Surviving the job hunt part 2

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 and

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.

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  • Charles_Gould

    Many hearty congratulations.

  • Ruarai

    Congrats on the new job, David.

  • Yes, congratulations David for your perseverance and landing an exciting job for yourself.
    Your advice to others doesn’t apply to me (retired) but I’m sure there are plenty of job seekers who will benefit from it.
    Cheers, Joe

  • Granni Trixie

    That’s terrific news David which I am sure will encourage others to ‘hang in there’. Looking forward to the next installment of your ‘journey’.

  • DoppiaVu

    David – well done, persistence definitely pays.

    I’m in the process of reviewing CV’s for two positions that have come up in the organisation I’m working for, so I can add a few things about CV’s (from a potential employer’s perspective).

    1. For the love of God, write it in decent English. If I see a CV littered with spelling/grammar mistakes, it goes straight in the bin. I’m not hiring anyone that cannot communicate in written English.

    2. Ditto, make sure your CV is clearly laid out. A CV that is confusing to navigate will just get an employer’s back up and reduce your chances of getting short-listed.

    3. Spare me the hyperbole. I’m seeing a lot of CV’s that are quite simply full of sh!t. You’re not applying for a place on the Apprentice, so spare me the hyped-up “I’m driven to succeed by…” nonsense.

    4. When describing previous experience, please be specific about exactly what you did. Don’t just describe the organisation or the job you held – tell me exactly what you personally did, that ‘s the thing I’m really interested in.

    Overall, I would strongly recommend getting someone suitable to review your CV. If that means paying a professional to do it, I think that’s money well spent.

    Anyway, congratulations again.

  • I would echo DoppiaVu’s points. The spelling and grammar should be an obvious area to perfect – but you’d be surprised poor people can be at this (and not just at junior/ graduate level, trust me).

    The key thing is getting somebody who knows what they are talking about to review the CV. Just be wary of going with the first option on Google for this – 60% of these ‘firms’ will rip you off. However, try to get some word of mouth advice on decent careers advisors and pay them the 30-40 quid it takes to do a full review of your CV. It is literally the most important thing (well, beyond the actual ‘stuff’ you do) – it gets you in the door of a prospective employer and it should be close to perfect.

    Another thing I’d add for the younger job-seekers who may not have as much career experience. Get out there and do things – volunteer etc. – all this stuff is valuable and the only way you’ll have something to put on the CV is by actually doing things. Particularly if you are currently at University, there are boundless opportunities to get involved and build your skills. Never be doing nothing. I know it’s not easy, but it’s very important.

  • quality


    “4. When describing previous experience, please be specific about exactly what you did. Don’t just describe the organisation or the job you held – tell me exactly what you personally did, that ‘s the thing I’m really interested in.”

    That’s the perfect way of looking at it. To many people fall into a trap of ‘we’ and are unable to give specific examples.

    Always go into an interview having looked act the competencies with an idea of how you satisfy them – what the situation was, what YOU did, what the outcome was.

  • cynic2


    At least you didn’t have the Justice Minister change the terms during the process

  • Glad to hear things are going better, David.

    Just finished a recruitment round in my own office. A few points that cropped up – these are all easily avoidable errors:

    1) A couple of candidates emailed me directly, rather than the formal application address given in the job ad, to try and make a better impression. They failed. Part of this is due to showing a disregard for proper procedures. The other part was that despite being pushy they had nothing else particularly special to say for themselves.

    2) Two got the name of the organisation wrong consistently during interview. This does not fill the interviewer with confidence about their attention to detail.

    3) One candidate talked a lot about how good the job would be for them, but rather failed to express how they would add value to us.

    The appointment went to one of several candidates who had done a little research into the work of the office and articulated convincingly how they would be able to make it work better.

    I would add that I do think it’s incumbent on the potential employer to reply, however briefly, to all unsuccessful applicants letting them know they have not got the job, and to be ready to give feedback to unsuccessful applicants. I am aware that not all feel that way, unfortunately.