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    The Key Elements of a Good Job Search

    Whatever your age the most important elements of a job search start with clarifying what you want to do.  If you are clear, you are likely to understand a range of issues including what you are good at, what skills and experience you have for the job you are after, what your market value is to your future employer (what they will pay you for what you will do) and who it is that needs your type of skills.  You are then in a much better position to target your job search.

    If you follow this advice you’ll find you can do a lot yourself without relying on recruiting agents.  You can do your own research on who’s employing; which organisations are doing well and growing.  You can find this out in the local and national press and on the internet.  The best sources will be people that you know.  If you have worked before in the type of job you are seeking now, you will know people who can help you understand what the work level is like in that market. Are the suppliers struggling to keep up with their orders, is customer demand up or down, are organisations moving premises because they are expanding?  These are basic things, but key to you understanding if there is work.

    Using relationships in this way is a very valuable way of getting work.  Think of it from the recruiting company’s point of you.  You will be introduced to them by someone that they trust – you are a known quantity so they will presume that you have the right type of background and experience.  This reduces the risk that organisations face when recruiting and it is also a big cost saver as there are no recruitment fees. Another benefit is that you can be yourself and don’t need to perform the traditional interview rituals that put so many employers off.  You are more likely to be seen as a potential contributor who has the right experience for this job. Dressing up smartly and trying to show off in an unnatural way at interview won’t come into it.

    Another tactic is for organisations to take you on in a temporary capacity (with the summer coming this is a good time to be available when employers need flexible cover for holidays etc.). Don’t be afraid of the “temp to perm” route. Above all the CV is the dominant document that organisations and their recruiter agents use as the “passport” to work.  The CV is a flat and boring way of expressing who you are and what you want to do.  CVs are given a cursory glance and are mainly used to word search and match against the key criteria in a job.  If you don’t know the key words in the search, you may be filtered out even if you are the best candidate.  Less is more; the more information that you give, the more the readers will make assumptions about you – and not always the ones that you want them to have!

    Recruitment is a transactional process.  It is process and electronic data driven, run by young people who are generally in a hurry.  These features do not benefit mature people looking for work.  Finding a job in a recessionary market isn’t easy and there is competition for work that hasn’t been this tough in a long time.

    Author: Simon North, co-founder of Position Ignition

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