How to get a new job in 2018
As an active recruiter (I am the owner of HIREghana, www.HIREgh.com ), my associates and I – we have frequently witnessed a lot of candidates doing a few mistakes here and there with their jobhunting activities.
Here is a simple set of tips to help you get a new job in 2018, please.
#1 Upgrade your CV.
Yes, that simple! Make sure please that your CV is relevant (to the job that you are applying for) and up-to-date. Keep its length if possible under 2 pages; rarely, you might be ‘excused’ for using 3 pages (I am not going into the argument that Academic CVs need more than 3 pages- no, they don’t). Remember ‘less is more’, so go for quality and not for quantity. Or as Americans like to say: “‘keep it short and sweet’.
Also, please make sure that if you insist in using an objective section of your CV (I personally don’t recommend it), that is relevant to the job you are applying; i.e. if it is a job in Accounting (and assuming that you are qualified to apply) your objective shouldn’t be that you want to become eventually a Child Psychologist (yes, this is a real example from a candidate that we had).
And don’t forget to customize your CV to the job announcement that you are responding too. The times of having ‘just one CV for all jobs’ are in the distant past.
Finally, make sure that your CV is ATS (Applicant Tracking System) friendly.
#2 Update your LinkedIn Profile.
Yes, if you are a shortlisted candidate, we recruiters do look at it. Also, a lot of time we use LinkedIn to ‘find’ you or get in touch with you.
So, it is essential that your LinkedIn Profile is an ‘All Star’ profile, as LinkedIn themselves ‘call it’, and that it is in synch with your CV.
Besides looking for keywords that match a role, we look carefully at which skills you have listed for endorsements and also at the number of connections that you have.
Btw, a golden rule about number of endorsements per skill is 10% of your total network (i.e. if you have financial accounting as a skill and have a network of 720 people, ideally a minimum of 72 of your connections should have endorsed you for that skill.
#3 Use a Cover Email (ok, Cover Letter)
Don’t be lazy- always send a cover letter (also known as motivational letter) when you submit your CV. It does make a difference, especially if you are applying for a role that you are not 100% qualified or when you are looking for a career change.
Please note: The Cover Letter is nowadays the ‘text-body’ of your email and not a separate document to be attached to your email – this is a very bad practice. The whole idea behind the Cover Letter is to entice the Recruiter to click, open and look/ read your CV; so, keep it simple please. Actually, they should be called ‘Cover Emails’ instead of Cover Letters.
Finally, a lot of Recruiters consider your Cover Letter as a sample of your communication skills. Some Corporate Recruiters will even go to the extreme and think:
No Cover Letter = No Communication Skills!
#4 ‘MOOC’ yourself up.
In 2018, there are so many good MOOCs and a lot of them cost nothing for you to attend/ follow. So, besides lack of motivation, you have no valid excuse for not updating and /or ‘sharpening up’ your current skillset with some fresh knowledge.
Google please Coursera, edX, NovoEd, FutureLearn, etc.
#4a Diversify your chosen MOOCs.
Don’t take 50 MOOCs in Mechanical Engineering if you are one; improve on your soft skills: business writing, conflict management (you can’t avoid conflict at the workplace), time management, working in a team, planning / scheduling, etc…
Btw, an advanced PowerPoint or Excel w/ Macros course never killed anyone.
#5 Go prepared to your interviews.
Let me give you a real example. A couple of months ago we have a Lady candidate applying for a Social Media vacancy with zero experience on that field. This is what Maame actually did:
She had a strong clear Cover Letter, relevant, focused and to the point, that convinced us to consider her as a candidate and invite her for a pre-screening interview. It was hard not to ‘fall in love’ with that Cover Letter of hers; we did and do did the client.
Meanwhile, she showed initiative by taking a few relevant MOOCs.
She also spent time googling the company that she had the scheduled interview with
She also googled things like ‘current changes in social media’, ‘challenges/ issues in advertising companies’ (the client is an advertising company), etc.
Finally, Maame did carefully ‘craft’ / prepare a set of 5-7 excellent questions for her interview with the client. These were questions that showed her understanding of the role, the company and the industry it was in, and the challenges the company and the job-holder were to face.
She was the one who got the job and not any of the other 4 qualified & experienced candidates that were interviewed by the client.
#6 Let people know that you are job-hunting.
Simply reach out please to your professional network, friends, family, ex-classmates or ex- colleagues; church- members and neighbours too.
Let them know that you are looking. Ask them for advice and help – but never for a job.
According to a 2015 study (by iCIMS – a recruitment software company), they found out that nearly a quarter of newly hired employees stemmed from referrals.
#7 Don’t let a JD discourage you
When someone writes a JD (Job Description), they list all skills and attributes describing the ideal, the perfect candidate. But that perfect candidate, s/he might not exist.
With a few common-sense exemptions (e.g. they want a Lady to sell cosmetics for example), if you realistically think that you can do that job, fine-tune your CV to show the relevant & transferable skills and make sure you write an exceptionally good email (cover letter) explaining with ‘facts & evidence’ why you think that you can do that job.
Job descriptions are rarely (e.g. in the medical professions) strict guidelines.
#8 Get a Mentor or a Coach, if applicable.
Sometimes, we see that even exceptionally senior candidates – especially the ones doing a career change, need coaching or career counselling. You can hire a professional to help you or just simply get a mentor from your professional or personal network. If you are going to pay for such a set of career guidance services, please make sure that you choose wisely –losing your money is one thing, getting bad advice and fake hopes is a lot more damaging for a job-hunter.
#9 ‘Thank you’ Follow- ups
Whenever you meet anyone, keep in mind that this person has put aside his/her time to meet you. So, please do appreciate that, be grateful and thank them.
In a professional meeting, someone invited you (they didn’t have to), invested time and hope in talking with/to you (if they didn’t hope that you are a match for a given role, you would have not been invited) and they even offered you tea, or mineral water or something else to drink.
Kindly actively show your appreciation by following up that meeting with a brief (but well-written) ‘Thank you’ message or ideally email, within 24 hrs (that’s the standard protocol- not my rule).
#10 Go that Extra Mile- It’s never too crowded!
I always recommend to candidates that they provide the interviewer with a plan of what they plan to do if they get hired in the 1st 90- 180 days; maximum 1-2 pages.
For Senior candidates, I recommend a detailed 1- Year plan and a brief 3-Year one.
Do these make a difference to the potential employer? Do you think that it makes a difference to demonstrate that you have understood what the role is about, and you have bothered to take the time and sit down and write your proposed approach to that role/ vacancy? (this is a rhetoric question- yes, it does make a difference).
I trust that these tips all put together in a single posting, will empower your 2018 Job Search!
Good Luck, please a very Happy 2018 !!
About the Author: Irene Gloria Addison is the owner of HIREghana [Human Intelligence Recruitment], a Leader Recruitment Agency and HRM & OD Consultancy. Irene -who has a LinkedIn footprint of 30.000 connections- and her team have also been constantly mentoring and coaching candidates on how to improve their job hunting & career- planning skills.