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75 Tips for Finding and Landing a Job

By E. Mahony – spotlightideas.co.uk

Have put together some key words with some brief explanations for people to follow when applying for jobs in general (with a section, as well, on marketing jobs). Intended for both graduates and people with work experience.

GENERAL ADVICE

Research. Research thoroughly, the advertised job: the position, the company, the products, the marketplace, the competition, the customers, and so on (for interview / CV/resume, and for general application).
Stratey. Have an overall strategy / plan for your job hunting.
Open-minded approach. Have a strategy / plan. But be open-minded, flexible and open to opportunities, as well.
Get advice / mentor. Get advice from people in general but try and find someone quite specific to the role you would like to do, as well.
Be the Recruiter. Try and see things from the recruiter’s point-of view (for CV /resume / interview and general application).
Patience / Perseverance / Passion. Patience (getting the job you want, normally, doesn’t happen right away). Perseverance (don’t give up, and explore every opportunity) + Passion (or enthusiasm – enthusiasm will help you in how you approach your CV, perform in your interview as well as in general job-hunting approach).
Networking. Become good at networking in general (offline and online). It will help you a great deal in your job search. And it will impress potential employees, as well: employers like employees who are good at networking.
Over-qualified. Be careful about applying for jobs that you are clearly over-qualified for. ‘Over-qualified’ and the recruiter might well think you would soon get bored of the job. It won’t always be a case of ‘clearly over-qualified’: it very much depends on the company, position and recruiter. But it’s something to think about in the planning stage of your job search.
Under-qualified / inexperienced. See section ‘Advice for Graduates’ if you are a graduate and the recruiter says that you are under-qualified or too inexperienced for the position.
Job or Career? Are you applying for a job or a career? This all depends on the particular position, the company, the recruiter but it, also, depends on you – what you want out of this position. Something to think about in general.
Check, Check, Check. Little mistakes in your cover letter /CV and elsewhere often stand out, leaving big, negative, impressions. Check your job applications (including cover letters / CV etc) and get someone to have a look too, if you can. Check your appearance, as well, on day the of interview.
Use of Email. If you would like to send in a cover letter and CV via email, check first (don’t presume, although it is, increasingly, becoming more common to apply for jobs via email). Try and use a non-free email service (and avoid, at all costs, email services that includes ads – tacky). Avoid using email addresses with silly names.
Sense of humour. It’s a serious business finding a job but don’t lose your sense of humour over it. You’re not going to get far with a recruiter if you’re really intense and stressed out. Employers want people who are serious about their work but who are, also, optimistic and have a sense of fun.

ADVICE FOR GRADUATES – WORK EXPERIENCE

Why work experience? Great way of getting valuable, hands-on experience. The particular work placement could lead to a direct, full-time position.
How to get work experience? Send in a CV. Make the the CV stand out from others. Always send the CV to a specific person (with name and job title). Research their company and why you would like to work for them, and what you can offer them. Be patient. Follow up with a telephone call if you don’t hear back for a while. Don’t be pushy.
During work experience. Be enthusiastic. Do the jobs that others don’t want to do. Work hard but have fun. Try and get to know as many people as you can during the work placement (they could become useful contacts in future job search). *Please turn to section on CV for more information about CV and to the rest of this page for more information about job application in general.

ADVICE FOR GRADUATES – GENERAL

Being entrepreneurial.
Being entrepreneurial in approach has, of course, always been important / a great asset. But now more than ever owing to the way business has moved onto the web, and just the pressures of modern business life. Develop your entrepreneurial skills. For example, you could set up a blog and make some money with AdSense.
Gain some leadership experience. Do things in your free time that require some levels of responsibility / leadership skills i.e helping to organize and run a children’s summer camp.
Sales experience. Business is, ultimately, about selling products or services. You might not be going for a sales role, but some experience in sales will give your CV a more rounded look.
Do a variety of interesting things in free-time. Do lots of interesting things in your free time. Travel to far-flung places, for example – travel involves planning, decision-making, and sense-of-adventure.
Entrepreneurial / corporate type? Figure out whether you are the entrepreneurial or corporate type. And then gear your job-search towards this.

MOVING ON FROM LOSING A JOB. For most people losing a job can be a confidence-knocker. But often there is (or should be) no shame whatsoever in losing a job (especially in today’s economic climate). The job search can’t really begin properly until you’ve left all negative thoughts behind.

WHERE TO LOOK FOR JOBS – TRADITIONAL AREAS OF FOCUS

Job Boards
Newspaper / trade magazines
Recruitment agencies
Careers fairs
Companies’ visits to universities (Milkrounds)
Company websites
Network / contacts

WHERE TO LOOK FOR JOBS – SOCIAL MEDIA (or, rather, where people will coming looking for you)

Social Media – general. By having a social media presence on the web, employers can get to know what you know, what you’re like, and so on (and many of the best companies have people browsing the social media landscape for potential employees). It works best for people with some work experience. But can, also, work for graduates too.
Blog - Think of your blog as a kind of CV. The blog can give potential employers a good idea of what you know, what you’re like, how you communicate, and so on. Besides just posts / articles on your site, you can, also, include videos, podcasts, and more.
Twitter - For some great posts on using Twitter to find jobs read here, here
LinkedIn – Great post by Guy Kawasaki on using LinkedIn to get a job here

GENERAL SKILLS / ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO GET ACROSS

Here are some generic skills / accomplishments you want to get across (via CV, interview, references). Some are easier to get down on CV than others – ensure that all skills / accomplishments mentioned in CV and during interview are backed up with good, clear examples.

Just gets things done
Goes beyond what is expected
Team-work
Planning / organizational
Decision-making (and decision-making under pressure)
Problem-solving
Strategic-thinking
Open to new ideas / innovator
Able to manage self
Independent learner
Written and oral communication
Creates order out of disorderly situations

SPECIFIC SKILLS / ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Focus on including, with examples, the specific skills / accomplishments that are required for the job in your CV. But, also, think about these skills in general and the sort of discussion you might have about them with the interviewer.

COVER LETTER

Cover letter as Introduction. The cover letter is an introduction to your CV / yourself. Introduce yourself in a way that makes you stand out from other applicants (but not in a sensational / dramatic way) in a way that captures the interest of the recruiter (and makes them want to read your CV with interest).
Why applying. Say why you want to work in that position and in the company in general.
30 Seconds. A recruiter normally spends about 30 seconds reading a cover letter. They are normally good at reading quickly, but make their experience easier by making the cover letter easy for them to follow. So aim to make your cover letter no longer than it would take someone reading quickly to read your cover letter in around 30 seconds.

CV / RESUME

CV as advertisement
. Think of a CV as a kind of long copy advertisement. It should contain the right key words to grab recruiters’ attention (and for them to want to find out more about you). And like an advertisement the copy should be clear and concise. But for most jobs (exceptions can be made for some roles in advertising, for example), keep the CV business-like. There are lots of things you could do, and people have different ideas about the perfect CV, but here are a few general pointers:
1 Page. Generally a CV should be no longer than one page in length (exceptions for people with some years experience).
Avoid typos / misspellings
Active verbs. Like good story-tellers, use active verbs (‘I led’, ‘I exceeded’, ‘I created’) etc ..
Clear / concise use of language.
Flow to CV. Your CV should read as if there has been a plan (but don’t over do it) to your career.
Bullet points
Facts / examples
Focus on job position
Tailor CV to job

INTERVIEW

Apperance
. Dress appropriately (someone going for a job in an ad agency might well dress quite differently for someone going for a job in a bank). Tidy, clean clothes and appearance in general.
Prepare and Practice questions beforehand. Try and think of as many questions or possible discussions you could have with the interviewer and prepare for them by going over your answers in your head (or out loud if you like ..).
Be prepared for difficult questions. You won’t be able to prepare for all possible questions but you can prepare yourself so that you don’t appear stumped.
Don’t get defensive. A challenging question is an opportunity for you to deal with a difficult situation in a positive way.
Be human. Yes, of course, be professional. Demonstrate that you are a hard worker and competent. But be human too. You might be competent, professional, and so on, but can people work with you?
Use examples. Don’t just say, for example, ‘I am good under-pressure.’ Give an example of this.
Listen carefully (don’t just talk). Be conversational.
Don’t rush your answers. You’ll come out with a better answer, anyway, but, also it will demonstrate that you are a thinker, and a thinker under pressure, too. Don’t procrastinate / don’t take too long either ..
Answer the question. Don’t digress (don’t answer yes / no either – unless asked ..).
Slow down. It’s easy to talk too quickly during interviews because of nerves. Slow down.
Be yourself. It won’t take them long to tell you’re acting. But act professional as well.
Be calm. Be calm (but alert and enthusiastic). Don’t let your nerves take over.
Contribute. The interview is, ultimately, about how you are going to make life easier for people in the company, and improve the company’s prospects, in general. It’s ultimately about how you could contribute to the company.
Pen and Paper. Bring in a pen and a note pad (even if you don’t use it).
Eye-contact. Keep eye-contact, in a respectful way.
Enthusiastic. Be enthusiastic (not over-the-top) and be interested in what your interviewer says.
Will he/she fit into the company culture? – this is at back at interviewer’s mind during interview.
Demonstrate that you would be able to get into the job quickly
Post Interview ‘thank-you’ letter

SPECIFIC ADVICE FOR PEOPLE LOOKING FOR MARKETING / ONLINE MARKETING / ADVERTISING JOBS

In considering the below points, remember that marketing covers a broad range of positions, companies, brands, and consumers (so the approach to a position as an advertising copywriter, for example, might be quite different to a position as a marketing executive in a B2B / financial company).

Stand out from the crowd
. You could say the same for practically all jobs but in marketing, and in particular advertising and online marketing there is the opportunity to demonstrate this in the application process. For example, you could publish a blog.
Linear / lateral thinker. Recruiters, in particular in advertising / branding, like people who are good at both linear and lateral thinking. Give examples of how you are good at both linear and lateral thinking, and prepare for a discussion on this topic for interview.
Learn about social media. Learn about social media (better, do social media) whether you want to work as a social media specialist or not. Social media is becoming an essential tool of business in general. People in marketing should certainly know more about it than others.
Be, thoroughly, aware of old marketing versus new marketing. In a nutshell, old marketing is about telling / pushing your views onto others. New marketing is about really listening to what audiences want, having a discussion, attracting/inviting potential audiences to what you have to say.
Forget the glamour. Marketing / advertising / PR is hard work. In most cases ‘glamour’ only comes into it in a very small way.

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3 Comments

  1. Great tips and resource! May I add #76?

    Check out http://www.getbacktoworkfaster.com

    Complimentary Book Download (pdf) on job creation strategies. This new book provides insights that help you accomplish all the things on this comprehensive list.

  2. All great advice. I’d like to add a bit to the work experience bit. Having been on both sides of that fence, I noticed that these days graduates are finding it hard to get into work placements because staff in companies these days have work stacked to the celiing and have no time to guide the intern. The only alternative would be to remember that there is none, and to send out or call as many companies as humanly possible, but remembering not to simply copy and paste the CV/Cover letter but to treat the work placement just as you would an interview for a real job. Tailor your cv/cover letter and do a bit of research on the company that you’re applying to get your work experiece from

  3. What worked for me was cold calling every single design firm in my area. I got one positive response that lead to a bunch of work, but I’m not sure what I’d have done if that didn’t work out.

    I’d suggest that any recent graduates remain light on their feet and ready to move to where the jobs are.

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