Thursday, 13 December 2012

Job hunting in a recession

This is not my most favourite task and I am sure that it is not yours either. When I started looking for work I bemoaned the task on twitter whereby two different people responded to me. One saying: “you need to look at these big web sites such as monster, Irish jobs and recruit Ireland”. And the other saying “don’t look at those sites it is all about who you know and networking”. So who the hell was right?  For me – neither was right. 

Then of course you hear the advice from people saying “the jobs are out there, you just got to be fast and get in there at the right time”   Ah hell! How can quick can I be?
My advice to anyone looking for a job right now in this tough economy is to try all angles and don’t leave any stone unturned when you are looking.  I have written down a few key points for you to follow when you are job hunting in a recession.  These are tips and pointers that have worked for me recently. 

Know what job you are looking for. 

This sounds a bit obvious doesn’t it?  But if you are not sure what exact job you want, how will whoever reads your C.V know that too.  So you have just finished a job where you were mostly doing administration and secretarial work.  But you want to move a step higher or in to the same area.  You need to define your skills and figure out the answers to some questions.  
Are you someone that is more secretarial and administration? Are you an office manager? Or, are you an operations manager.    

Think about these jobs mentioned, they all fall under the same hat in my opinion in one way or another.  You could have experience to complete all jobs in this list.  But if you are going for the Operations Manager position, you don’t want your C.V to look like the secretary position.   
Remember that you want your C.V to be targeted for the specific job you are going for. So make sure you know what you want from a job and then think about what the employer is looking for.

Target your C.V to the job you want.

So you are looking for a secretary position so that you can get working as soon as possible, but ultimately you want to be an office manager.   This means that you will need two C.Vs – this means two different job profiles and descriptions.  Remember both jobs are different, and will require different qualifications and experience so you need to ensure you that your C.V meets these.

My recommendation at this point is to look at job descriptions of jobs that are already out there on the internet.  Take a look at those buzz words in the description and try to work them in to your C.V.
You need to make sure that the person reading your CV knows that you can do the job.  Most important make sure you can do those jobs and have examples of when you completed the tasks for when you are asked at the interview stage.
Take a look at this picture to help branding yourself on your CV.

Large Websites

There are many jobs websites out there for example Irish Jobs, recruit Ireland etc.  Be careful when using these sites. I found that sometimes when a job was advertised on these websites, if you went to the actually company whether it is a recruitment agency or the actual company, the job was no longer available or it was initially published months ago.  So whilst it is great to use these – use your head too and make sure you are applying for jobs that are still active and not dead in the water from months ago.
The one thing about using these websites is that it expands your own knowledge of recruitment agencies out there. It also allows you to connect with many recruitment personnel who may be able to help you in future.  My one advice on these websites is to be careful.

Target companies in your area

Have you ever thought “oh I would love to work for X company?”  Then isn’t now the perfect time to try.  Look at their website, is there a careers section? Take a look at it and see what information is available. Can you sign up for notifications on vacancies?  If not, save it to your favourites and visit it once a week to check out if anything is available.   


Networking is important; making those connections that can help you will stand to you in the longer term.   But if like me you find it hard to ask people you worked with for favours than something like linked in is perfect for you.  Linked in connect you with people that you work or have worked with.   It is basically an electronic version of your CV, whereby people can also write a review about working with you and endorse your credentials.   But as it is real time, when you change job or are unemployed you can put the call out subtly to your contacts for help – without actually asking.  Hopefully someone will notice you are looking and maybe be able to help.  Remember any dealings that you have in a work or recruitment capacity, make sure you follow up with a linked in connection.  This will make your network bigger and allow you to make connections further afield than your own company.     There are pitfalls to linked in so make sure you don’t connect with your boss and than broadcast out that you are looking for another job! Big mistake. 
It is worth looking at other methods of job searching as well such as twitter.  Again remember to use correctly as the person reading it could be your future employer.


Internships are currently being supported by the Irish Government as a way of getting people back in to the work place.  Whilst I wasn’t initially a fan of these preferring to see them more as cheap labour than someone actually getting experience.  Being out of work for some time now has made me realise that maybe an internship isn’t so bad after all.  If I get out and get back that reason for getting up in the morning – even if it is for crap money – isn’t it better than sitting on my ass watching it get bigger and bigger.  You bet it is.  So please don’t rule out the fact that an internship will help you get back to work, get yourself respect back and most importantly ensure that your CV doesn’t have a big hole that you really don’t want to have to explain.   Consider it! It may just work for you.

While I understand that job searching isn’t easy in a recession I also understand that a few little steps as discussed will make things that little bit easier for you.  So remember these steps and put every effort in to them.

1.       Know what job you are looking for.
2.       Target your C.V to the job you want.
3.       Large Websites
4.       Target companies in your area
5.       Networking
6.       Internships

What worked or working for you?


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