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Job Search Strategies in a Difficult Job Market

You will not have been able to ignore the news stories dominated by the economy so let’s address it:

 First the bad news

  • There is no denying that the job market is tough although sectors and parts of the country are affected to different degrees
  • Some of you may have just been through the annual recruitment process with no success to date

Now some good news

  • Your degree is a valuable asset
  • There are still jobs out there.  Take a look at JobsNetPlus (Edit – Please use CareerHub now) to see for yourself; if not already registered do so today
  • We have an extensive range of support available to help you to ensure that you know how to present yourself at every stage of the recruitment process
  • And this support continues after you leave us if you still need it for two years
  • We are continuing to be targeted by recruiters with them coming onto campus this term and you can come back and meet them

 But there is no time for complacency or hiding from reality so this is a call to action…

You can’t control the economy but you can control how you respond to it so develop a professional approach to career planning and job search

So where do you start? Lets cover the basics, advice you will have heard from us before:

  • Do your research into yourself, the roles, sectors and organisations that you are interested in
  • It is never too late to get work experience or an internship – check out the internships pages and the vacancies database
  • Apply early – if you see a job advertised respond quickly but with a well written application
  • Ensure that you send off error free and well written applications and make the most of Careers Adviser appointments, workshops and web resources, all still available to you as a recent graduate
  • Use a range of vacancy sources: databases, agencies, trade or professional associations, websites, newspapers, directories, journals and any others you can think of
  • Consider further study – would it fulfill a passion, enhance your job prospects or is it a chance to hide from the job market? Before signing up be clear about your motivation; seek advice from a Careers Adviser
  • Do you want to travel?  Still stay focused on self-improvement and your future career eg. take the opportunity to learn a language or get a part-time job

Beyond the basics; go the extra mile:

  •  Research the job market more thoroughly – having an understanding of market conditions won’t get you a job but it will put you in a better position to judge the best course of action
  • Don’t rely on graduate schemes and carry out your own individualised job search
  • Be flexible in the short-term – your long-term career plans can remain but underpin them with getting valuable experience of a workplace, client group or improving skills.

Could you or should you consider:

  • A different geographical region?
    • A different country or just a different county?
    • Do you know where there are companies clustered eg. The Silicon Roundabout in London or the gaming industry in Middlesbrough
    • Could you work in a different country where the market for your skills is more positive, maybe where you have language skills they need or where language doesn’t matter eg. teaching English in Japan?
  • A smaller organisation?
    • Small and medium-sized organisations offer opportunities so don’t rely on brand names – that small company could be the Microsoft of tomorrow
    • They offer the opportunity for greater responsibility earlier on in your career than larger companies
  • A different role within the sector?
    • Are there other jobs that have some of the same characteristics and attractions to the role that you have been looking for?
  • A similar role in a different sector?
    • Broaden your ideas of who you can work for – look at a range of organisations in the sector
    • Look at the competitors to your chosen employer, their suppliers and clients
  • A lower salary?
    • Is getting in at a lower level position and then working your way up possible?
  • A temporary position or part-time role?
    • You may be able to progress through a variety of niche opportunities which still apply skills and knowledge gained from your studies
    • These could act as stepping-stones to your ideal position, giving you valuable experience for when the markets are more buoyant
    • It means you may be in the right place at the right time when a full-time position becomes available
    • Tip: approach a company that you want to work for and ask them if they hire temps and which agency they use; then go and sign on with that agency
  • Proactive job search?
    • Large numbers of jobs are never advertised so take a speculative approach; be creative and use contacts and networks
    • You can use contacts to strengthen applications, keep in touch with developments in your chosen field and make yourself known to contacts in the field
    • We offer opportunities to meet employers but consider who you know in your family, friends, community who may know somebody else, use social networking sites, join professional organisations
    • If you make a good impression then they may remember you if any opportunities arise

Effective job hunters are those who are proactive, dedicated and understand the job market.

Careers & Placements Service is here to help you so get in touch with us careers@herts.ac.uk

Photo: Atom Smasher

Categories: Employment
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