Hunting for a job | How to get started.
It can be a daunting task starting the job search, and if you're not sure exactly what you're looking for, you can spend hours browsing through websites with little or no success. So how do you get into the job market without wasting hours on pointless applications?
Whether you're well into your career or a bit of a newbie, finding the right role for you is always going to be challenging. There are a few things to consider before you dive into sending out applications.
1. What do you want to do?
The hardest question of all. And if you're young, maybe recently graduated, this question is something that hangs over people like a dark cloud. But the secret is, you don't have to know. Your career is always going to be a work in progress and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will find something you enjoy without the pressure of it being your dream job!
The first step is to work out what your strengths are. You're not going to be a full-stack developer if you've never written a line of code. Haven't done any maths since you were 16? You might not find it easy to get into banking... These are simple things that you can work out just by writing a list of your skills and reading a few job descriptions.
The other option is to try either a bit of temping or some work experience. That way you might realise your passions, or even what you'd be most suited to before having to commit to something more permanent.
Just remember, it's not all as shiny and glamorous as it looks. Whatever career you're looking it, it will inevitably involve hard work and sometimes long hours. Pick the lifestyle you want and the career that will fit that. Realism is vital!
But the most important thing? Don't stress. You can always change your mind, switch it up, try something new. Nothing is set in stone!
2. How long is your runway?
The runway is a term from business meaning the point at which you will run out of money. The same is applicable for a career. We all know how long we can survive in funemployment, but you'd probably rather not get to a point of desperation, so consider the framework of your search in the context of when you actually want to start.
There are a lot of roles out there with immediate start dates, but if you can't find the right thing, consider temping to tide you over until you find the right thing. Not only will this offer you quick cash, but it will allow you to harvest skills at the same time, which will only help your applications to permanent roles. And if you're really lucky, you will like your temp role or company and you might be in a position to negotiate a permanent contract straight out of the temp job.
3. Don't have any experience?
A lack of experience can make the search process even more daunting, but don't stress! Everyone has to start somewhere!
There are many ways to enter the world of work if you don't have experience, and you have the advantage that, in forward thinking companies, employers might see the cost benefit of taking a risk on someone they can train and mould. In the meantime, try out some volunteering, apply for internships, and consider apprenticeships. They'll boost your CV and give you access to industries you might want to work in long-term.
4. I don't have the right qualifications
We live in a time where everyone says qualifications are everything, but this isn't actually the case. Yes, it's helpful to tick boxes with grades or certifications, but isn't the be all and end all. A really great way to compensate for a deficit is to study things on your own. The internet gives a keen individual access to a massive range of information and online courses for a massively reduced rate. Employers will always be impressed if you have gone out and decided to acquire qualifications off your own back so the more the merrier. And as much as we all love Netflix, there are many hours in the day and no real excuse not to learn things on the side.
5. I want flexibility
In this day and age, people are looking for more and more flexibility in the way they work, and the corporate world is adapting... slowly. This means there is work out there that allows you to mix things up a bit, but it isn't the easiest to come by. It is worth looking into roles that are freelance, virtual, distance, or part-time. This will allow you to have more control over your daily schedule and maybe a better work-life balance.
BUT... These sorts of roles are harder to come by than standard PAYE permanent full-time roles so consider it carefully before you start the search. It is not an impossible task but it is harder and that has to be acknowledged. If you're already in a role and looking to move, consider talking to your employer about flexibility before jumping ship. If you've already proven yourself, you might find that they are willing to offer something to keep you in the team.
6. I know my dream job
Your career is going to be long... Somewhere in the region of 40-45 years, so don't stress if you have a dream job and you haven't managed to get there yet. It will take time, but if you make a plan, stick to it, and keep working hard, you'll get there in the end. The biggest reasons people don't end up doing their dream job is because they give up. The creative sector is a great example. Many people start out on badly paid internships with the hope of quickly climbing the ranks of a production company or creative agency only to discover it can take a decade to make meaningful strides into the industry. The ones that will make it are the ones that hang on in there and continue plugging away for a decade. Hard work is never easy!
7. Do it for love or do it for money.
It's a simple philosophy, and there's no right way to do it BUT... stick to the rule. Do it for love or do it for money (and if it's for money, do it for as much as possible). There are very few people in this world that get to do the thing they love for lots of money, but if you manage to, hold onto it. You're very lucky!
So... with a mountain of advice, piles of resources on the internet, and the right mindset, you can leap into the job search with rationality, confidence and excitement.
1, 2, 3 JUMP!