Looking for a job can be challenging, especially when you have been out of work for a while. Here are some useful tips to help make your job search focused and as easy as possible:

Work with your employment specialist (ES) to plan how, when, and where you will look for jobs.

They can help with information about:

  • Which job search websites will work best for you
  • Whether you need to register with recruitment agencies
  • How they can contact employers directly to find out about jobs. This is especially helpful if you haven’t worked for some time
  • How you can work together to contact employers
  • Help with preparing for an interview

It's vital to have a clear job goal that matches your skills, interests and ambitions .  Your employment specialist can help you to identify a clear career goal, and  do  research to find out how to find work in your chosen career.

It is useful to have a daily job-seeking routine. The more effort you put into job searching, the quicker you should get a job. If you haven’t got a computer, your library will probably have some which you can use. It might also be helpful to join a local job club to get extra support.  Many of our CNWL employment teams offer local job clubs in libraries.

It’s a good idea to customise your curriculum vitae (CV) to fit the role you are applying for. Many people use the same CV for every job application, even when the person specifications are very different, which doesn't impress employers.  Although customising a CV takes time, the results will be worth it.

The job description and  person specification will give you clues about what you should include in your CV or application form. Use the job specification as a check list and make sure that you show you meet all the important requirements - on the first page of your CV.

Employers like evidence, so include details of anything that you have taken responsibility for, achievements, or strategies that you have put into action. Make sure you include any results you can show proof of. You can use the same method when completing the job application form.

  • Internet: most people’s number one job seeking strategy is an internet search. But if everyone else is doing this you will be up against a lot of competition, so you need other job search techniques as well
  • Recruitment agencies: they can be useful for opening up more job opportunities. To get the best out of agencies tell them clearly about your skills and abilities, keep in touch with them on a regular basis, and make sure that you are open to their advice both before and after interviews
  • The ‘hidden job market’: networking and direct approaches can be very successful in finding work. Up to 70% of job vacancies are never advertised, so often the only way to learn about them is by talking directly to employers and their employees. Speak to previous colleagues, attend networking events, contact employers directly and use social media like LinkedIn. Do any of your friends or family have any employer contacts you could benefit from?
  • Your ES can (with your permission) approach employers on your behalf, which will increase your chances of finding employment
  • Personal contact: if you get the chance to talk to an employer before applying to work for them, they may remember you when short-listing

If you are not confident about interviews, practise your technique with your employment specialist or contact local services that can provide this type of support. The more you practise, the easier interviews become.

A great way to show professionalism and help your interview stay fresh in an employer’s mind is to follow up afterwards. Send a short note or email thanking them for interviewing you and let them know that you’re looking forward to hearing from them. If you haven’t  got the job it may encourage them to let you know sooner rather than later.

It’s worth remembering that no-one gets every job they apply for. The important thing is to learn from the interview or recruitment process, and use it to your advantage when you apply for the next job. It can also be useful to get feedback after the interview.

For more job searching information see:

Some suggested agencies:

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