Been laid off? Desperate for a job? Don’t just apply for anything!

If you’ve just been made redundant or have been unemployed for a while, then you’ll be keen to get yourself back into the employment market and have a wage coming in. But that doesn’t mean you should just apply for anything with the expectation that because you have had a more senior or better paid role, you’ll find it easy to get another job.

Many individuals expect to be snapped up by employers seeking roles which are often considered menial such as administrators or retail assistants. The fact is that recruiters want candidates that have experience in the role for which they are hiring. If you have spent the last 10 years of your life as a marketing manager then you are not going to be favourably considered as a retail assistant in your local supermarket. The recruiter is going to see that you are desperate and expect that your heart would not be in the role, and it would not be long before you were out the door again after another role in marketing.

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So if you need a job quickly, what should you do?

The first rule is to work out what your skills are. If the local firms aren’t hiring the job roles that you are suited to then you either need to widen your search area or take a look at your current skills and think about your option.

Work out what skills you have gained in the roles you have carried out, ideally limiting it to the past five years. It may be that you have considerable experience in HR or another role which you hadn’t thought about, but you could be favourably considered for.

Think about your qualifications

Very few of us want to go back to school, but if you’re thinking of changing your career then you should also consider whether any further qualifications will be required. Perhaps you have a head for numbers and have been helping out in the accounts office for years and could apply for accounting roles. Show willing to learn by at least starting an accounting course before applying for these roles and the recruiter will see that even if you don’t have all of the required experience, that you are keen to learn and committed to the career. The last thing a manager wants is to fill a vacancy with a candidate that will leave them 6 months later to find something they really want to do.

It may be that the employer will sponsor you to complete courses if you have no experience and you seem the best candidate, but as noted above it always looks more promising if a candidate has demonstrated they want the career by starting courses themselves. Depending on the type of course you are looking for, assistance in paying for courses could be available from various sources including the Job Centre or Grants. Make sure you do lots of research to find out about possible funding before you commit.

Network, network, network

Getting yourself out there and letting people know that you are interested in finding a job in a particular career is the key to finding a job quickly. The more people you talk to, the more likely you are to find someone who knows of a vacancy that might suit you. While looking for a job, and particularly in a crowd of people that may be able to offer you opportunities it is important that you maintain a professional demeanour. That means don’t drink or lose your cool.

If you don’t know any people in person that can help you out then get yourself on LinkedIn or other social media and make some introductions. Find some forums and talk to people about the position and your prospects. Many professionals are happy to help out individuals who seem keen and you might even be able to get yourself some volunteer work while you are searching so that you can get hands of experience.

Volunteering is an excellent way to make yourself known to companies also. If a recruiter can put a face to a CV then they are more likely to seek out your application and call you back for an interview. You’ll also have an advantage over other applicants as you will have a better understanding of the job requirements and therefore what the recruiter will be looking for.

Keep smiling

Whatever your circumstances, a recruiter is only going to want to hire someone that they know they can get on with. If you are miserable throughout the interview, or give off a negative vibe in your job applications then you won’t get far. So even if you’re having the worst week of your life, make sure you paint on a smile on your face for the interview and give out positive comments on your CV even if you are asked about your previous employer and you hold a grudge. The last thing an employer wants to hear is how you feel you have been hard done by your old boss.

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