The first thing to do when job-hunting is ensure you have an up-to-date CV and a saved template on a computer so you can easily tailor it to each job you apply for. If you have a particular industry in mind, do plenty of research. This could be as easy as taking a stroll up the high street to see if any new shops/restaurants/
Where do you look?
The most obvious places are the job sections of newspapers and on the internet. The Evening Standard and the Metro have job listings, both in print and online. There are of course many vacancies that don’t get advertised and are filled by word of mouth or thanks to speculative applications, which is why it’s worth sending out CVs to the companies you’d like to work for. Even if they don’t have a job going at present it’s worth positioning yourself within their radar.
Recruitment fairs are a good place to find out about vacancies. Some are tailor-made for graduates, such as the Guardian London Graduate Recruitment Fair that takes place several times a year. Others are specifically for multilingual speakers (International Language Recruitment Fair), teachers (Council of International Schools Recruitment Fair) and social work (Compass Jobs Fair). Take copies of your CV and hand them out to the providers that interest you.
Using an agency
There are various advantages to registering with a recruitment agency: they match your CV to the jobs they have on file, you can register with as many as you want, and they don’t gain anything by sending you to an unsuitable interview, therefore you stand a good chance of being offered interesting roles. Many agencies operate solely online these days, however it’s worth looking for local or semi-local agencies that specialise in your field. They are not allowed to charge you - unless they are a casting/modelling agency - as they take their fee from the employer, so if you’re asked for cash then run for the door. You can find recruitment agencies in the Yellow Pages and on the internet, however you can start with some of the main ones: Office Angels, Reed, Handle (media and entertainment sectors), Manpower and Adecco.
Some other ideas
Join professional organisations to enable you to meet people that are related to your chosen profession. The British Chambers of Commerce represents businesses across the UK, registration is free and they will keep you posted of relevant training courses and events. Signing up to a training course can help to develop your skills and improve your job prospects.
Advertise your skills by putting an ad in your local paper and join professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Elance. Look on company websites for jobs - some companies choose to advertise on their own site only rather than go via traditional channels.
It’s advisable to start preparing for your interview a few days beforehand. Simple things like not leaving deciding what to wear till the day of the interview can avoid panic attacks, turning your bedroom into a hurricane site and even worse, arriving late. Print off documentation such as your CV, exam results, a map and the job specification in advance just in case your printer decides to go on the blink. Allow plenty of time to get to where the interview is being held and have a back-up route prepared in case the tube has “signal failure” or the snow wreaks havoc on the roads. Get a good night’s sleep and avoid a rumbling stomach by eating breakfast before you set off.
Once you arrive, inform reception. Be courteous to everyone you speak to as you could soon be working with them. When you walk in for the interview, smile, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake. Try to remain calm, remember your application has been selected over many others, therefore you already have one foot in the door.
If you’re asked about salary, try asking what salary range has been allocated to the job and aim a little higher, i.e. if they are offering £25 – 30k, say you are hoping for something in the £28 – 35k bracket. Alternatively you could take your current salary and add between 10 to 20%, depending on how generous you think the company is. When the dreaded “is there anything you would like to ask us?” comes around, you’ll make a better impression if you have a few questions up your sleeve. Try these:
What skills does your ideal candidate possess?
Why did the role become available?
Which tasks have the highest priority in this role?
Are there any opportunities for promotion?
Even if the current climate is not ideal for job seekers, remember that persistence really does pay off. If your interview didn’t lead to a job offer don’t take it personally, the purpose of an interview is to see whether you will enjoy the role and are likely to stay in it, as much as it serves to assess your qualifications. If the role was offered to someone else, chances are a better, more suitable position is waiting in the wings.
# # #
About All In London: Allinlondon.co.uk is the number one choice for independent, unbiased, quality content relating to all aspects of London. Whether a London resident or London visitor, our users return time after time as they know they are getting the best information on the UK’s capital.