With so many different options and avenues these days, it’s no wonder that applying for jobs is about as daunting as queuing up outside a nightclub at the age of 16 with only your older brother’s photocopied driving licencefor I.D.
However, having options is also a good thing. You can approach employers from every angle you like; from posting off the traditional CV and cover letter, to using the services of recruitment agencies. Have a look below and we’ll talk you through how to make the most of your options.
Are recruitment agencies the way forward?
Some companies will go straight to a recruitment agency for all of their hiring needs. It’s therefore a good idea to sign up to a number of specialist recruitment agencies that are relevant to the industry you want to get into. It’s also a good plan to make sure that the agencies you sign up with actually deal with the entry-level positions you are looking for.
There’s no use in sending your CV off to an agency that only recruits for senior level positions. This can be done online or by going into one of their offices. It’s always a good idea to actually go and meet someone, as they’ll be able to get a grasp of the sort of person you are and the sort of working environment you’d suit. They’ll ask you one or two questions, discuss what your ideal role would be and send over any relevant positions to you.
After your first meeting with a recruitment agency, you should try and stay in regular contact with them. Jog their memory, remind them that you exist and show your enthusiasm and determination. After all, when a new position comes available, they are more likely to call the enthusiastic person that will attend the interview and definitely accept the job if offered it, rather than the apathetic person who does not seem interested in the slightest.
However, do not annoy and pester recruitment agents! Try your best not to call them every half an hour, desperately asking if any jobs have become available. Leave it a few days between calls! After all, you don’t want to get branded as a ‘stalker’.
Try as they may, sometimes recruitment agencies leave a few stones unturned. They basically do the searching for you, but that’s not to say that you should leave all the work to them. You should also be pro-active and look for openings off your own back. You never know when something will crop up.
I want to be more direct…
Another option is to apply directly to companies and organisations.
In this day and age, it’s quite easy to just pop on to a company’s website and have a look for the best person to send your CV to. Most companies will have a job section on their website. If you can’t find the relevant details online, don’t be afraid to give them a call and simply ask if there are any positions available.
If there aren’t, then so be it, but leave your name and ask if you can send over your CV anyway. There’s no harm in asking. You might also find that if you call again a few months down the line, they’ll remember you and admire your desire. It’s all about building up relationships, even before you get the job!
A word of warning though: don’t call every day, or even every month. There’s being keen and then there’s just being plain annoying.
Some companies will also provide the option of applying online. You’ll be able to transfer your CV into their own format, along with a covering letter. It’s worth keeping a look out for any graduate schemes that companies may be running as well. Again, most companies will have a section on their website about this, but if not, then drop them a line and ask if they do!
I’m feeling optimistic! What’s the deal with speculative applications?
One of the trickiest things to do when you’re looking for work is to apply for jobs that aren’t even advertised. How the hell are you meant to apply for a job if it’s not advertised? Call up every company in England every day before you find something? No.
However, you can send off speculative applications to the companies that you are interested in working for. It might not work with every organisation, but for some companies it can be an especially effective and impressive way of getting noticed.
Wait a second though; you can’t go rushing into this kind of application like an optimistic antelope bounding through a lion-infested field. It’s all about doing your research first. Get on the internet, read every page of the company’s website, learn everything you can about the organisation, follow them on Twitter, join their Facebook fan page and get to know them better than you know your younger brother.
Then all you have to do is send off a tailored CV and a skillfully written cover letter. However, make sure you send these bad boys to the right person. After all, there’s no point in sending your application to Clive the caretaker, if you’re looking for an administrative position. It’ll just get binned! If the rightful recipient of your speculative application is not immediately apparent from looking on the website, then give them a call. Find out exactly who needs to be reading your gem of a CV!
Furthermore, you should clearly state what sort of job you’re interested in. Don’t waste anyone’s time. Get to the point and let them know that you are keen to work in a certain area.
Finally, you should always, always, always, ALWAYS, follow up your letter with a phone call. Not only does this ensure that you know the outcome one way or another, but it also gives them a gentle reminder that you’re there, keen and waiting for their call. There’s no point in applying for something and then just completely forgetting about it.