Plan for a successful job search

The instant nature of the internet has made the process of applying for jobs so easy; we need only to apply with a click of a button.

Competition for roles can be fierce, and due to numbers, some hirers may say they will not be able to respond to all applicants. This can be demotivating for you the job seeker and does not necessarily help you to improve your job search.

We recommend you maximise your chances of success by taking your time to truly consider your job search before clicking apply. Keep in mind work is where we spend a large proportion of our time and has an impact on our lives beyond the hours we spend at our desk or on the shop floor.

Employers use job and person specifications to help them to define a job and the attributes and skills of a candidate before the recruitment process begins. This allows them to target their advertising and to compare the diverse applications they receive in terms of skills and fit with the role. 

As candidates, we spend a lot of time considering how we can impress employers in the recruitment process, but to achieve the best match and to build a successful working relationship, the job and employer must also tick the right boxes for you. Good preparation at the start of your search will save you time, provide focus and help you to express your interest during the application process.

Below are some key points to assist:

1. Define your own essential and desirable criteria: Everyone’s circumstances are different, we all have our own personal motivations, ideals, and goals. Clarify these at the start of your job search and weigh roles against them before applying.

  • Essential criteria are your deal breakers, limit these to the reasons you would turn down a role.
  • Desirable criteria are factors which make the role attractive but are not essential to your application, these should be a bonus.

Adverts can be posted in all manner of detail,  you may not get every answer before deciding to apply but it will help you to build a stronger picture of your preferences and help you to cut through the marketing and to focus on the role essentials. You may also have a handy check list of questions to ask at later stages in the process.

2. What are the main objectives for your job search? Setting job search goals will help you to think about why you are looking for work and what you want to achieve from employment, whether that is to start or progress your career in a certain direction, to change industry or to earn or learn. This may seem obvious, but this can vary significantly depending on where you are in your career journey and your personal circumstances.

Keep it simple and narrow down to about three goals. If you are out of work, you may have an immediate need which is more pressing than your long-term goals. Treat them separately and create a list for each.

3. Work environment: Are there any aspects of the working environment, organisation structure or facilities that are essential for you? Do you have a preference over the size of the team? Whether the company has onsite-parking, canteen, or other facilities? Would you like the ability to work from home?

4. Employers: You may have set ideals about an employer you would (or would not) like to work for! You may also consider type of employer here. i.e Private/public sector, agency, management consultancy.

5. A minimum salary requirement: Set this as something you would be happy to earn for the skills/tasks you provide and to cover your lifestyle. Check its realistic by looking around online at several similar job roles and ensure what you are asking for is achievable.

6. Hours: Whether you are looking for a full time or part time role, do not forget to consider the hours of work. Full-time in the UK can vary hugely from 35 to 48-hour contracts. What are your commitments you would like or need to keep outside work?  Do shift patterns affect your ability to commute?

7. Location: Think about your daily commute in terms of travel time as well as distance. If using public transport are there any business locations, you know are very accessible or difficult for you? Would you consider relocation? If so – where to? How practical is this for you? What time frame/support might you need?

We hope this has given you some useful tips and improves your job search!

Happy hunting!