You see a job you want, you apply and then you keep your fingers crossed – right? Well, sure, but there’s a better way of doing things. Many jobs aren’t just about writing a good CV, they are also about how you come across, who you know and whether you have heard about the perfect job in the first place. While sending out hundreds of job applications is certainly the best way to get a job by numbers, it might not be the best way to get the job that’s best for you.
When it comes to your career, it is essential that you keep an open mind and don’t close off options too soon. A classic and fatal error is to put yourself into a particular job category and then fail to realize that you could have done so much more. So, if application sending is getting you down, here are 3 new approaches to take.
The Perfect Job Might be Hidden – So Search For It!
While job boards are great for finding sales roles, admin roles, and other junior positions, it’s unlikely that you will find senior executive jobs here. Jobs like these are often hidden and applicants tend to discover these opportunities through word of mouth. This is why it’s such a good idea to follow brands and companies that interest you: you never know when you might discover an opportunity before anyone else.
Searching for hidden jobs is a tough ask. How do you find something that might not even exist? Well, the first thing to do is to make yourself known to recruiters working in the industry you are interested in. Recruiters are often used in the hidden market because they are best placed to make suitable recommendations and know who is actively looking for a job in that role or position.
If you want to get in touch with recruiters, the best thing to do is to write them an email outlining who you are, what you are interested in and why you are getting in touch. To craft an email they are likely to respond to, think about what you would want to say to a company you are interested in. For example, you might decide to add a link to your work portfolio, which is a great way to add more detail to your email without adding to it’s length. The key thing here is that you make yourself easy to understand and you aren’t asking the recruiter to do too much work. The more specific you are, the more likely it is that they will be able to make some recommendations.
Be Open to Unexpected Opportunities
One of the best ways to access different kinds of jobs is to network. This doesn’t mean going to events and trying to talk to as many people as possible, though. You need to build strong relationships that will last a little longer than a pleasant evening eating canape (if you’re lucky!).
A good option is to start with your own friendship circle and be open to meeting friends of friends too. This is networking at it’s best and most successful, though it can feel a bit weird if you blur the line between friendship and professional relationships. The more friends you have who can pass on good words about you, the more likely you are to receive interest from 3rd parties without the faff of an application. This is especially good advice for freelancers.
But the real trick is to be open to any offer should it appear. Many people are surprised by sudden job offers and recruiters getting in touch with amazing opportunities when they aren’t even looking. This can make you feel as though you are on the back foot because you aren’t sure what to do next but having an open mind is a really good idea as you might find your career progressing with very little friction.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t just jump at every new opportunity. Think carefully about what the new job opportunity is including the benefits and drawbacks. You might be tempted by a pay rise but if the company culture doesn’t fit you or you aren’t really interested in the job itself, this probably isn’t enough to make the move for most people.
The best way to decide whether a surprise job offer is good for you or not is to have an honest conversation with your prospective employer. A job interview is a bit like a date: you’re going to be polite and show interest but ultimately, you need to have the important conversations too. Be absolutely clear about what you want and what your ambitions are. If you align, this could be a fantastic opportunity for you but if not, keep fishing for something else.
You Might do Better Working for Yourself
If job applications are getting you down and the hidden job market isn’t working quickly enough for you, a good option is to work for yourself. Many jobs can be done on a freelance basis and freelancing is becoming increasingly popular. Aside from the benefits of setting your own hours, working at home or in a coffee shop and having the freedom to choose what you do, freelancing is often a great way to advance your skills and put yourself in an even better position to get one of those hidden jobs in the future.
When you freelance, you can also get in with a wide range of companies, make lots of new friends and get the inside track on an industry without too much effort. This is a great position to be in and, with the help of recruiters and friends, you might find that you don’t need a “regular” job anymore – you’re quite content with your new lifestyle!
While job applications can be a good way to introduce yourself, they aren’t often a good way to show off your skills or get the jobs you really want. By boosting your professional profile, getting in touch with the people who can pull you up and showing your interest, you can get on the inside track. Good luck!