Hints and tips for jobseekers

Superwoman jobseeker

It’s certainly a jobseeker’s market right now but these few hints and tips can help you maximise the chances of landing the job YOU want.

Recruitment agencies

Imagine spending 35 hours a week looking for a job – that’s what recruitment agencies do for you! Recruitment agents are great at matching candidates with employers so make sure you use them as part of your job search.

Direct job search

Applying via company websites or by sending your CV with a covering letter takes more effort than using a recruitment agency but it’s a great way at getting noticed. Personnel managers hate paying commission to recruitment agencies so as long as you have the right skillset you’ll have preference over an agency candidate.


USE SOCIAL MEDIA! in this day and age, LinkedIn and Twitter are a no-brainer if you’re job hunting. Read more: LinkedIn : a powerful networking and job hunting tool

Ring up and email any contacts you have in the industry and ask them if they know of any vacancies or the names of personnel managers. Speculative applications work so much better if you have the name of the person who deals with hiring and firing. Another way of getting names and numbers is to attend recruitment fairs – you’ll be surprised at how many contacts you’ll get.

Stay focused

Plan your job search and allocate weekly or daily time slots. Consistency is key. You don’t want to miss that dream job just because you didn’t check the job boards that day. Keep yourself motivated. It’s not easy getting the big money so make sure you’re aiming at your level and that your skills are marketable in the range you’ve set.

Interview preparation

Your CV has done its job and you have an interview lined up. Spend some time going through the job ad and match the requirements with your skills. There are always some power phrases or key words that you’ll want to slip in during the interview. Look for these in the advert and relate them back to your previous roles. Always, always, use industry terminology – this shows that you’re an expert with good experience. Don’t forget dress smart – no fancy ties or dresses. Finally make sure you get a good nights sleep the day before.

Answering questions

Keep to the following principles and you should do ok. Make a conscious effort to implement them during the interview and eventually they’ll become second nature.

  • Short, concise answers.
  • Provide real world examples.
  • Relate your experiences back to the company.
  • Don’t lie – you’ll get found out in the long run.
  • Have some questions of your own lined up.
  • Make sure the interviewer feels valued by listening.

Keeping your answers concise is key to winning confidence – talking too much will nearly always end up with you saying the wrong thing and talking too little makes you feel cold and distant. This is one of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make so be on your guard.

Here are some common interview questions to practice. If it’s your first interview, check out our first interview cheat sheet.

After the interview

The first thing you should do after the interview is review the questions asked. Write them down – especially technical questions. This self analysis will help when going to other interviews. If you’ve identified a couple of mistakes then that’s good because you won’t repeat them next time. Once you’ve got back home or to the office think about writing a follow up letter or email. Try to reflect on your answers and highlight any areas which you think the interviewer will have any doubts on. Express your interest in the company and the role and explain how your skills and experience will benefit the company and your future work colleagues.

The offer

Be calm and collected, there’s no need to rush! If you’ve gone through an agent you’ll find they’ll try to manage your expectations – agents are professional negotiators so be very careful. If the salary isn’t what you wanted and there’s no flexibility, maybe you can get some extras thrown into the package – maybe a bigger pension contribution or an extra couple of holidays. Getting the job and the right offer is down to you. Every application or interview is a learning opportunity whatever the outcome.

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