I Can’t Find A Job!

Monday, September 14th, 2009 - career management, Employment, how to make a cv, How to Write a CV, Job Application, job hunting, job search, recruitment


I Can’t Find A Job!

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Jenna asks: I just can’t find a job! I have worked in retail since I left school at 16. I’m now 23 and have worked my way up to Assistant Manager. I know and it is commented in my appraisals that I am a very hard worker, and I can do anything Ii put my mind too. But, in all honesty, my CV looks so boring! Having been made redundant when my employer went bust, I’ve tried applying for receptionist, recruitment consultants, call centres, but i don’t get a look in! I have walked all around my local (and not so local) shopping centres applying for retail work, but still no joy. I have been out of work for 3 months now and I’m getting seriously stressed and depressed about it. My eMail inbox is absolutely full of rejection letters from jobs I have applied to online! Can you help me think in my job search, or suggest jobs I can apply for where previous experience isn’t all that important?

In answer:
There are too many job seekers just applying for any old job out there at present, hoping that “Any Job Will Do” syndrome will soon pass them by. As a recruiter, at present we are drowning in them!

You could find a job tomorrow: there are lots of zero-base/commission only sales jobs, which if you have worked in retail you would have the basic skills for: tough work!

But, what is it you REALLY want to do? Why? And who would you really want to do that for?

Get The Job

If you can define what it is that you really want to do, and ideally who for, then here’s the plan:

  1. Assess your skills, desires and goals: sit down with three friends, ideally people you have worked with, and get them to comment on a sheet you have prepared on what you think your skills are. Think about putting them in a three column list of: Skills, Qualifications and Experiences. Once you have that, plsit them into two types: fixed, and flexible. For instance, a fixed skill would be working at X location, where as a flexible skill would be sales
  2. Define your ideal job: what is it, who is it with, where is it located, whhat is your title? The more precise you can be, the more visual, the better
  3. Make a list of target companies: once you know who your ideal employer/s are, make a list of them. Ideally, you want six at the end of this exercise, which means that you need to start with a list of around 50. The simple reasoning behind this is that one third you will find on research are not as “ideal” as you first thought – that’s fine, not a problem!
  4. Research, research, research: you now need to research these companies, or may be you need more help in creating a list? To undertake your research, your local library has free access to a computer, and loads of company information. You can not undertake too much research: there is nothing worse for an employer to be approached by a candidate who asks questions which could be answer by reading the employers website or press releases!
  5. Social Networking: Now you have your ideal list of six employers, you need to do some more detailled research: this is where social networking pays off. Go a business Social Networking site – LinkedIn is ideal. You can join for free, create a profile, and then find people who work at your target employers
  6. Informational Interview: All of this research effort is leading up to what is termed an Informational Interview. Approach the existing employees you find on the basis of “I really want to work for your company, and before applying wanted to chat to some existing employees about how they found working there.” During these conversations – ideally on the phone, possibly in person – make sure that your research and how you work will match them; secondly, find the name of the operational manager in charge of the area/shop from one of these insiders you have now made friends with. Always remember to thank anyone who helps you, and offer to help them at any point in the future if they need similar assistance
  7. Cover Letter – about them, NOT you: Cover Letter writing is simple – its about them, not you, and the reasons that you fit their needs. You need to explain why you want to work for that company, and your experience. Say that you are seeking a conversation to find out what opportunities would be available, and have some ideas about how your experience could help them reach their targets
  8. If you get rejected: don’t get down! It was just that either they are not the right employer for you, or you are not the right employee for them. You have learnt more, and still have more companies to apply for

If you know what you want to do, and with whom; then if you can communicate that to the ideal employer, they will find a way to engage you. Walking around handing in CV’s is fine, but really working for whom you want to is a whole lot better – and easier to get,. as well!

Good Luck!

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