Those of you from the UK may have watched “Boys from the Black stuff” – a serial written by a fellow Liverpudlian, Alan Bleasedale. This serial charters the lives of 5 unemployed Liverpudlian Tarmac Layers (black stuff) who are struggling to find work in the early 1980’s.
I have vivid memories from my childhood of watching this program and the plight of the characters, especially Yosser Hughes played by Bernard Hill. His catchphrase “Gizza job”, “I can do that” summed up the mood of many who were desperately looking for work during this era.
This blog is not about my views of job seeking in the 1980’s, especially in Northern England during this time. Job searching can be very stressful, especially if financial realities come into play. I have the utmost respect for each and every job seeker. This blog is a reminder that applying for jobs with a clear strategy is the most likely route to success.
Here are my top pieces of advice on how to search for a new job or career opportunity.
Have a strategy on which types of roles you are applying for.
Poor Yosser had no choice, he had to find work to provide for his family. I am very conscious that this is still very much a driver in today’s job market. There is an economic reality to everything.
However, my view is that you should have a clear strategy on the types of roles which you are applying for which is backed up by your experience and previous career successes.
What if I have done 6-7 different types of role during my career?
This is great news, however, you should be focusing on your top two to three areas where you can add value in order to successfully secure a new role.
A good friend of mine was out of work around 3 years ago. We spent some time together in order to critique his job search approach. His CV and cover sheets were well written but he was not getting any interviews. Over a 15-year career he had achieved many things and was applying for roles in around 6-7 different domains, with the Yosser Hughes “I can do that” approach.
He was applying for hundreds of roles and was getting nowhere. He was focusing his energies on too many areas and was spreading himself too thin rather than doing a deep dive in the markets where he could really add value. We changed this approach to really focus on the top three areas of expertise that he could bring to an organisation. He started getting interviews and secured his next role.
What if I want to change industry or domain of expertise?
Of course, this is very much possible. You need to have the right approach/strategy to get there. The main question I would ask you is: what can you leverage from your skills and experience to date which will make you interesting for your prospective employer?
Please feel free to ready my blog – Changing Career Direction on this subject.
Read the job advertisements carefully before applying.
Applying for jobs which you are not suited for is largely a waste of your time and everyone else’s who is involved in the recruitment process. Applying for a job because the job title sounds familiar or exciting does not constitute reading the job description fully.
At a recent BBQ I was told: “I’m pretty lazy when it comes to applying to jobs so I tend to just send my CV to jobs which look interesting. The click and apply option on various websites has made this much easier and quicker.”
My answer to this is pretty straight forward: you’re wasting your time. It is better to focus on quality applications rather than random quantity.
If you have a clear strategy, and you consistently and persistently use this, you will find a role and a company which is right for you.
Momentum Search and Selection is a recruitment partner which provides Executives and Independent Contractors who excel at project, program and change management delivery.