Before you submit your first job application, make certain your job search is set up for success.
When you're anxious to start your job search in earnest, the wait for your new professionally written CV can seem endless. However, don't squander this precious time. Whilst obtaining a well-crafted CV is an important step towards job-search success, it's not the only step you'll need to take in order to find and land the role you want.
Tick off the items below so you can gain momentum with your job search as soon as you've approved the final draft of your new CV.
Put your job goals in writing
You are 10 times more likely to accomplish your goal when you write it down. Consider all aspects of the job, from the work environment and industry to your commute and desired salary. The clearer your job goals are, the easier it will be to prioritise your job-search activities.
Use this time to determine the best way to stay organised during your job search:
Email address: What email address are you planning to use for your job search? I suggest creating a new email account with a provider such as Google that is reserved for your job-search activities. If you decide to upload a photo to your email account, follow the same guidelines you would use when you select a photo for your LinkedIn profile.
Mobile phone: When was the last time you listened to your mobile's voicemail greeting? Remember, this is the number HR managers will find on your CV, so it's important for your greeting to sound professional and friendly. I also encourage clients to state their name in the greeting so employers know they've called the right person.
How do you intend to track the progress of your job applications? Explore a few options whilst you wait for your CV draft and select the one that best suits your needs. I recommend using a provider like Huntr or JobHero that allows you to track everything online and via mobile. If those options are not your cup of tea, a well-labeled Excel sheet or Google sheet can get the job done as well. Whatever tool you choose to use, be certain to document the company name, the job title and its location, the job advert URL, the job source (i.e. how you found the vacancy), the application date and the CV file you used for the application.
What sources do you intend to use to find new vacancies? Conduct an online search (e.g. 'sales vacancies in Dubai') to find niche job boards in your field or industry. Make a list of all the job boards you'd like to use for your job search and start building a profile on each so all you have left to do is upload your new CV.
Research the job market
Start exploring the job boards you've bookmarked, reading your industry's trade journals and speaking to the connections you've made in your field to get a pulse on the job market. The goals of this research are twofold: to identify vacancies that match your job goals, and to learn about specific organisations where you'd like to work.
Before you earmark a job that interests you, ask yourself these questions to determine if a job is right for you. Then save a copy of the job description and a link to the original advert in a Word document or Google document so you have it for future reference and begin preparing your application materials. Even a professionally written CV will need a few tweaks to ensure it's properly customised for a specific job advert. These small edits will increase your CV's chances of getting past an employer's applicant tracking system and on to the HR department for review. Make note of the keywords that are repeatedly used in the job advert, in addition to any particular qualifications that seem important to the company. That way, you can be certain to highlight this information in your cover letter and CV when the time comes.
Also, if there isn't a name associated with the job listing, do a little online detective work to uncover the name of the manager or recruiter responsible for filling the position so you can properly address your cover letter.
Based on your job goals and your research into the industry, develop a list of employers for which you'd like to work. Then, take a closer look at each company on your list to get a better sense of their current vacancies and determine if anyone in your existing network is somehow connected to them. Start following these organisations on social media, especially if they have accounts dedicated to recruitment, and set up Google News Alerts.
Audit your online reputation
A survey carried out by UK job board CV-Library found that one-third of recruiters admit to regularly 'stalking' candidates online to gauge their employability. If you want to land the job, your online presence must be as polished as your CV.
While you have the luxury of time, Google your name as it appears on your CV, and check all of your social media accounts to consider how they present you. If a stranger was to review these results, what impression would these profiles create about your character, judgment and priorities? Now is the time to delete inappropriate or unprofessional posts, increase the security settings on each one and update any online profiles you intend to use to support your job search.
Invest in your network
Studies have found that you are 10 times more likely to land a job when your application is accompanied by an employee referral. In addition, it's estimated that only 50 per cent of vacancies are published online. As a result, it's important to use this time to ramp up your networking efforts.
Prioritise your existing personal and professional contacts based on their connections to the companies and industries that interest you. Then, arrange casual meetings or phone calls with these individuals to catch up and ask for their assistance with your job search. This 'help' could be as simple as introducing you to someone who works for your dream company, suggesting a networking group to join or offering insight into a particular organisation's hiring practices.
Additionally, look into new professional associations to join or events to attend that interest you and are related to your target line of work. There are many online resources, such as Meetup and 10times, that can help with this.
Take these steps now and you'll be ready to hit the ground running when your new CV is good to go.