A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about how to survive the job hunt. Luckily for me things in that area have turned around and I am now faced with an exciting new challenge that I cannot wait to get stuck into.
I am writing this piece as I think it’s always good to illustrate when looking for jobs that in the employment market a month is literally an eternity. I was thinking today about a friend of mine who got a short term contract at very basic pay about a year ago and now because of that job he was able to get into a situation where he literally had firms competing over him. It is truly amazing how your fortunes can change very quickly.
Why does my recent change in fortune or my friend’s matter? When I wrote that last piece I was genuinely heartened by the tweets of support that I received from people who were in the same boat and the employers who took the time to actually put down their suggestions. All of these I was able to put to good use for my own job hunt and for that I sincerely thank you. If posts like this help even one person then they are well worth taking the time to write them.
So, what did I learn from my experience?
1) In an interview it is important to be yourself- DO NOT use jargon or try to imagine yourself as somebody else-people can spot when something is not right. If you are confident in yourself and your skills and aware of your weaknesses you will be fine. Employers do not expect you to be perfect at absolutely everything.
2) Use everything at your disposal- Depending on what area you are in there are likely to be agencies who have consultants that specialist in the jobs you are looking for. Make a point of ringing and making an appointment to have a chat about what you’re looking for-remember these people get a lot of emails every day and have a meeting with them is much more effective.
3) Apply ASAP!-If you’re using agencies the key thing is to apply for the job as soon as possible. Consultants will not wait to forward on CVs, if they get somebody through who meets the criteria they will recommend them for an interview, so do not wait. Most jobs are placed on websites such as NIJobfinder.co.uk and NIJobs.com
4) Attitude-I mentioned in my last post the importance of being polite, optimistic and energetic. This is so important I feel it worth repeating as this will get you through the slumps that you encounter and in a tough economy this will happen.
5) Be realistic-for a lot of younger people there is an assumption (I’m as guilty of this as anyone) that you go and get the degree and the £20k per year job should be waiting there for you after graduation. This does not happen and if it does happen to you then you should thank your lucky stars. You should be ready and willing to take temporary posts when they come up and be ready to gain that experience that will lead you to a permanent job down the line.
6) Get feedback-anytime you’re unsuccessful in an interview-please make sure you get the feedback from the panel and put it to good use the next time.
These are just six things that I learned from my experience, I am sure you have your own.
Just remember to keep your chin up, keep trying and always try to be a step ahead of others competing out there for jobs. It’s not always easy but here’s hoping that the green shoots of recovery that we are seeing can help get some more people back into work.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs