Organising your job search

Chris Bongard

How to organise your job search to maximise return

Navigating a turbulent employment market can be a stressful and time-consuming process, but by following a few simple steps you will begin to feel more empowered, taking a more focused and efficient approach to your job search.

Starting out

Before you start you will need a good sense of the role you want and where you would like to work. This may be straightforward, but if this isn’t the case it’s important to research the market and the options open to you. You can do this by talking to friends, family and colleagues as well as scouring the trade press and professional social networking sites.

Market yourself

It’s vital that you market yourself appropriately, ensuring that your online profile reflects your professional profile and career objectives. A growing number of organisations will look at your web presence, so it is important that any accounts present you in the best possible light and are carefully managed.  LinkedIn is effective for professional networking, so ensure that your profile matches your CV and that you are engaged in relevant industry groups.

Get organised

Organising your job search is based on one simple idea – making sure all the information is current and in one place. The easiest way to do this is to keep a dedicated folder with copies of your CV (and notes explaining which version was sent with which application), covering letters, advertisements for positions you have applied for, recruiter business cards and notes from any interviews.

 Engaging recruitment agencies

When you’re working with a recruitment agency, you usually have a dedicated contact to represent you who will specialise in your skill area and be the best person to support you. To work out which recruiter is working most effectively for you look at how they communicate – do they return your call and update you? Be wary of someone who never returns your calls or emails; they may be busy but they should always find the time to update you even if there is no news to share.

 Avoid double representation

When you’re working with multiple recruitment agencies, keeping yourself organised can help you avoid applying for the same position twice, through two different recruiters – this never goes down well and has been the downfall of many potential candidates. Always insist on an agency telling you who their client is - don’t accept “major retailer”. If one agency puts you forward for a position, keep this confidential unless a second agency asks if you want to be put forward for the same position – be honest, explaining that you’ve already been put forward.   

Engaging in-house recruiters

As well as through recruitment agencies it’s likely that you will apply for jobs directly with an organisation. A number of the same rules apply, but the main difference is that the contact will represent just one company and their main agenda will be to attract you there. The upside of this will be that they understand their company culture better than any agency recruiter can. However they will not be in a position to offer you either a range of possible positions or recommend one particular company based on an understanding of your own needs and career aspirations, as is the case with an agency recruiter.

 Happy searching!