April 17th, 2013

Job seekers

As a professional recruiter I am constantly asked how the job market is fairing in the shadow of the doom and gloom, redundancies and mass unemployment in the public sector. I think people are rather surprised when I tell them it’s far better now than it was 18 months ago. Infact, we are struggling to find good candidates for many positions.

The reality is that during the down turn, the vast majority of good employees have simply battened down the hatches and stayed in their current roles, believing in the old adage ‘better the devil you know’. Simultaneously, employers have maximised their profitability by reducing costs where possible, however, there is a limit to how much they can trim the costs and eventually a decision has to be made to re-invest.

The recruitment market is, and always will be, cyclical. It’s a question of supply and demand like any other commodity, the employers are now needing new talent and slowly but surely the talent will follow.

I am very conscious that my comments maybe read as being rather flippant; especially to anyone who has been job seeking for sometime and who is struggling to find an opportunity. I regularly spend time with friends of friends to discuss their job search processes and offer advice where possible. Remarkably, there are many similarities and frustrations in their shared experiences and I felt it would be a beneficial to explore the most common issues and offer advice to any job seekers who are not a friend of a friend.

One of the biggest issues appears to be related to the lack of feedback when approaching new job opportunities via the web or through journals. I can empathise with these feeling, you may feel demoralised to send application after application and not get any feedback. However, the web is very impersonal and I can assure you that you are not the only one who is not getting feedback, sadly it has become an accepted practice, and one that I feel is not for the better. My advice is to adopt a mentality of a sales person, it is partially a numbers game, however, you need to ensure your responses are not generic. Take your time to read the job advert, be honest with yourself; are you suitable for the role? Do you have the transferrable skills? If so, you need to structure your response to highlight those skills and where possible, use the wording they have used in the advert. If they are looking for some one dynamic, tell them you are!

Another common problem is that job seekers fall into the habit of doing the same thing day in day out; all they do is trawl the job boards, get occasion responses and sadly fall into a routine that diminishes their self belief. You must look at the process of getting a job as ‘your job’, be creative, plan your working week, two days per week, assess the job boards, go to the business section of your local library, ask for a list of companies in the area you would want to work for that fits your criteria. Approach them by letter, or even better, print off your CV and do a walk around, asking to see the manager to hand deliver your CV. One last piece of advice is to look for looking business networking events, the likes of the BNI, call and request whether you can attend and network, it’s a great way of getting in front of people.

Good luck with your continued job search.