Economists have warned us that UK employment could fall in 2020. But this is after a year of record levels of employment.
In December, Torsten Bell, chief executive at the Resolution Foundation, said
… our best guess is that 2020 will be very different from the last few years. We may well see a welcome return to record pay levels, but a less welcome retreat from record employment.The Guardian, 27 December 2019
So what does that mean for YOU as you start your job search.
It means that more than ever before you need to properly focus on the most important things in order to stand out from the crowd.
You want to get noticed. You want to make a bigger impact.
And the most effective way to do that is to get crystal clear in your thinking about WHO you are, WHAT you do and HOW you do it.
In my Career Conversations with the Career Club, the same things come up time and time again talking to women about their recent job search.
Today then I’m going to share
The 5 most important things when you start job hunting
1 – Get clear on your skills and strengths
The number one thing, before you start job hunting, is to get super clear on your skills and strengths.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it but it’s often one of the hardest things for my Career Club members to tackle.
Very often the things that you’re really good at – your superpowers – are the things you take for granted because they feel so easy.
If you’re not clear on your skills and strengths, ask others (former work colleagues, friends, family) for their feedback.
Clarity on your skills and strengths gives you SUCH incredible confidence and self-belief when you are sat in that job interview.
Because then it’s not just you saying “I’m an excellent communicator” or “I’m brilliant at developing relationships with key stakeholders”; others have said the same thing too.
2 – Identify your values
When you start job hunting, it’s time to identify your values. In other words, get really clear on what’s most important to you about work and life?
What sort of team do you want to be part of?
What sort of employer?
What sort of environment?
What are the unbreakable terms and conditions you have for living life? For some us we want security and stability. Others might want creativity or independence.
Getting clear on your values will help you identify the right employer for you.
3 – Polish your CV
Of course if you’re jobhunting, you need to polish your CV. However that’s so much easier once you are clear on your skills and strengths, and also what’s most important to you about your next job.
Standard advice says to go no more than two pages.
Think about your CV from the recruiter perspective and what they’ll be looking for. Tailor your CV for each job application.
Check you have included relevant keywords from the job description and person specification.
Make sure you have more detail on your more senior roles.
Are you demonstrating that you are an achiever and not just a doer? As far as possible quantify achievements in £ % or numbers.
4 – Get active on LinkedIn
When you polish your CV, make sure that you sort out your LinkedIn profile at the same time.
However the whole point of LinkedIn is that it’s a networking platform. Therefore in order to get the maximum value from it, you need to get active and start networking.
How do you do that?
Simples. It’s down to the three Cs.
Connect – Connect with people you know. Connect with people you’ve worked with.
Comment – Start commenting on people’s posts. When you notice that somebody has been promoted or changed roles, congratulate them.
Communicate – Share your knowledge and expertise. Talk about what you know best. Talk about what really annoys you. Share challenges you’ve faced and how you tackled them. Talk about how you got started in your industry. You can do this as posts (maximum 1300 characters) or as articles.
5 – Ask for help
On the whole, people are nice. They want to help. But often they don’t know HOW to help or they don’t like to offer in case they upset you.
Ask people for help. What’s the worst that could happen?
If somebody who was about to start job hunting asked you for help, would you say yes? Of course you would.
Ask for introductions.
Ask people for information about their employer.
Ask for feedback on your skills and strengths (see No 1).
When you start job hunting …
… there are lots of things you ‘could’ do.
But given the predictions on UK employment, it’s absolutely essential that you focus on the things that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Get clear on your skills and strengths, identify your values and what’s most important to you, fix your CV, get active on LinkedIn and ask for help.
p.s. if you are job hunting, check out the Career Conversations with the Career Club running throughout January. The conversations are recorded and available to catch up if you can’t make them live.