New Year, new job: top job search tips for 2018

Getting a new job is a very exciting time, as it enables you to take the step in your career. Not only will a new role in a new company give you the opportunity to develop both new and existing skills, but it could also allow you to familiarise yourself with a different sector to the ones you’ve already worked in, or take on additional responsibilities.

Each of these are essential for helping you to progress to a higher level in your chosen career path, or even begin a new career completely!

So, why is the New Year one of the best times to get a new job? For starters, it’s a time when many companies will have new budgets in place to hire additional employees, and many hiring managers will want to get started with this task as soon as possible after the restful Christmas period, as this will ensure the right people are in place before any major projects have gone underway.

However, before you go sprucing up your CV and scouring the job boards, the first thing you need to do is to assess whether it’s actually the right time and the best option for you to move to a new job. Ask yourself this; if you want to move to a new job to progress to a higher level in your career, are their equal chances to progress in your current role? Can any changes be made to the business, your role, or your working environment that would change your mind about accepting an offer for a new job in a different company?

According to a 2017 study by ADP Research Institute, UK workers are happy to change jobs for an average pay rise of 10%, which is lower than the European average of 12%. With this being lower than the rest of Europe, you should consider if you could receive the same pay increase from your current company before you decide to make a move, as well as weigh up whether this pay increase is worth the risk of taking on more difficult responsibilities, and leaving a job and company where you may have a very strong relationship with your current manager.

Jon Michail, Founder and Group CEO of Image Group International, a corporate and personal brand advisory and coaching organization, says: “There are many perfectly valid reasons why people decide to leave a job’ long commutes, a nasty co-worker, workplace politics, and a change in personal circumstances will all take their toll. Sadly, the reason may simply be that they feel trapped in a dead-end job that seems to be taking them nowhere. Some employees find it hard to articulate the reasons why they want to leave, and only that they feel depressed, unappreciated and stale.

“Monotony can have a deadly effect, even on skilled employees being rewarded with a decent pay cheque. Another frequently mentioned reason is a lack of challenge or career advancement within the company. Some other vital warning signs that should be considered are that you hate getting out of bed knowing you have to go to work. you tell people things like, ‘if it wasn’t for the money…’, and your health and home life is suffering because of the impact of work problems.”

If you’ve weighed up each argument and still want to change jobs, then you before you start your job search, you need to determine what you’re looking for in a new role. This should be in terms of salary expectations, location, role type (or title) and responsibilities, as well as opportunities for progression, although you’ll need to be realistic when setting these benchmarks! This is essential for improving your success rate when sending out applications, as well as ensuring you don’t waste your time applying for the wrong roles for you.

Now that you’ve determined what you want from a new job in the New Year, what should you do to improve your job search in 2018?

Set a timescale for your job search

Before starting your job search, you need to accept that getting a new job won’t be a fast process, so don’t get disheartened if you find yourself waiting for a response. In fact, sometimes it can take up to 2-3 months to receive an offer after initially sending off your application for a role!

There are many things that can slow down the hiring process, such as finetuning job specifications, ensuring enough people applied for and have been interviewed for each role, and having first and second interview stages for successful applications. This is especially true in the New Year, as this is a particularly hectic time for managers that are allocating new budgets, setting new targets, and implementing new marketing plans, as well as thinking about new hires.

One way to speed up the hiring process, however, is to stick to a suitable timescale when applying for vacancies. For example, you should follow-up after each interview with a thank you email, and this is best sent within a few hours of the interview; this helps to further illustrate your interest in the position, and should increase your likelihood of receiving a definite ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Sarina Russo, Managing Director at Sarina Russo Job Access, also agrees you should act early in your job search. As she explains: “Time-poor employers tend to hire the first suitable applicant they come across.” To stand out from the crowd, she advises: “Highlight your commitment to broaden your industry skill set through further education and training and Demonstrate your employability and soft skills throughout the recruitment process, such as teamwork, communication, emotional control and resilience.”

Alternatively, if you find you’re unsuccessful at the interview stage, you should promptly ask the interviewer for feedback. This could prove very valuable for future applications, and if you ask for it early, your interview will still be firmly in their mind. This ensures that they don’t forget any vital details, so you’ll receive the most relevant feedback possible.

Use multiple channels to aid your job search

When most of us are looking for a new job, we head straight to the most popular job boards (such as Indeed, Monster, TotalJobs, and Reed). Although these are useful, jobs advertised here receive a lot of applications, and it can be very competitive to ensure you stand out from the crowd! As a result, you should be supplementing this by using other channels to apply for jobs.

One great way to search for jobs in 2018 and beyond will be through social media platforms, such as LinkedIn. Not only are there around 3 million active job listings on LinkedIn, but many recruiters and hiring managers admit to using the platform to source candidates for jobs, and you can ensure you’re firmly in the running by enabling LinkedIn’s new feature, which alerts recruiters that you’re looking for a new job. This means that it’s especially vital to have an employer-friendly profile, and this can be ensured by having a professional photo, and that your key skills and achievements are listed on your profile.

Stephen Handisides, from Modern Male Mindset, says: “Watch your social media. Prospective employers and business contacts are very likely to ‘Google you’ and if all they find is pictures of you drunk and acting inappropriately, it isn’t going to look good. Set all your social media accounts to private, but create a professional LinkedIn account and professional Facebook page for work only. Never say something on the internet (through social media, blogs or comment sections) that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. It’s there forever!”

Steve Pritchard, Founder of Cuuver.com, adds: “Thanks to the digital age, we have more platforms than ever to keep updated with when it comes to job hunting. Although this can mean scrolling through a lot of information, across a variety of websites, it means there is more opportunity for companies to advertise and further help for your job search. Many companies nowadays advertise roles on Twitter, in particular, sharing a link to a job advert. So, if you do find a relevant job post to apply for, remember to mention that you found the job on social media; this shows you’ve thought outside the box and really taken an interest in a specific company.

You shouldn’t remain complacent, however, and wait for hiring managers to find you; you should also be connecting with any that work for businesses you’re interested in, as well as engaging with the content they post on a regular basis. This will help to keep you firmly in their mind if a suitable role were to become available within their company.

Corey Batt, Director at Adelaide Broker advises: “As an employer, I’ve found the biggest success in hiring through people referred to me by colleagues, other staff, or through third party referrers (ie recruitment specialists). With stats showing that a huge amount of jobs are not publicly advertised, going through these other pathways can get you onto roles which may not otherwise be advertised, or get you onto them before other candidates. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, colleagues and anyone else in your personal network – people who know of jobs coming up aren’t going to know you’re looking or interested unless you tell them!”

Another way you can get ahead in your job search is by using a recruitment agency, such as Bowen Eldridge. Often, companies will have a great relationship with the recruitment agencies they work with, and you’ll hear about roles before they’re advertised on the main job boards. Recruiters can also provide great support during the process, by giving you valuable advice when putting together your CV and preparing for interviews, and they can source helpful feedback on your applications.

Paul Di Michiel Owner of The Career Medic, works in the career transition space, supporting those whose jobs have been impacted by helping them find their next role. He also advises candidates to partner with recruiters, and says: “Get introductions, meet them, explain what you’re looking for (in terms of a role), and then stay in contact with them. Not only could this lead to a job, but just as importantly, recruiters can provide market information on salaries, skills in demand, how to build an effective resume, and tips on how to interview, amongst other things.”

Kerri O’Connor from Saunders Lynn & Co, has 18 years of recruitment experience and advises: “my biggest tip is get on the phone and introduce yourself. Ask a great question about the role, the location, access to public transport links, parking on site, and the product the company has to offer. Put a smile on your face so I can hear it through the phone; happy people get hired!

“In recent years, less and less people ring the recruiter to introduce themselves and confirm they are super excited about the job and why. Also, every time you speak to a recruiter or HR person, ask them if there was one thing they’d change/improve on your resume what would it be? You may get some conflicting advice, but take what makes sense to you and make the changes.”

Update your cover letter and CV

Although recruiters are on hand to give you guidance on how to spruce up your CV before applying for job vacancies, there are a few quick and easy changes you can make to ensure your application stands out from the crowd, and that it doesn’t just end up left at the bottom of the pile forgotten!

firstly, you should ensure CV and cover letter is tailored to each type of role you apply for (and that you incorporate relevant keywords from the job advert, though this should be done as naturally and authentically as possible). Sandra Karamitelios, Senior Recruiter at Recruitment Central, advises: “One of my top job search tips is to have an easy to follow resume that clearly outlines your skills using keywords as the start of a sentence. As an example: ‘System Streamlining – reviewed all admin processes across the reception area, streamlined manual processes to save in excess of 8 hours per week. This extra time allowed for cross training into our customer service team.'”

Additionally, a trend to look out for in 2018 is shorter and shorter CVs and cover letters. As a general rule, your CV should only be two pages long, because this avoids busy hiring managers losing interest and moving into the next application before they finish reading yours. To keep yours short and sweet, list only your most recent and relevant qualifications, and take out any old or irrelevant work history; if you’re applying for a role in accounting, your old paper round might not need to be included (no matter how great of a job you did!).

However, you still need to shout about the (relevant) achievements you’re most proud of! This is something that Sally Arnold, the author of Creating Encores, emphasises the importance of in her book. She says: ” I specialise as a coach in Creative thinking for business people who are stuck in careers. I turn around their career challenges using my expertise from a lifetime as a musician and manager at the Australian ballet business team. To help people get out of ‘stuckness’, I leverage their skills in new exciting ways they have never thought about. I call it 3D glasses, because what do you miss if you go to a 3D movie without putting on these glasses?

“Did you know that we somehow forget much of our life’s challenges and successes? I’m constantly asking clients to tell me more about their achievements, yet it’s like amnesia happens around these experiences! Aren’t we meant to celebrate them and include these ‘wins’ in our life’s story? Of course we are! Most women (and men!) forget times when they’ve had success, yet when they dig deep they find that these stories are powerful and important reminders of what they’ve achieved. ”

This is something that should also be carried over into interviews. She also writes: “be reminded of your ‘gold star’ moments and reframe your challenges with new eyes; recall long forgotten resources that worked for you; inspire yourself so that you can move into challenging situations with confidence. These methods worked in the past – do not forget them.”

Want more help finding a new job in the New Year? Contact Bowen Eldridge Recruitment today.