When it comes to recruitment there’s not much James Caan doesn’t know. He shares his top tips in the latest issue of Jobs & Careers magazine.
The job market should be seen as an opportunity for you. If major corporates and large companies are letting quantities of staff go, then it will be smaller, more flexible, more ambitious and more dynamic businesses that will have the nous to see this as a chance for them to attract the kind of high-class talent – and that means you – that they may not have been able to appeal to in the past.
The number-one question in the mind of anybody who is considering employing you will be – or at least, really should be – “How much value can you bring to my company?”
Everybody is very cost-conscious – businesses aren’t doing as well as they were, especially with the Brexit uncertainty. There is no room for excess fat, for time-servers and time-wasters. So, when you’re applying for a job and preparing for an interview, ask yourself, “Am I an asset or a liability?” Asset means you’re adding value to a company, while liability means you add no value and are therefore just a cost. It’s always going to make you a more attractive candidate if you can show that you will be a “high value for money” employee.
While there are more students graduating from universities every year, there are also fewer job opportunities. How do you stand out from the other graduates in your field? This is the point at which personality kicks in as an absolute must. As a recent graduate, you’re not only selling your CV. You’re selling yourself, who you are – your values beliefs, drives and motivations.
Ask yourself the following: “What are my characteristics?” “What is my USP?” “What features and benefits can I offer to an employer?” You need to use the answers and show a positive enthusiasm for the job you want.
Channel your efforts by targeting those companies that want to give you a job. Fill their need. Winning an interview is all about sending your CV to a company that fits you and that you fit too.
Should you use professional help, from recruitment agencies and headhunters, to find your way through all the options, apply direct to companies or make yourself prominent, visible and marketable in the digital marketplace? Why not do all three and exploit every route available.
Your sole aim is to reach the person who is going to offer you the right job. In order to achieve that, use all the options out there.
The person who wants to hire you will spend no more than a few seconds – a couple of minutes tops – scanning your CV, so it has to be impressive and instantly effective.
You need to present your experience, strengths, skills and ambitions in a short accessible package: minimum two pages, maximum three. Anything longer is not going to be read. In fact, most decision makers say they want to know immediately – from the first page alone – whether there is a positive match between the job and the candidate.
When writing your CV, the first thing you need to ask yourself is, “What is the job I’m applying for?” Most people write generic CVs, but you should bear in mind that the employer is looking for a specific candidate with a specific skill set. When faced with a generic CV, the employer will have to read the whole CV to find the appropriate match, by which time they are bored.
A CV is a marketing document – think of it as building brand You. It is designed to sell you as a candidate to an employer, to grab their interest from the word go and to entice them into hiring you. You need to make sure each CV is relevant to the job you’re applying for, with specifics about your experience in that particular field.
The key word with agencies is “specialist” – 80% specialise in specific sectors. As a candidate, you can make an agency’s life easier. With more and more applicants, an agency’s problem is how to pick the right candidate from so many options. Building a relationship with specific consultants can ensure they become your personal champion. The key is finding the right consultant who has the contacts and relationships with those companies that will have the kind of job you want.
Thanks to social media, you can easily and instantaneously become part of the talent pool. Use online job boards –recruiters will trawl CV databases on a daily basis, looking to match candidates to jobs. Some employers use social media directly too, so make sure you sign up to the feeds of the company you want to work for.
Get yourself known throughout your industry sector by making yourself visible outside the cocoon of your own company, by attending conferences and dinners, writing in the trade press and blogging online.
You may not always feel like going out to another trade dinner, but it may be at that dinner that you make contact with somebody who will offer you a fantastic job. Remember, you are making an investment to enhance the value of your personal brand.
Taken from ‘Get The Job You Really Want’ by James Caan, published by Portfolio Penguin.
For more great features on finding the right job for you, see the latest issue of Jobs & Careers with James Caan. Download your copy here.