Get closer to landing that dream job.

Job hunting can seem overwhelming. Whether you've been made redundant or are leaving of your own volition, the search is time-consuming and it's hard to know where to start. Never fear! We've pulled together our five top tips for making your job hunt shorter and easier.

1. Identify what you want from your next role

This step is crucial if you don't want to waste time reading through and applying for jobs which, ultimately, you're not suited to. Figure out what's important to you – is it the job title, the level of responsibility, the travel, the progression of opportunities, the work-life balance or something else?

For example, it's easy to say that you want a sales role. But do you want to work in sales for a multinational with long hours, international travel and a tried-and-tested career path? Or would you prefer to work for a small startup, sell by phone, forge your own progression routes and lead a team as the business grows? Do your skills lend themselves to direct sales, B2B sales, B2C sales or business development?

Identifying your priorities at an early stage will save you from sending off scattergun applications for roles that don't meet your needs (and thus are likely to be unsuccessful). Your time is better spent crafting high-quality applications for companies you're genuinely interested in working for and where you have a good chance of success.

2. Write your elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch is a way of introducing and promoting yourself in the time it takes to have a conversation in a lift. It's useful to have your elevator pitch drafted before you start networking or attending interviews, as you'll be well-prepared for those 'Tell me about yourself' and 'What do you do?' questions. The key here is to identify your unique selling point. What can you offer that others with a similar job title can't? Think about how you've added value in your previous roles and what your speciality is. Consider your professional and academic background, your target role, even voluntary experience, and write three to four sentences that summarise YOU and what you'd bring to a business. Yes, it's hard, but time invested now will save wasted opportunities later. Practice it on a trusted friend or colleague and ask for their feedback.

3. Invest in a professionally written CV

This is the one part of your job hunt where you can leave the hard work to someone else. A professional CV writer will work with you to identify your relevant experience, skills, achievements and qualifications, and then produce a well-formatted document that emphasises your employability ‒ not just to human recruiters but also to the automated CV-scanning software that they use. These experts make sure that your CV is tailored to the type of roles on your hit-list whilst minimising information that could weaken your candidacy. Working with a professional can also boost your confidence, as they'll emphasise the positive qualities and attributes which are often hard to see in yourself.

Related: How a professionally written CV can boost your job-search confidence

4. Update your LinkedIn profile

Now is the perfect time to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and presenting the very best version of you. If you don't already have one – get one! It's free and provides many benefits for the job seeker, including networking potential, job adverts and access to industry groups. When you're confident that the summary, work experience, education and skills on your profile are job-hunt ready, add as many people as possible to your network. Don't forget to ask for recommendations and endorsements from colleagues. LinkedIn is a vital job-search tool these days – and with a strong enough profile you could even get headhunted!

5. Muster your network

Research shows that up to 85 per cent of all jobs are filled through networking. Now that you've identified your objectives, written your elevator pitch, purchased a professionally written CV and polished your LinkedIn profile, you're in the perfect position to hit up your network. Your LinkedIn connections are the obvious place to start, but don't forget your wider network. Friends, family, neighbours, clients, contacts from your hobbies, local networking groups, social media networks, even current and former colleagues who (inexplicably!) aren't on LinkedIn – they're all a valuable source of information and introductions.

Having taken these steps, you're well on your way to a focused and productive job hunt. Your dream job is surely just around the corner now. Good luck!

Ready to shorten your job hunt? Learn more about working with a professional CV writer.

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