There comes a time in everyone’s life when they reach a certain point in their careers and look for a new challenge, however taking the plunge can bedaunting.

Today Ian Dunn, Branch Manager for our Preston branch, offers some helpful tips in the Lancashire Evening Post on what to do when preparing for the next step in your career.

When it comes to looking for a new job, your first thoughts should be, how can I be found? How will anyone know I’m available for work? And how can I find out about job vacancies?

Registering your details with a reputable recruitment agency is an obvious place to start – on their website you should be able to submit your details easily, which will ensure you’re in ‘the system’.  But don’t leave it there, it’s advisable to pop into your local branch or give them a call; building a relationship with the agency, and with a Recruitment Consultant directly helps to keep you on their radar for new opportunities.

Remember to visit their website regularly to see the latest job opportunities, and follow them on social media to ensure you get alerts immediately for available vacancies.

There are also plenty of other on-line options to explore such as on-line job boards, which are a useful tool for job-seekers. If you register on a job board like CV Library or Reed (among others), you will also be visible to recruiters, and so they’ll be able to find you easily when looking for applicants.

However, it’s not enough to just sign up and relax, make sure you also utilise your job boards for alerts - you can set up emails to tell you about vacancies so you don’t have to constantly keep tabs, and you can arrange the recruitment agencies and job board Twitter handles into a list so you don’t miss anything.

Basically, with a little time spent up front, you’ll have the online tools doing a lot of the leg-work promoting your CV for you and alerting you to vacancies.

So what to do once you’ve found a job you’re interested in? No matter what industry you work in, your CV sells you to a prospective employer. It is simple to get right but it is staggering how many people get it wrong. Here are some simple steps for your CV to tick the right boxes:

  • Ensure that it contains your top selling points, includes relevant experience, your key skills and elements of your personality.
  • CVs are an ideal way of getting across your career aspirations and goals; make sure you spend time on getting this right.
  • If applicable, be sure your CV has around 10 years’ employment history, with any gaps in employment explained, and is no more than two pages long.
  • Adapt your CV to every job you apply for – one size does not fit all.
  • Avoid spelling mistakes – use spell-check; make sure it is grammatically correct. If in doubt, ask someone else to proof it.
  • Make sure your social media profile supports your CV.

Social media tips

The growth in social media over recent years means employers can find out a bit about you before they even meet you. Either review your on-line privacy options or refrain from posting anything damaging or inappropriate.

  • Ensure that there is nothing on your on-line profiles that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.
  • Use Twitter to network yourself; tweet / re-tweet industry-related posts, follow potential employers, recruitment agencies and job boards, to help demonstrate your interest in a particular career choice.
  • Use a LinkedIn account as an extension of your CV – it provides an opportunity for you to elaborate on your skills, achievements and ideas, whereas a CV doesn’t provide enough space. Keep your profile current and up-to-date whilst securing recommendations and endorsements, and importantly, use a professional picture – your potential employer doesn’t need to see a picture of you on the beach!

Our final tip is to follow up!  If you’ve applied for a role you believe you are suitable for and haven’t heard back, follow up by e-mail or telephone. 

So, if you’re planning to see what job opportunities there may be out there for you, there’s no time like the present to get yourself organised – remember, for that ideal job you’ll be competing against many others, so you want to be sure you’re prepared.

Ian Dunn joined Acorn in 2009 – he is Branch Manager for Acorn’s Preston Branch, situated on Fox Street.

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