If you're looking for a new job you may well have searched for advice on how to write the perfect cover letter, how to craft a great CV and how to succeed in an interview, but what about the very first stage of the whole process - your job search.
When it comes to finding the perfect role you need to be looking in the right way, but too many of us make basic mistakes when job hunting, and it is these mistakes that could be the reason you don't find the job of your dreams.
JAMS PTS Training are one of the UK's leading providers of rail training and recruitment, so what advice would they give to job seekers when it comes to the job search?
Don't Rely on Job Alerts
When signing up to an online job site you will typically be prompted to set up some job alerts based on a number of criteria - desired location, preferred salary as well as certain keywords associated with the roles you're looking for.
"Although there is no harm in setting up job alerts from your chosen industry, we'd recommend avoiding relying solely on those alerts," advises JAMS Group's Gary Robinson.
"Just as some of the roles sent through to you won't be suitable, some positions that would have been may be missed by the job site's alert algorithm.
"Always conduct plenty of job hunting yourself, even on the sites where you have job alerts set up, to ensure that you aren't missing something that would be ideal."
It is also worth considering that just because a role doesn't appear, from the job description at least, to suit your experience or skills that it wouldn't be a good career move.
Work with a Recruiter
The reason job alerts aren't 100% reliable is because they are simply working from a pre-defined set of criteria, with no actual understanding of what your perfect role looks like. Working with a professional and experienced recruiter however can combine the benefit of having your job vacancies found for you with the benefit of having your goals and aspirations understood by a real person. JAMS Training is just one example of a recruitment agency who can help you to find that perfect role.
"Our team has over 30 years of industry experience, so we are experts in pairing the right candidate with their perfect job," says Gary.
"By working closely with a recruiter they can get to know what sort of roles you're looking for, while utilising their experience to identify possible roles that you may not otherwise have applied for."
Set Time Aside for your Job Search
One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is not taking their job hunting seriously enough. They might be scrolling through pages and pages of detailed job descriptions while watching the TV or chatting to their family, when in reality to have a successful job hunt you need to focus on it 100%.
JAMS' Gary Robinson recommends sitting down at a desk and switching off every other distraction, with the exception of perhaps a little background music - though "nothing you're going to be singing along to."
However, knowing how to most effectively organise your job hunt is also important.
"If there are literally hundreds of roles to look through it can be a little overwhelming, so we'd recommend segmenting your job search into two specific sections," says Gary.
"Take 30-45 minutes to look through a specific job list and save each position you wish to apply for. Then, take a break for 45 minutes to an hour. Watch TV, listen to the radio, read a book, and then return to the computer and apply for the jobs you saved.
"We'd recommend applying for no more than 3 positions at a time, as to craft your best possible application you need to give it a lot of time and consideration. If you line up too many to apply for at one time, it is likely that your attention and motivation will start to wane after the third one."
Remember Why You're Applying
If you're unemployed then you need little other motivation to search for a job other than being able to put food on the table, however if you're looking for a new role when you're currently employed then it can be hard to maintain that commitment to the job search when you don't necessarily need a new job.
"Keep your goals in mind when job hunting to make sure you stay motivated," suggests Gary.
"Perhaps you're looking to move into a larger home, start a family or you simply want a career change. Whatever it is, keep visual reminders of your goals around the house to keep you on track."
This guest blog was written by John Rooney in partnership with the JAMS Group. For more advice on how to find the perfect position within the rail sector visit their website.
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