
Every single job search will need a few basic things - consider the process as a marketing campaign
Your CV - Interesting, professional and pleasing to the eye as well as being in a usable format
Do not send out a standard CV, always make changes to make it specific and relevant to the employer with the job you're applying for
Covering letter - Wherever possible this should be unique to every application BUT a template can be created to speed up this process
Outlining 'blurb' - Lots of recruitment and job websites will let you create a short blurb about yourself, keep it memorable, punchy and as short as possible
References - Written references are fantastic and make sure to prepare your referees to expect a phone call, a momentary lapse (i.e. forgetting your name) could be a real disaster
Email details - email@example.com might be fine for your friends but it's unlikely to impress a potential employer
Contact Details - Aside from your email address make sure you provide a few contact options, if you can't take calls at a certain time of day you may want to make arrangements for someone to take a message or redirect a landline to your mobile voicemail.
4. Choose and consider your targets and go after them
Now you know what you want and are looking for, what's required to achieve it and you can start to create specific employers or types of businesses to target first
Find out as much as possible about your targets
For specific employers it would be good to know how they normally recruit (when, how, where) and make sure you get yourself on their radar
Another good idea would be to do your best to get yourself known in the industry and market in which they operate
Make every effort to attend industry events
Go to networking functions
Also you can go after your target employers directly by emailing them your CV or calling to enquire about potential job vacancies
5. Get help
To get the perfect job you'll need help, here's a few ideas of people who might be able to help you
Family & Friends - Let them all know that you're job hunting and what types of things you're looking for
Contacts in the Industry - Following the above advice will help you to develop contacts, let them know you are looking and what specifically you are looking for. They can keep an eye out for you. Networking with the right kinds of people may even land you an interview.
Recruitment companies - Of course register with job and recruitment agencies in the fields that you're looking for. Make things easier for you by working with them. Let them know exactly the types of jobs you're interested in and be in regular contact with them. Also do a great job of selling yourself and your talents to them as you would in a job interview.
A clear and systemised approach will help to maximise your potential and help get you that dream job.
Lisette Howlett is an HR consultant who runs a successful HR Consultancy and a recruitment website www.HireScores.com.
www.HireScores.com is a unique online community, recruitment agency information source and directory for all things to do with recruitment and working bringing together job seekers, employers, recruiters and other specialists within the recruitment industry. It has recruiter rankings, a knowledge centre, a recruitment blog and a Recruitment and Careers Forum.