Despite the UK divorcing the EU, the jobs market has shown continued growth in 2017. Research institutions are reporting the lowest levels of unemployment since the mid-1970’s; ONS puts unemployment in the UK at 4.7%. However, E&Y studies predict that this figure will rise to 5.4% in 2018 as Employers look to increase productivity by better utilising their existing staff. 2017 recruitment trends also noticed Employers faced hiring difficulties due to skills shortages and wage stagnation.
Moving forward, Industry Leaders will look to focus on profits and growth in 2018, better utilise resources, including labour, to optimise productivity. This will present candidates many challenges such as competition from internal promotions and stagnant wages. If you’re on the market for a new role, below are 7 steps to consider in your job search for 2018 to give you your competitive edge;
1) Recognise your skills and stay positive in your approach. Action items:
The key is to maintain your confidence and self-esteem – upskill by volunteering in your chosen profession to better position yourself against your competition.
Have your ‘applications file’ and be organized – they should be easily accessible so that you can quickly find the application when a prospective employer calls you. There is nothing worse than answering the phone and being unable to remember the role about which you have been contacted.
Identify your USPs (unique selling points) and think of live examples to share in an interview to demonstrate transferable skills
2) Evaluate your job hunting effectiveness and action steps to improve and better your approach. Action items:
Assess your skills when posting your application against a given vacancy. You should find that you have strengths to match those required in the job ad.
Get a 3rd person perspective on your CV to ensure your professional document is on point as far as punctuation, grammar and tone.
Think about interviews you have attended. Try to evaluate your responses to interview questions – do you feel you could have better explained? Given more relevant examples? If you are not sure, take note of any interview feedback you have received. Make the effort to implement any good advice or recommendations.
Take interest in the industry you are looking to get into. Topical reading will give you great insight into your sector and industry. You will also be able to make good conversation in the interview which will distinguish you from your competition.
3) Enhancing your professional skills and technical knowledge Action items:
Consider brushing up on your professional and technical skills, look into short courses that will benefit your applications. There might be systems you can learn to broaden your skills base and certifications you can obtain to impress your potential Employer.
Consider volunteering part-time to broaden your experience and advance your skills and learning.
Research and read topical subjects that will broaden your knowledge and make you credible in the interview.
4) Searching for that perfect job Action items:
Broaden your search pool as opposed to searching by job title. Focus on your transferable skills. You could also consider relocation and look beyond your comfort zone provided your skills reflect those sought in an advertised job vacancy.
Use your network to recommend your details to their Employers without coming across desperate. Positive projection and confidence will have your network working for you.
If you are applying directly to a company, take time to put together an effective cover letter. Please don’t send a generic letter as this will only dilute your application with hundreds of other applications filtering through. Make it relevant to the job your applying to and upsell your candidacy to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
5) Preparing for that interview Action items:
Do your research into the Company you’re interviewing with. This will not only prepare you for unexpected interview questions about the Organisation but also widen your knowledge and increase your desire to be a part of this Business. This will feed your confidence in the interview enabling you to make a memorable first impression. This is key.
Use Social Media platforms for further reading and view profiles of your interviewers where possible to understand their background. This again will provide you with great insight into the role and Organisation, especially if they have been a long-standing employee.
Anticipate tricky questions around your strengths, weaknesses, long term aspirations, interests and pet hates.
Prepare 3 – 4 questions for the interviewer at the end of the interview to project genuine interest in the role and opportunity at hand. Also ask about the next step. Often this can be a good indicator of your performance and some feedback criticisms.
6) Follow up your interview Action items:
Candidates will often attend the interview and forget they still haven’t secured that offer. It is good practice to follow up with a thank you email summarising the interview and confirm your interest in the opportunity. Again, make it relevant and NOT generic.
7) Be consistent in your pursuit Action items:
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Be selective in your job search but don’t limit yourself to one interview as it is unlikely you will be the only candidate applying for that perfect job.
More applications that are carefully thought through will lead to more interviews. More interviews will increase the probability of securing that offer. Having more than one offer means you can base your decision on the opportunity that will best compliment your career goals enabling you to commit and grow.