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Direct job search strategies

Direct job search strategies

Posted on 13 May 2020 by Laura Mercer

With small glimmers of hope returning to the industry and a few companies starting to recruit for new employees, the team at next level wanted to follow up on the recent Q&A we gave around job search strategies when applying directly. You may think it's strange that as a recruitment agency, we're giving our candidates advice on how to approach clients and nail that job directly, but right now, the most important thing is to get our economy back on it's feet; to get talented and skilled people (we love working with!) back in to work, however that is done. So here's our advice and top tips.

Getting started

  • It really is important first and foremost to make sure in the eyes of your potential employer, you become the "obvious candidate". Keep your CV simple. Less really is more. Personalise your portfolio and be clear with your personal achievements / involvement ('I' not 'we') . The employer is hiring you, not the team.
  • Cover letters - a brilliant way for you to highlight your credentials and experience, that can't be done in a 2 page CV. If you can and the job role permits, be creative, turn your cover letter in to a rhyme or a story. Write a piece about the company you are applying for, particularly if the role is a content or copy position. Whatever you do with your cover letter, remember - stand out, or be forgotten.

Searching and applying for live jobs

  • First up, you need to make sure you're registered with the job boards / sites, like Indeed which is an aggregator and pulls in jobs from other websites on to theirs. Independant job boards like Reed and Total Jobs and not forgetting LinkedIn. Once you've done that, don't forget to set your account up for job alerts, so you know as soon as a job you could be interested in, is posted.
  • Next, research the business, the role and the team. Look at who they are and their values, as well as what they do and their size. It's really important your ethos and values fit with theirs, so look on their blog page, about us section and if they have them, instagram, facebook and twitter accounts.
  • Then personalise your application to each job. Gone are the days where you can send the same cover letter and CV to every job you apply for. It didn't really work before this pandemic in all honesty and definitely won't work now, as you'll be up against hundreds of other applications.
  • Follow the company on LinkedIn and connect with the hiring manager. If they accept, send them a message to thank them. Let them know you've applied for a position and you look forward to hearing from them. If you see any posts that you find interesting from the hiring manager or company - share them, like or comment. Showing a keen interest and pro-activeness is great, but don't over do it. If you haven't heard from them in a couple of weeks, then do get in touch politely to ask for an update, but remember they will be dealing with a high volume of applications, so be patient.
  • Pull up an excel spreadsheet and track your applications and progress, where have you applied and which role? Have you heard back yet? How long has it been? This will help you to monitor where you're up to in your job search, but also if you do choose to work with a recruiter (like us!), it will help them understand where your CV has already been sent, avoiding duplication.

Proactively targeting and approaching companies directly

  • Have a think about the type of company you'd like to work for and create a target list. They might be organisations you've heard of, or that have been recommended. You might have compiled a search within a specified radius. Research them well and understand who they are, what they do and why they do it. Also, why you and your skill set would be a great fit for their company, either now or in the future. This is your USP.
  • You can approach the line manager (they tend to respond quickest), HR or internal recruiters; LinkedIn is a great tool for searching and finding out who your best POC would be, as well as the company's website.
  • Once you've identified who to approach, you need to put yourself in their shoes and consider 'What's in it for me?' 'Why would I be interested in talking to you?' Personalise your application to that company and POC as much as you can. Make them want to engage in a conversation with you.
  • Planning and persistence are key. Keep a track of where you've approached and who within that company, and keep going. Now more than ever you'll need a thick skin and the ability to dust yourself off and keep going.

Getting social

  • Utilise social channels to promote your skills. Make sure your LinkedIn profile does you justice and really showcases your skill set and ability. Your potential employer will, more than likely, check it out, so make sure it has your most recent employment and job title on there. Fill in the 'about you' section and get your connections to add recommendations and endorse you. There's so much more you can do with LinkedIn, but that should help you get off to a good start.
  • Make sure you can be easily identified and create your personal brand. Through thought leadership pieces, sharing of posts and of your opinions on others posts. Maximise your personal and professional networks. Now more than ever people are helping each other and it's humbling and heart warming to see. If you're pro-actively looking, write a post saying that and ask others to share it. Speak to your network and network with them!

Working with a recruiter

  • If you really want to maximise your job search to the fullest, you might wish to partner with a specialist recruiter. One that knows the industry you work in and has recruited within it for a number of years. The chances are the longer they've been doing it, the more relationships they have built, the more companies they've met and their knowledge of the industry you work in, will be vast. We wouldn't recommend working with any more than 2 and certainly not 3 recruitment agencies. It is not true that the more agencies you use, the more job opportunities they will put in front of you. What is true, is that you're CV will no doubt get sent to the same job or company multiple times, if you're not careful and you don't want that.
  • This leads on to making the relationship work. Communication is key and honesty is at the heart of that. At next level, we'll be honest with you and advise you on which jobs are suitable for your skill set and which aren't. What salary you should be aiming for, CV and interview prep and any opportunities coming up that could be of interest.
  • Ask us anything you want in regards to the job search process, as well as the market and industry and at next level, we will always answer honestly. From how is the market looking at the moment, to advice on how to go freelance or how to talk through your portfolio or CV with confidence. Even negotiating salary and benefits.

We hope you find the above useful and remember that the whole team at next level are still working and still here for you, should you need any advice or help.

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