Tips for the New Year job hunt

The start of a New Year usually ushers in a fresh start, making it a popular time for people to seek new employment. With matriculants, recent graduates and people who have made a career shift their New Year’s resolution, recruiters experience one of their busiest periods during January.

Here are a few tips for you to stand out if you’re looking for a new career:

Spruce up your CV and professional profiles: “Your CV will determine whether a recruiter will call you in for an interview or not, so make sure it’s perfect. A good CV is concise, up-to-date, and professional: you should also consider customising it slightly for each job you apply for to highlight the skills or experiences that are most appropriate for the role,” states head of Sage Talent Solutions, Heidi Duvenhage.

Recruiters will view spelling or grammatical errors as a reflection of a lack of professionalism and attention to detail on your part, adds Duvenhage. ”If you are not confident about your own language skills, ask someone else to proof your CV and covering letters. Also, update your online profile on LinkedIn as well as any personal websites you use to market yourself.”

Do some research: Before starting to search for a new job, do some research about the job opportunities in the market that fit your aspirations, advises Duvenhage.

Useful questions to aid in this process will be:

  • Is there a demand for the skills you can offer?
  • Which companies are hiring?
  • What company has the sort of culture and working environment in which you aspire to work?

“Look at what customers on social media have to say about a company where you might be interested in working. Reading its financial results can tell you if the company is growing or struggling. A general Google search can help you understand opportunities and challenges in your industry.

Put yourself out there and let people know you are looking: “The next step is to market yourself. You should sign up with an online career portal such as Sage SkillsMap, where you can receive updates for the latest jobs and make your CV searchable for recruiters. You can keep your CV and personal details hidden if you don’t want your boss to know you’re looking,” Duvenhage explains.

It also always useful to:

  • Speak to trusted people in your professional network and let them know you’re interested in a change.
  • Connect with people in your industry on LinkedIn; send your CV to recruitment agencies that work in your space.
  • Email the heads of recruitment at companies that recruit people with your skills and profile to find out if they’re recruiting.
  • Apply for relevant jobs when you see them advertised.

Keep sight of your dream job: “It can be discouraging when you don’t get a reply for a job you applied for, or when a job goes to someone else after you thought the interview went well. Remember that most people need to go for a few interviews before they land the job of their dreams,” encourages Duvenhage. “The economy is tight and there’s a lot of competition, so you may need a bit of time to secure the right opportunity. The time will depend on how much demand there is for your skills and how well your industry and profession are doing.”

If at first you get no replies when you apply for a job, you should ask yourself why.

“Is it because you’re positioning yourself incorrectly, or because you’re not effectively communicating your skills and experience? Speaking to a recruitment agency may offer you some insight into the mistakes you’re making. If you get as far as a first or second interview, you may politely ask for feedback about why you weren’t chosen. You can often learn something that will help you impress the next person who interviews you,” Duvenhage states.

Impress the interviewer:

When you get an interview opportunity:

  • Walk in prepared. This means thinking through some of the questions the interviewer may ask and preparing the answers.
  • Be ready to ask some questions of your own to demonstrate your interest in the job.
  • On the day, be sure that you’re dressed neatly and appropriately, and rather risk being overdressed than underdressed.
  • Make sure you know your route, the interview venue and leave early to ensure that you arrive on time.

Job hunting can be a tough task, especially when you’re searching for a job that does more than pay the bills. That being said it is not an impossible one. Happy job-hunting and may 2017 be your year of professional advancement!



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