It’s that one word that makes us moan and groan about having one or not having one. It brings a cuss word on Monday mornings and makes you feel like you deserve that cold beer on a Friday night. You know what I am talking about. Yes…a Job.

These days, the general topic of conversation is that it is a lot harder to find one of these bad boys. The rejects can come in various shapes and forms from you don’t have the right qualification, the experience blah, blah, blah. Instead of focusing on the negatives I want to help focus on the positives to help you look for and apply for the right jobs and feel a bit more positive on your next set of applications. I am going to assume at this point that you already have your CV and covering letter at the ready.  A lot of companies won’t read the application without a covering letter so do not underestimate this. Always keep one drafted ready to use.

Searching for Jobs is kind of like fishing in a big lake. There are other lakes, ponds and rivers to choose from (metaphors for search engine or method) and being honest you will never really know which place to look is the best one you just have to pick one and give it a go. If you don’t find the kinds of jobs you really like in one lake go to a different one. Hopefully you will get a bite, from big fish, little fish or an old rusty tin can but hopefully you can work your way up to eventually catch your own Moby Dick.

Firstly let me start by saying the more jobs you apply for the more success you will have. If you think for one second that by applying for 5 jobs you will hopefully have some luck. No think again you need to be applying for 30, 40, 50 as many as you can possibly find.  The more you apply for the more chances you will have.  That is just simple mathematics.

Secondly, the criteria for the jobs and don’t worry too much if you don’t meet all of the criteria. I hear far too many people saying I didn’t apply for this job or that job because I couldn’t match all of the criteria. Let the company decide for you rather than deciding for them. I will let you into a little secret. If you can do probably at least 75% of the job there is always still a good chance for you. Most companies these days of course like we all do want to get value for money, so naturally want to look for the candidate that can do all of the above and more. The truth of the matter is though most of the applicants they will receive may not meet the huge list of criteria either. Better to try and let the company decide rather than decide for the company and not apply at all. The more you think about your application the more transferrable skills you will find that you have focus on the positives and what you can rather than what you can’t.

On searching for a role try to be as open minded as possible and don’t limit yourself. Searching under Admin will open your search to Admin roles in various departments rather than just HR Admin or Marketing Admin. Searching under a broader range might be more time consuming but it could also open opportunities.

On applying for the job try and amend your CV and Cover letter to make it as relevant as possible for the role you are applying for. It will show interest and that you have actually thought about your application.

These days recruiters and employers tend to advertise with agencies. The main reason is based on the competition, so many applicants apply for the same job and the agencies help to forward those that are the most relevant candidates for the role. Most recruiters use agencies these days in order to assist in sorting out the most relevant candidates, rather than doing it in house. Unfortunately this does mean that sometimes the agency might not believe you are right for the role but you have the right to request that they forward your details to be given a chance like everyone else. Once you establish a connection with one agency and they are aware you are currently seeking employment they may be able to call you in the future for any relevant roles that they might come across. You may find the job comes to you. The bigger your “networking” to different agencies the more chances you will have. I do stress though that you shouldn’t wait for the role to come to you because even recruitment suffers peaks and troughs.

My main advice though is do not count on anyone to search for jobs for you. Agencies are good to go to help and you might get lucky in them having jobs you can apply for, they also have temporary jobs in order to make a start and get a foot in to gain some relevant experience, if you find that you are struggling with more permanent roles. They will put a good word to the recruiter to help you get that start on the career ladder. I have been placed by a couple of agencies however I do not call it luck. I call it hours of searching and applying for jobs. A wise man once told me that you have to create your own luck. It is true. Establishing a rapport with different people and agencies is a good thing. I have been called before now regarding roles so it can work sometimes but if you are after something in particular you have to be strong, positive and push for it yourself by applying for the roles. Requesting the agencies to submit your CV even if they don’t think you’re relevant. You have to make it happen for yourself.

I know it is easier said than done however don’t feel deflated by rejection or none responses. Though I don’t think it is fair that we don’t get responses when we spend so much of our time applying for jobs it is the way of the recruitment process these days. The reason for the none responses is that recruiters and agencies could have 100’s of applications for one role and there it isn’t time enough to reply to everyone however I feel the same way and more so when you can spend a long time on application it would be nice to know why and what you can work on for your future applications. The best thing is to realise that on the majority of your applications you may not hear anything back if you are unsuccessful so it is best not to dwell too much or feel too disheartened  on anything you apply for just keep applying and know that eventually you will get a call back.

I know what you are thinking. Who are you to tell me this and what do you know about recruitment. I have spent the last 5 years in HR so unfortunately I am the one sent the rejection letter. Due to similar frustrations I always made a conscious effort to reply to everyone who applied. However working in a global organisation I can understand how it would be difficult to reply to 100’s of applications. And sometimes it is not possible. As a recruiter I have used agencies to help recruit for temporary and permanent roles if I didn’t get the right people for the role I was recruiting for. They have wider exposure to applicants, they have more applicants on their books and get CV’s quickly.  I have also used agencies as a candidate when looking to change roles and also had temporary contracts where I have had to look for another role. So I have sat on both sides of the fence and I have been resourceful and persistent enough to have not been unemployed despite, redundancy and fixed term contracts. The above approach and constant positivity is the reason. True I also have experience but I had to start somewhere. How d I start somewhere? I applied anyway.

Another wise man also told me there is no such thing as bad job. Also very true. You need to pay your way and any job can give you a set of transferable skills. It also shows you are dependable, reliable, a good time keeper, responsible and willing to learn. See what I did? Transferrable skills.

It is by no means easy. It is competitive, it is exhausting and you may need to attend several interviews. This is just the first step. I know you can do it.

Good luck and Happy Fishing