Have you have been made redundant or lost your job, or just been in a situation where you need to find a job as soon as possible? Whichever of those situations that you might have been in I’m sure you will understand the pressures that come to the forefront of your mind particular because you’ve got bills to pay or you have a family to support. Or both!
I remember being made redundant at around the time of the financial crisis and although it did really hit my confidence for a long time, it also made me think what next, I knew that I had to get straight back on the horse as soon as possible. Not least because I had a mortgage to pay and other bills to boot. But I was not ready just to accept any other job and my training in recruitment meant that I had the tools and wherewithal to pull myself through.
I knew that I could write a good CV and tailor it to each opportunity that suited my skills in fact during my early professional career – before I got into recruitment – my job applications had been all about my CV and spent all my time and effort getting it right. I neglected the other vital touch points and tactics or didn’t put as much effort into getting them right.
Think Poisitive by Remembering Achievements
One of the first things I did was to try to relax my mind and have some thinking time to myself, but it was time well spent because the purpose was to really think about what I had achieved over the preceding years.
And I didn’t do this just to massage my ego, well, maybe just a little bit because it was much needed. I was at a low ebb and I needed to remind myself how good I was at my job and how valuable I am in terms of skill that I have to offer future employers. So I got my CV in front of me and I began to look through all the professional roles that I had and for each role I cast my mind back to think about specific tangible achievements. At this point I didn’t discriminate I just noted down as many achievements and positive outcomes as I could think of (regardless of scale) so it became a brain dump for later refinement.
And it was a massive help to build my spirit and boost my confidence because it helped me to remember pivotal points of my career and milestones that I knew I could build upon and begin to sell to future employers whilst building my career in the direction that I wanted to take it.
And it was around about that time that I thought to myself let me keep a record of my achievements so that if I’m ever in a situation like this again all I need to do is pick up my record of achievement and read it. And to this day I keep a record of my achievements as a running list even though there’s no imminent threat of redundancy or job loss. But at the time of my redundancy I found that the record of achievement was really useful for selecting achievements to slot into my CV and applications.
Don’t rely on recruitment consultants
By the time of my imminent redundancy I had been in the world of recruitment for about four or five years so I knew the inner workings really well. And that put me in good stead because I knew that I could not simply rely on recruitment consultants to find my next job. That’s because recruiters get a limited percentage of the jobs in the market that I was targeting. So I set about making long lists of around 100 or so employers that I wanted to work for with the intention of contacting each and every one of them.
I was also precise and deliberate in terms of the recruiters that I targeted to help me with my job search because I knew I was likely to get better results if I targeted recruiters who were niche specific and worked at a senior level. As opposed to working with generalist recruiters or a very green or junior recruitment consultant who was learning the ropes.
My experience of dealing with jobseekers is that many of them will send in CV after CV and email after email applying to jobs without making the effort to call or enquire about their application. I knew that this was a big mistake because more often than not we would remember the candidates who called in and they often got to the front of the queue of jobseekers for a particular application. So I made it my goal to build a really good relationship with a select few niche recruiters and keep in touch with them on a regular basis without annoying them.
Target different job search streams
This was truly one tactic that really boosted my job search and volume of applications and interviews that I was able to get. I know that many people don’t follow this simple principle and it’s a big mistake that I hope you’re not making! It’s something that requires a lot of time and effort (which in itself explains why many people avoid doing).
What is it? Well it’s searching for jobs across at least three key job search streams….
… the first stream being applying to jobs that are direct match to your skills,
……the second stream of applications should be to jobs that are either an indirect or close match to your skill set,
…..and the third stream is what I call ‘experimental’ in that is potentially a new field or niche. Bear in mind that the experimental applications are likely to yield few responses so I apportioned my efforts to the first two streams and sent out a smaller portion of experimental applications to avoid wasting time. But when you consider that I was targeting 3 niche skill areas across various industries like financial services, travel and tourism, FMCG etc, you can begin to see how the amount of opportunities that were available to me soon opened up. I eventually drew up a massive list of companies from several industries as potential targets
One of the key skill niches that I targeted was the online marketing space because I knew that there was a growing trend and need for people with online marketing skills that was set to grow in the coming years. I’d been skilling up in this area too by attending courses and learning new skills.
I also knew that travel and tourism was a worthwhile industry to target despite the fact that we were in the midst of a global financial crisis. And so my instincts and research into burgeoning job roles and markets proved to be spot on because to this day I still receive umpteen calls and emails from recruiters and employers who require people with online marketing and search engine optimisation skills.
I used the Internet and social media to source opportunities
Not only is it important to source opportunities that cover the breadth of your skill set and within several relevant industry areas, but it is also crucial to utilise both modern and traditional methods to research and network with potential suitors.
At the time I was using LinkedIn on a day-to-day basis to research and network with people online particularly clients and potential jobseekers so I knew how important it was for me to begin to optimise my LinkedIn profile so that I could get headhunted online and ensure that my other online profiles were professional and approachable.
Now, admittedly it did take quite some time to get my on line profiles to the point where I was being contacted by recruiters and employers but nonetheless I invested the time and effort to embed keywords that related to my job search targets. But the investment in time and effort has been completely vindicated because my LinkedIn profile is now an invaluable staging point for my networking activity and I received a consistent pipeline of calls from people interested in talking to me about various opportunities. I received 70+ messages per week from recruiters and employers at my peak.. and my CV was the Icing on the cake!
I also used a combination of niche in generalist job boards to submit my tailor-made CV and again this proved to be worth the effort. I used the niche job boards to search for niche recruiters and submitted a highly optimised and tailored CV to each niche job board. And again I had a great pipeline of opportunities and calls particular from niche recruitment consultants. I kept a check on the job boards and sources of best opportunities and found I had to remove my CV from certain job boards because they were not delivering results I required or I was simply receiving too many calls!
I sent out hundreds of tailored emails
The first few weeks of my redundancy were really tough and it was a real slog to put all my tactics into action. But having been on the other side of the fence I knew that the only way I was going to open up the sorts of opportunities I wanted, was by customising each and every application I made. That included writing hundreds of unique emails to accompany my CV and cover letter applications. I knew from personal experience that I was often more compelled to read emails of people who had gone to the trouble of tailoring and personalising their application so I carried this through when I began my own job search and it worked wonders.
I had support to keep me on track
As I said before being made redundant can be a real kick in the guts and I was grateful that I had support, guidance from my family and peers. And it was thanks to this support that I was able to get through what was really a low point of my life and avoid quitting. Having accountability spurred me on because I didn’t want to let anyone down and the people around me gave me strength to carry on. Don’t get me wrong I’m resilient by nature but the outside support helped push me over the line at times when I was feeling really low.
I can be quite stubborn times and there are occasions in my life where I felt that I can do certain things alone and that I didn’t require any help. But believe you me that help and support can go a long way to alleviating the burden and stress that you’re likely to undergo when you’re looking for a job having lost your job or having been made redundant.
I Used My Secret ‘Weapon’
Central to my approach was the fact that I crafted a relevant, themed and consistent CV for each of my applications and the email went a long way to introducing what was an interview winning campaign. I’ve taught many people the practical and theoretical steps on how to optimise their CV and I released a course that I regularly update to make sure that it contains the latest techniques to entice recruiters and employers. I’ll tell you more about it as we go through this email course because I think it could benefit you to because I’ve organised it into units that correspond with key sections of the CV and the entire course is much quicker to complete than a 100+ page book on how to write a CV. However I think it’s important for you to finish this course first so you can understand the work and effort required to really boost your job search and get the volume of interviews required to finally get the career of your choice.