New Year, new career

Whelan advises people not to be put off applying for roles due to the negative news on the economy
Whelan advises people not to be put off applying for roles due to the negative news on the economy

New Year's resolutions often include the promise of a new career and Barry Whelan of Excel Recruitment explains how to best capitalise on your newfound momentum

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Advisor

18 January 2013

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Traditionally January is our biggest month for applications. Whatever it is about a new year, whether it is the pressure of Christmas being behind you or just the thought of starting afresh, people are really motivated from 1 January onwards to find a new job. With that theme in mind, here is a rundown on some of the best advice we can give job seekers.

Practice makes perfect

Be careful how you answer questions in a job interview. You always want to be truthful, but it’s best to practice your answers. Do your homework on the companies you plan to interview with, and anticipate the kinds of questions they might ask. Come up with answers that will be both honest and impressive.

Don’t let bad news get you down

Don’t listen to the doom and gloom that you hear in the news. People are getting jobs every day, and companies are growing, even in a poor economy. I say this as a business owner, whose biggest challenge over the past year has been finding quality candidates for the roles we have to fill. I have also seen it with other businesses that are looking to recruit. People get an idea that the job market is hopeless because of all the negativity they hear in the media. Don’t believe everything you read.

Show how you add value

Figure out what value you can provide. Your credentials and your past are nice but secondary. Convince employers that their future is better with you than without you. The value and added value message cannot be overplayed. Once you know the value you provide, make it clear in your CV, cover letter and in an interview.

Network

Network with all kinds of people for useful market information, not just information about specific job openings or companies that are known to be recruiting, but learn about the larger world and environment you are working in.

Stay positive

Positivity and persistence are key to finding your new job. Stay optimistic throughout the process and keep going until you achieve your goal.

Stand out

Every candidate is punctual, responsible and gets on well with people. How about you highlight unique elements of your personal brand and stop blending in with the crowd. Don’t skip or gloss over the cover letter. This is your opportunity to make a personal impression and connection. A CV is just a list of facts about you, but the cover letter gives a recruiter an insight into your personality. We hire people, not CVs and I can’t count the amount of times a strong cover letter has changed my opinion on a CV.

Sales people learn to translate features into benefits. When you are trying to sell yourself, you should do the same. A feature is a fact about you – experience, skills, education, etc. A benefit is why we should care. This requires some thought and customisation of your CV to each position you seek, but it is worth the effort. Casting a wide net by sending hundreds of generic CVs is largely a waste of time. Instead, target a few positions for which you are well-suited at companies you admire. Customise and plan your approach. Connect to people who already work where you want to work through social media like LinkedIn, attend networking events for the industry and leverage your personal connections. Even a small connection can often get your CV the second glance it deserves.

 

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