Whether you are looking for a job in travel or teaching, PR or publishing, hunting for a new job can be a daunting experience. There is no flawless formula for finding the perfect job, but by taking some basic steps and remembering a few important principles, you can greatly enhance your chances of success...
If you are about to start searching online for a job, ask yourself a few simple questions first. What skills and experience do you have? What kind of work do you want to do? What parts of your previous jobs have you enjoyed and been good at, and where have you struggled? When you are hunting for jobs online, life will be a lot easier if you have a better understanding of what you like and what you are good at.
Do your research
Once you've built an accurate picture of your skills and experience, it's time to do some online job research. Take a look in the print and online job listings of major newspapers and relevant trade publications to get an idea of what kind of jobs are out there, and find out how much experience or what specific qualifications you'll need for the ones that interest you.
If you are lucky enough to have any contacts in an industry that interests you, talk to them about the details of their job. Online forums, blogs and message boards are also good places to learn more about an industry, potential employer or a specific kind of work.
Get some help!
There's nothing like the advice of a professional to help you on your way, especially if you are heading into an industry about which you know very little. If you've recently graduated from university, you can still contact their careers service for advice. You should also consider contacting a recruitment consultancy. Recruitment consultancies are usually knowledgeable and specialised in specific areas, from travel jobs to publishing and PR, and they will have the experience and contacts to help you find employment. They may also be able to advise you on writing your CV and preparing for an interview.
Get some experience
Many companies like to see relevant experience before they will consider hiring you. Work experience and internships look good on your CV and can be a shortcut to employment - if you are impressive enough in an unpaid position, many companies will hire you full time.
Craft your CV
Don't send out the same CV for different jobs - it's easy to spot when a CV is generic and when it has been given a little thought. Focus on the skills on those that are relevant for the position you are applying to, and when writing about your previous jobs, emphasise the experiences they gave you that have prepared you for the job you are applying for.
That personal touch...
Try and find a way to stand out from the crowd with your application. Call the company to enquire about the position and/or follow up your application with a phone call (but don't be pushy!) Try to speak to the same person each time you call the company so that you can develop a contact there. Consider submitting a paper CV and covering letter rather than applying for the job online. But don't try anything to quirky when trying to add that personal touch - fancy fonts and a list of strange interests on your CV can make you seem unprofessional.
If you make it through to an interview, preparation is the key to success. Read up on the details of the job and travel to the interview early - being late always makes a bad impression! Dress smart and simple, prepare a list of relevant questions, learn more about the company and the industry it is in, and so on. The more you prepare, the calmer you'll be, the more you'll know and the better you'll do. Good luck!
Gail Kenny is the managing director of Puregenie, an online travel jobs website. The site deals with recruitment in the ever growing travel sector and offers a wide selection of travel jobs, as well as other roles involved in maintaining a presence online. Although the site is mainly travel focussed, it also displays vacancies in the hospitality and leisure industries. http://www.puregenie.com/