1. Make sure your CV is:
Clear - your CV is the first thing anyone considering you for a role will look at. Clear presentation (a plain font and well-spaced) and typo free CV is essential
Polished - it is frightening how many people list attention to detail as a skill yet have a CV littered with spelling and grammatical mistakes. Admittedly not every employer has an eagle eye, however for others, it can be off putting to the extent that they use it as a reason to reject a candidate at CV screening stage. Should you get an interview there is still the chance that your sloppy ways may be pointed out to you in person. Yes this did happen to me, during the early days of my career and over 15 years on I still cringe at the thought! To guard against falling into the trap, get a friend or family member to proof read your document, it is hard to spot the typos when you have been staring at the same words for a while and it will only take up 10 minutes of their time
Short – The interview is the time for detail and to give insight into your personality. Keep the language formal, detail concise and length to no more than 2 pages. That around the world trip to help save the lesser spotted chimparoo may have been life changing and passing your grade 3 trombone exam may have been an achievement at the time, but save that sort of detail for the interview if it is appropriate to discuss !
2. Apply for jobs strategically rather than play the numbers game
While it is obviously good to consider your options and apply for several roles, it is never a good idea to farm your CV out and apply to anything and everything. Think carefully about your skills set and if it is relevant to the role you are applying for. While the idea of being an astronaut is one thing, having the qualification and experience to be one is quite another and this clearly applies to all sorts of roles from PA to Head of Communications!
3. Use your contacts
While this may not be the sort of advice you would expect to hear from a head-hunter, it is impossible for me to deny the power of the network. Obviously not everyone can know everyone, or I would be out of a job, but most of the clients I work with will always look to make a direct hires. Even as a recruiter, most of the candidates that I place in roles will have been recommended by someone in our mutual network!
4. Choose your recruiter carefully
Beware not all head-hunters are equal! While the industry is becoming increasingly regulated and many recruiters adhere to a strict code of practice, there are different methodologies. As I mention above, being recommended to a recruiter is a good way of knowing they have been “tried and tested”, however there will also be candidates I have never met before and vice versa. I always meet anyone I represent and while the focus is mainly on their experience and aspirations, an important part of this meeting is informing candidates of how I work so they know what to expect. Make sure you are clear of the rules before you start working with a recruiter and it should be both a rewarding and fruitful experience.
5. Prepare for interview
While the interview itself is your chance to fact find, it will be far more productive if you have done some homework about the company beforehand. Not only will you impress if you have clearly done your due diligence, but it will allow you to dig well beyond the surface in your first interview and get far more insight into the firm and role
6. It’s not all about the money
We should all feel fairly remunerated, but when looking for a new role it is important to have a sensible expectation of what to expect in a new role. There can often be salary bands, so be realistic, it is unlikely you will be able to increase right to the top end of that band if it is £20,000 more than you are currently earning. The more senior you become the bigger the increase you can expect, but at any level, the priority should be the opportunity. Focus on your future, analyse the career and progression opportunities. A great initial pay rise will soon be forgotten a year or two down the track if the role does not progress.
7. Communication is key
Circumstances change it is a fact of life, in addition thinking can evolve and ideas alter during an interview process. The best way to deal with this sort of change is to communicate openly about it, or things can get messy! If you are given a salary lift, in the process of buying property, getting married etc. it is far better to make your recruitment contact aware, as it is more likely they can work around this with you. Going quiet or AWOL could burn some bridges or close a door you might have wanted to keep ajar while you dealt with another issue.