Do you know where your job search problem lies?

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 - Job Application, job search, job seeking

Do you know where your

job search problem lies?

The problem as a recruiter that I notice with many job seekers, is that they do not know where there job search problem lies. They keep doing the same things with the same – failing – results.

So, here’s the simple guide to knowing where your job search problem lies:

  1. What have you got? Write down your complete list of jobs and education, so that you have a full list of Skills, Qualifications and Experiences
  2. What is it that you want to do next, and why? Test whether employers are actually recruiting for this type of job at present, and if so: does it pay you enough money to live; and is it within the geography that you want to live? You can solve the first problem by moving, there is no solve to the second but to move
  3. Applying via jobs boards and recruiters gives you an at best 12% chance of success: Why not do a bit of networking, and find out who the hiring manager is – and hence multiply your chances of success to around 35%. Which ever way you apply for jobs, always ask for feedback to know why they rejected/how you could improve your chances of success of employment
  4. Once you have applied for 20 jobs, analyse your results: on average, you should be able to convert 20 job applications into 4 to 5 telephone interviews, and ⅘ telephone interviews into 2 to 3 job interviews. Not getting those results, then the problem is either in: the jobs you are applying for; your CV; or the way in which you are applying. If this is you, seek CV Help
  5. You should be converting your first three job interviews into at least one job offer: if after five job interviews you still don’t have one job offer, there is something wrong in your job interview technique; seek Job Interview Help

Sometimes, the problem in your job application is pretty obvious: you don’t have enough of the right type of skills, qualifications or experiences. The suggested technique is to then supplement your CV by doing either an internship or voluntary work. However, you then have to convert this into real work experience, and a resultant job offer.

Often the best way of doing this is gaining networking skills access to the paid professionals who interact with this charity or organisation – introducing yourself when they come in, taking over some duties when required, however trivial; or offering to represent the charity/organisation at networking events.

You see, the downside of improving your SQE via internships or charity/not for profit work is that you get stamped as a charity/free worker. So you have to combat that by both:

  • Limiting the time you work for free
  • Converting your new SQE into a job offer

How do you do that? By asking real employers first BEFORE you take the free work what you need to do to get employed AFTER doing the free work. If you go in to do free work just to add SQE, and don’t know what you should be adding, then you will be walking down a blind path to no where.

However, if you have done that, then you need to network yourself out to employment. In example, lets take this real job seekers question….

Unemployed too long, what can I do?

Jane asks: I’ve been on jobseekers allowance for 2 years now, and I’m really getting worried about my future. I spent years in education and am qualified to degree level, unfortunately there are very few animal jobs around. I volunteer at a local animal charity, but this has not made any difference, I’m still being ignored. Being on jobseekers I have completed two work placements, 10 weeks at a charity shop as part of the New Deal and a four week work boost whilst with A4e. I was grateful for the opportunity and worked hard in both cases, yet even this on my CV does not impress employers. I’ve tried to get more voluntary work, but they don’t get back to me. You know it’s bad when people won’t let you work for free. I’m really at a loss, and scared about the future. What can I do?

I think your situation is easy to solve Jane, but you need to take a step back first and analyse this.

Firstly, are you really sure that you see a life time career in working with animals? You don’t say what your base degree is in, but I hope that its animal related. If not, perhaps review your life plan and resultant career plan, and may be look at some alternative career paths. Some of your work experience suggest that retail or administration may be productive work paths.

Secondly, your problem at present is failing to convert additional Skills, Qualifications and Experiences into job offers: why? What you should have done before doing the charity work, was to ask real paying employers what you needed to add to your SQE to get a paid job. You now need to go back and retake that step: “I like animals, I want to work in paid animal jobs, what do I need to do to get a job with your organisation?” You may find that this question creates an opportunity, and however far away from what you see as the ideal job for you, take it. Hey, even being a paid receptionist in a paying animal related job is better SQE than volunteer work for a charity. Also at some point, when new more animal related jobs come up, employers look inside first before advertising externally.

Thirdly, the work you are doing with the animal charity should be giving you contact with paid external organisations: local vets, paid charity workers (RSPCA), etc. You should friendly and getting to know these people, and offering to come and meet them at their work place. If you are not getting such contact, then go to your manager/supervisor and ask to represent the charity in meetings where such people go/attend: local liaison meetings, networking events, etc.

Volunteer work is great for adding SQE to your CV, but if you don’t know why employers are rejecting you and hence are not adding these SQE to your CV, then you will keep going around the same volunteer/unemployed circle. Know what you need to add, ad gain access to the wider professional community, to convert non-paid volunteer work into paid employment.
Good Luck!


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