8 steps to a successful job search

As a Recruitment Manager I meet with many individuals seeking employment opportunities.

Tue, October 15th, 15:07


In recent times I have found myself offering advice on personal branding, networking and social media rather than job opportunities.

I now have a new and real sense of optimism. I understand it is still not easy out there but I do believe there are small steps that can be taken, which can help with seeking out opportunities. My belief is that time invested in getting an organised and focussed job search project plan together will help secure opportunities for individuals who have no such structure in place at this time.

Creating a job search project plan:

Taking the time to organise a job search project should help focus and simplify the entire process. Treat the job search as a project and plan it accordingly. Allocate time for all tasks and try to stick to it. Each week you should plan ahead for networking, researching, sending out CVs and for following up. Initially there will be the need to set some foundations in place.

Below are a number of points that may help with structuring your project.

1. Develop your CV
This document should be of the best standard that can be achieved both in layout and content. I believe this is the passport for your career and thus should be treated with the same care. CV writing can be difficult and time consuming, though this is time very much invested in your future. Ensure it makes a good impression and presents the facts clearly and concisely. Hiring managers and recruiters will take two minutes to scan through it, so make sure it is easy to read.

2. Create a personal cover letter template
This template is a starting point for all your job applications. It will need to be tailored each time for every opportunity you apply for. In the long run it will save you time and it really is best practice when sending in your applications to companies and recruiters.

3. Build and update online profiles
Networking and career sites such as LinkedIn are fast becoming a very important tool in assisting companies with their hiring and sourcing process. It is important you embrace this space and create profiles on appropriate online applications to ensure you are visible to employers and recruiters. Your online profile should be treated with the same care applied to your CV; ensure that it is current, makes a good impression and presents the facts clearly and concisely.

4. Select a jobs board
I don’t believe it is necessary to pass your CV on to every job board you come across. Take the time to research jobs boards and choose one that offers the most up-to-date opportunities most closely matched to your experience and career. There are a number of niche jobs boards now that focus on specific industry areas. Search for jobs using different search engines making a note of which engines work well for your specific search.

5. Select a recruitment partner
Ok, I am little biased here! Take the time to research and then choose a partnering recruitment agency. A good recruitment partner should listen and listen some more, they should advise and hopefully present appropriate opportunities that match your career requirements.

6. Research and target
Knowing the position you want, the type of company you want to work for and within which location, will really help you focus and target your search. Research the companies who hire and require your type of skill set. Where they are? Are they hiring? Do you know anyone there? Does the company have a recruitment partner?

7. Networking
Networking is essential and should become a daily part of your project plan. During the course of your studies and previous employment you will have built up a network of contacts. Now is the time to touch base with them. Do this regularly, I would suggest once a month, initially by phone and then perhaps by email. Usually contacts will be sorry for your predicament and will often give good information freely. This engagement just needs to be an initial ‘hello’, mentioning you are job searching and to ask them to bare you in mind if they hear of anything that may be suitable or to pass on the names of companies who could be looking.

8. Follow up
Follow up with everyone. Make a phone call to the company you have sent your CV to. Engage with your network connections on a monthly basis. Engage with your recruitment partner fortnightly. Send a thank you email or letter after job interviews. Send messages to your online social partners to thank them for their assistance with your job search. Remember it costs nothing to be courteous and polite and a little thanks goes a long way.

Good luck.

Paul Bacon

The Irish Times