How to look for a job when you’re employed

 

One of my recent posts was all about how to become the indispensible employee and the importance of doing so in times of economic difficulty.  However, as I concluded at the end of that post, it is also important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities. Whether you are making preparations for incoming trouble, or you’re simply an ambitious person, it’ essential to know how to look for a job when you’re already employed.

The days when people would start at the bottom of a company and work their way to the top are over. Nowadays the process of “job hopping” is much more common and therefore you should always be aware of what’s going on around you.  Most of us can be described as what is called a “passive job seeker.” We expect to move from job to job every few years and so keep our eyes and ears open to ensure we stay ahead of the competition and find out about opportunities first, something which has been made much easier with the world becoming increasingly social. However, being a passive job seeker does not come without complication. You have to be careful with your search methods and move with tact so to strike the perfect balance between looking for a job and maintaining a great relationship with your current employer. But how do you do that?

Firstly, it is essential that you do not take a too full on or aggressive approach to job seeking. The word “casual” is probably the word best to sum up the desired job search. You want to remain professional and discrete. That means not advertising your CV all across the web on job boards. You don’t want to promote the fact that you’re looking for something new because the chances are the wrong people will find out. Regarding the professionalism aspect, it is crucial that you do not conduct any job seeking activities whilst at your current job. Ignoring the fact that it would be completely unprofessional and inappropriate, it’s also true that if you’re found out you will be fired so don’t take the risk, search in your own time.

It is also important that you are cautious of what’s going on around you. Privacy is key to being a passive job seeker. You have to stay below the radar of your current employer. Working with a recruiter can help you with this, as long as they are discrete and confidential themselves. Make sure all your actions, whether they are online, on the phone or anywhere else, are kept private. Remember that social media is just that, and you should not share things which could be interpreted negatively by your employer.

Something which follows along similar lines as being aware of your surroundings is the need for extra research. An unemployed job seeker is unlikely to care who they are sending their CV to or to how many people. Unfortunately, if you are currently employed, you do not have that luxury. If you do submit your CV then you need to make sure exactly who is receiving it and that there is no chance of your current employer finding out.

So perhaps your current approach the job search has to change. Instead of viewing your job search as you searching for a job you should just view it as “career networking.” You are looking out for yourself and preparing for the future. There is nothing wrong with networking; it is after all an essential part of career progression. If you view yourself as someone who is open to opportunity rather than someone who is actively looking for a job then you have the same chances of finding a job whilst reducing the risk of getting fired.

So if you remain patient, casual and careful but open to opportunity you can easily increase your chances of career advancement without risking your current employment.

Advertisements

The Dilemma of the Career Change

 

“The only constant in life is change.”

Heraclitus.

Even though these words are thousands of years old, they remain as true today as the day they were spoken. But if change is the one thing in life that you know you can count on, then why are people so afraid of it? Whether it be in a personal or professional context, the familiar is always the more comfortable option. And this is especially true when it comes to the often discouraging idea of a career change. If you are 15 or 20 years in to your career, the chances are that you’re set in your ways. You have your specific experience in your specific industry and the idea of taking a turn off that career path is not one you want to turn into reality. And if we’re honest that feeling is something that applies to most of us. Even if we’re stuck in a job that we do not particularly enjoy, change scares us. It presents us with the fear of the unknown. But it shouldn’t.

The reason change provokes such fear or anxiety is down to a number of misconceptions. We tend to believe that just because we’ve been doing the same thing for such a long time, then we simply cannot do anything else. We think that we have gained this specific experience to stay in our specific job and therefore we are not qualified to do a different one. Ultimately we associate change with the negative, and the current economic situation only makes things worse. But that doesn’t have to be the case. These misconceptions are just that, they are simply not true. So here are a few reasons why a career change is much less daunting, and a lot less difficult than a lot of us think.

Firstly, with the exception of extremely specific abilities, there is no such thing as a nontransferable skill. And the longer you are into your career, the more transferable skills you are likely to have acquired. So if you’re sitting there thinking that you’ve been doing the same thing for so long that it’s impossible for you to change then stop, because actually it’s really the opposite. Perhaps you’ve worked in an international company, you’ve worked in a team, and you’ve worked under pressure, that’s three desired characteristics already. I can guarantee that if you really think about it you’ll realize that you’re a lot more qualified than you first thought.

Something else that is important to remember is that you can be the solution to a company’s problem. You have a wealth of experience and a range of transferable skills and therefore all the marketing tools you need to sell yourself to a hiring manager. If you can show your interest and passion for the position then you are a lot more likely to succeed then if you only have specific experience but no charisma or drive.

Finally, one of the most important factors affecting the success of a career is positivity. If you are a likeable character who maintains a positive outlook on life then you will be able to do whatever you want. The worst thing you have to fear when it comes to a career change is rejection but what you have to remember is that rejection isn’t permanent. Rejection is inevitable at one point another in your life, but it is the ability to bounce back from it that makes any change a possibility.

You cannot be afraid to make a career change. The key is confidence. And if you can have confidence in yourself and in what you are doing then you can do anything. Taking a turn from your career path doesn’t have to be the end of the path; it can be the start of something great.

How to become the indispensable employee

Times are tough. The economy is suffering, businesses have lost confidence and the future looks uncertain. Companies are making less money, and less money means more cutbacks. And unfortunately the most common cutback tends to be of the currently employed. So it’s at times like these when people start to worry about their job. We ask ourselves: are you indispensible to the company, or are you just another employee? Of course a lot of this will depend on the size of your organization, amongst other things, but in an economic situation such as the one we find ourselves in at the moment no one is safe. Or are they? Are there things that you can do to make yourself indispensible?

Well, as with most things in life, there are no 100% guarantees but there are some things which you can do to make yourself as indispensible as possible.

First of all it is clear that someone within a company who has a strong presence is a lot less likely to get the boot. By this I mean an employee who is constantly visible to their boss, their boss’s boss and so on. This is often assessed in terms of results, but it is also true that being seen and being heard in the office is much more beneficial than hiding away and hoping they don’t notice you. This applies to both professional and personal situations. If you can develop a positive relationship with “higher ups” within your company, perhaps via networking events such as conferences, conventions or after work drinks, then you are much less likely to be let go. After all, it’s a lot harder for the people doing the firing to get rid of someone if they know them well.

Of course if you are going to be maintain a strong presence you have to make sure you are at the top of your game. It’s no use being a visible but poor employee at the same time. You have to be someone who actually adds value to the company. People who show up to work on time, who work hard, get results and ultimately benefit the company are very difficult to let go of. It’s also important to remember that there’s nothing wrong with getting people to recognize your achievements. You should remind your superiors of the great work you’ve been doing, just make sure not to appear overly arrogant. Someone who takes pride in their work and in their accomplishments will keep the job over someone who fades into the background.

One way to make sure you add value to your company is by increasing your skill set. You become a better employee by learning new things, growing your knowledge and therefore becoming a strategic asset. Perhaps you can take a course in computing, go to a convention or learn a completely new skill. When it comes to the final decision it will be much more difficult for your boss to get rid of you if you have a wide and unique skill set. Also it is unlikely your company will risk letting you go to a competitor if they know what you can do.

Finally, your attitude is one of the key points when it comes becoming an indispensible employee. Of course periods of economic difficulty cause stress and anxiety, but if you can remain positive throughout then you stand a much better chance of keeping your job. It is imperative that you don’t let the situation around you affect your work performance. Not only does remaining positive during tough times show you work well under pressure, it’s also undoubtedly true that people like people who are positive.

So there are a few things that can help you become the indispensible employee. However, as I have said, there are no guarantees. Therefore my advice to you, if you hear rumours about future layoffs, would be to get prepared. There’s no harm in some networking and seeking out opportunities just in case the company can’t take the hit and has to let you go.  And even if you do get laid off you should always stay positive and believe in yourself because you never know what’s around the corner. So be the best that you can be and everything will be alright in the end.

Good luck!

Put a stop to those job seeking bad habits

 

If you’re one of the many job seekers out there who’s been out of work for a while, you’ll know exactly how easy it is to settle into an unproductive routine. Perhaps you’ve been working for 10 or 20 years in a “full on” corporate environment and now find yourself in a world without all that hassle. And who doesn’t enjoy a little break after the stresses of professional life? You began a period of some much-needed time off which, after a few weeks, evolved into a period of optimistic and enthusiastic job hunting. But now it feels like that was years ago.  You can’t remember how many applications you’ve sent off, how many interviews you’ve been to, you’ve lost sight of where you are going and you’ve settled into a routine of bad habits.

At the moment you’re lost. But what’s important to remember is that losing your way does not mean the journey is over. Most job seekers go through a rut at one point or another. The key is to break the trend and to put a stop to those classic job seeking bad habits. So here’s my list of habits which you have to avoid (or stop doing!):

1)      You’ve lost sight of your objectives

It’s understandable that after you’ve been applying for specific jobs for a long time you start to care less about the type of job you’re applying for. While you should be more flexible with certain aspects of your job search, it is essential that you do not lose sight of your career goals. So if you currently find yourself applying for anything and everything you come across then stop now. The process of sending your CV off to every available job is ultimately a pointless one. Make sure that you are actually interested in (and capable of doing) the jobs that you apply to, as well as tailoring each CV you send off to the specific job description.

2)      You’ve settled in to the comfort of the post-job funk

As I’ve said, everybody enjoys a little time off but you cannot settle into a completely unproductive routine. Give your day some structure. Sure, take the weekend off, but carry out each weekday as if it was a workday. Get up at a reasonable hour, set yourself some goals and complete those goals. Just sitting at a desk, applying for a couple of jobs and making a few casual phone calls is not enough to secure yourself your next job, and if you’re telling yourself it is then you’re lying. Persistence is key and of course, after time, it gets harder but you cannot give up or become lazy. Remember, looking for work is a job in itself so don’t let yourself think otherwise.

3)      You’ve lost your positivity

Negativity is the natural reaction to failure. I’m not going to pretend the job search is an easy task, but maintaining a positive outlook and an optimistic approach is the only way to keep going and finally land a job. It may be a long road but it’s not one without a destination. You cannot let yourself get down and you have to keep motivated because negativity will come across in your application. A hiring manager will be able to tell if you’re not enthusiastic and if you’re not then why should he be? Keep your family and friends close, do things you enjoy and keep happy. Remember what you’re working for.

4)      You’re stuck using the same old moves

Whilst it is important to make sure all your applications are different, it is also essential that you do not use the same job seeking tactics over and over. If you’ve tried something that doesn’t seem to be working then try it in a different way or try something completely different. Take a risk, step out of your comfort zone, do whatever you can to get yourself that job. Fear of failure is a powerful barrier for job seekers but “the only real failure in life is the failure to try.”

5)      You’ve stopped following up

If you have been job seeking for a while then the chances are you’ve applied to quite a number of jobs. It is undoubtedly difficult to keep on top of everything you’re doing but you have to do so in order to get a job. If you forget to follow up then all you’re doing is harming your chances. So make sure to organize this information, perhaps in a word document or excel spreadsheet, and that way you’ll always know what you’re doing.

So there’s a few of the bad habits which you cannot afford to let yourself fall in to as a job seeker. Remember, keep motivated, keep organized and keep focused, you will find yourself a job eventually.

Creating the perfect work/life balance

One of the most difficult things to achieve in life is a perfect work/life balance. Whether you’re the head of a multi-national corporation or working your way through school, you have to find a way to manage your commitments. A lot of times in life you will hear people complaining that they don’t have enough time to do everything, that they simply have too much to do, and often this can create a situation where work rules our lives. But it doesn’t have to. Work is an inevitable, and important, part of life. What you have to remember though, is that it shouldn’t control the way in which you live your life. The key is to find a way that you can balance the professional and personal aspects of your life in a way that allows you to gain the most from both. But how can you do that?

Here are some tips which I have used to help me find the best balance:

#1: Use a calendar

It sounds simple enough but so many people don’t use one. If you can give yourself a schedule so you know exactly where you have to be and what you have to be doing at what time then you make life so much easier for yourself. Taking the few minutes it takes to be organized will save you so much time in the future. Perhaps take a little time on a Sunday to plan and think about what’s going on in the coming week. Having a visual aid really helps to give some structure to your life.

 #2: Disconnect

Today we live in a society where we are constantly connected to each other via the digital world. Whether it be on your iPhone, iPad or any other mobile device you may own most people nowadays are hooked up at all times. So, now more than ever, it’s important to take time off and get away from that world. You can work this time off into your schedule so it doesn’t affect your work life. People need time to themselves and time with their family and friends and being able to take this time away from work you are much more likely to be productive when you get back.

#3: Look forward

It is essential in life that you always have something to look forward to, and let’s face it, a lot of us work so we can do these things. Simply put, you have to have fun. If you give yourself things to look forward to the chances are you will feel a lot better about what you’re doing and you’ll be able to maintain a positive attitude. The more you have to look forward to, the easier it is to remember why you’re putting in so much work in the first place.

#4: Have a little perspective

One of the biggest problems in today’s working world is the over-analyzing of every aspect of our day-to-day lives which ultimately results in (unnecessary) stress. If you let the little things get on top of you it will bring you down, mentally and physically. So what if you’ve encountered a few problems today? The likelihood is the world isn’t going to end. Just think about the positives in your life and even the fact you’re blessed with such a problem as a work/life balance. Things could be a lot worse.

#5: Do something you love

Of course, in the economic mess we find ourselves in at the moment, finding a job is not an easy feat. But, as simple as it may sound, if you do something which you genuinely love then you can achieve happiness much more easily. Doing something you love is the perfect way to get rid of the work/life balance issue. If you love what you do then the chances are you’re happy and there is no dilemma. You’ve already figured it out.

So there are my top 5 tips for achieving a great work/life balance. It has to be said that in all honesty there really is no magic solution to achieving a perfect balance as it completely depends on you, but try doing some of these things and you stand a much better chance of being happy and ultimately achieving a balance that suits you.

What you need to know about job references

 

Something which always surprises me when looking at the tips available to job seekers is the lack of (quality) information surrounding the topic of job references. The chances are that you’ve been asked to provided references at some point in your career, if not at position you have ever applied for, so why is there still so much confusion? It seems that a lot of job seekers don’t know where they should go, when to incorporate them or who to include on the list. So let’s try to clear a few things up.

First of all, why are they important? Hiring someone is not an easy task. From an employer’s point of view it can be quite difficult to know who the right person for the job is, even after the interview. So ultimately the job reference is a way to instil confidence in the hiring manager. It helps to confirm that you are the perfect candidate for the job. Taking that into account, it is fair to say that a reference can be the difference between getting the job and having to continue the search. But what is it about job references that causes confusion?

 How to choose your references

Of course you want to get references from people who you got on with but it’s not quite as simple as that. You should choose people who know you well, that respect you and that are knowledgeable of your former achievements. Who these people are depends on what stage you are at in your career. For example if you are a recent graduate you may choose to include a reference from a tutor or professor you had at university. But if you are further on in your career it is always best to gain professional references from your former employers. Be sure to notify whoever you choose as a reference so that they can prepare something before they receive the call.

Where to put your references

As someone who receives CV’s on a daily basis, it is very easy to identify the classic mistakes that people make when it comes to job references. Firstly, it’s important to make it clear that your job references should not be part of your CV/Cover letter combo. It’s enough trouble to try to create a concise and well laid out Resume without having to squeeze on your references. They are a waste of space! Secondly, the phrase “references are available on request” is another way to waste space on your CV. That phrase doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t provide anyone with any information. An employer will assume you have references and in all honesty failure to provide any is not likely to end up landing you a job. Your references should be laid out on a separate document which you can provide to your employer when asked. You can also take this with you to an interview, along with your CV.

Here are some of key tips for job references:

  • Ask for a reference from your employer before you leave the position
  • Think carefully about who should reference you. Perhaps ask if they can provide a positive reference and move on if you notice hesitation
  • Provide accurate contact information. Keep up to date with that employer, for example checking if they remain in that position or company
  • Inform your references of the position you are applying for and in which company
  • Build a solid list of positive LinkedIn recommendations

Most of the time (if you are a good candidate) your job references won’t make or break your chances. Often job references are very similar and bland and just positive. But, if you can prepare your references in a way that lets you sue them as a marketing tool then you can give yourself the best chance of getting employed. So get those references in order!

 

The Myths of Resume Writing

 

For job seekers, the Resume is one of the most important factors when landing a job. Naturally this means that people are constantly scouring the web for tips and advice to help them on their way, and such preparation is essential if you’re going to get a job, but caution has to be taken. There’s nothing worse than bad advice and unfortunately for job seekers there is countless amounts of outdated and unhelpful Resume advice on the web.

We live in a modern world. This means a lot of the advice that you received, or that was posted online 5 years ago doesn’t apply anymore. So what are these myths of Resume writing?

#1: Your Resume should only be one page

Simply not true. With the exception of those with little to no work experience, your CV does not have to be confined to one page. The chances are, if you’ve been working for a while, you will have too much experience to fit everything sensibly on one page, so don’t try to squeeze it all on. The common misconception is that hiring managers won’t read a CV if it’s over one page but the truth is that it is much more likely to be read if it is well laid out over two pages rather than being squashed onto one. Make sure you focus on marketing yourself instead of just worrying about length. However, excluding certain professions, you should not stretch a Resume to three pages as this is usually considered too long.

#2: Not everything on your CV has to be entirely true

It seems that a lot of job seekers still think that it is acceptable to tell little lies on their CV or perhaps exaggerate the truth slightly because no one would know. Never lie on your CV! In today’s society it is so easy to check up on you and the employer will almost certainly do so. Information is so easily accessible now that it’s just not worth the risk of a lie. I can guarantee that if you do get caught (which you will) then you will be out of the running for the job, and if you are found out later having already got the job then you will lose it. Remember that the majority of employers use social media in the screening process and in a world where sharing is the norm, you simply cannot hide from the truth.

#3: A great Resume gets you the job

The Resume is one stage of the job seeking process. No matter how much experience you have, how good that experience is or how impressive your overall CV is, you will not get a job offer from your CV alone. The aim of your Resume is simple: to get you an interview. People are interested in people and ultimately there’s only so much text can do. Without a good interview technique your CV is relatively pointless because you have to be able to back up what you’ve written. It is essentially your first marketing tool which is a focused snapshot of you. This is not the time for a lengthy discussion, nor is it the place to note down everything you’ve ever done.

#4: You can send the same Resume to multiple jobs

“One size fits all” does not apply to your Resume. Every job you apply for will be different and therefore every application requires a different approach. Your CV is supposed to make you jump off the page as a suitable candidate who would fit perfectly in the organization. Hiring managers will be able to tell if you’ve just sent a standardized application and are therefore immediately given the impression that you are lazy and don’t really care about the position or the company.

So there are some of the old legends that surround the seemingly mythical Resume. If you’ve been following this outdated advice then stop now. It is essential in today’s tough job market to stay ahead of the curve and give yourself the best possible chance you can.

Good luck!

 

How to Master the Phone Interview

 

The telephone interview is often the first step in the candidate selection process, and it is an essential one. It is used by recruiters as a way to screen applicants for a position and ultimately to narrow the talent pool. This is the first chance for you to make a good personal impression, something which cannot be rivaled in importance. The phone interview is a stepping stone to the face to face interview and is therefore vital when it comes to landing the job. But how do you pull off a great phone interview?

Well, a lot of the tips for perfecting your interview technique are the same as for perfecting your phone interview technique. As always preparation is key, but there are several important differences. Given that you’ll probably be at home for this interview you can actually have your preparation and notes with you. Note down the important points that you want to get covered, as well as some answers to potential questions, some example questions that you could ask your interviewer and information about the company. However, make sure not to sound like you are reading information off a sheet. You should also keep your CV close by so that you can refer to it without hesitation when questioned about your employment history, education or any other information you have included. Here are a few other key points to remember:

  • Have a pen and paper ready so you can note down information the interviewer gives you
  • Prepare the room – get rid of distractions (e.g. kids, pets etc) and prepare the layout of your “cheat sheets” so you can easily read them
  • If you are using a landline make sure to turn your mobile phone off. If you are on your mobile then make sure to turn call waiting off to make sure you are not interrupted

So now you’ve prepared, but what can you do during the interview to make sure you’re at your best? Well, in addition to the normal things you would do in an interview e.g. be positive, market yourself etc there are a few things that you should remember:

  • Speak slowly and enunciate – often when people are nervous they speak more quickly, but it’s crucial that you make a conscious effort to make yourself understood. Perhaps have a glass of water with you to make sure you take breaks and stop yourself getting a dry mouth
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer. You don’t want to appear rude so make sure to take a second before answering then you will know they have definitely finished talking. However, don’t take too long or they might think you’ve gone!
  • Use the interviewer’s title (Mr./Mrs.) until requested otherwise
  • Don’t smoke, eat, chew gum etc at any time during the interview
  • Smile – even though the interviewer cannot see you, it will help you to come across as a positive person because it changes your tone of voice

Now you’ve come to the end of the interview. As it is normal to enquire about future contact in a face to face interview you should also enquire about setting up a meeting with your interviewer. After all, that is the goal of the phone interview!

If you take all that into account then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get through to the next stage of the process.

So good luck!

 

Is there a future for recruitment agencies?

 

The modern day recruitment industry was born in the 1940s as a direct result of World War II.  With much of the working population serving in the military, the positions left behind needed to be filled and once the war had ended, the returning soldiers were in need of employment.  This is where employment agencies came in and the industry took off to become what it is today; an industry not limited to public and private sector employment agencies, but with other divisions including head-hunters and executive search firms.  But with the Euro zone in turmoil, fears of an imminent financial crisis and constant cuts being introduced by the government, what hope is there for recruitment agencies in a time of cutbacks?

 

According to the Office for National Statistics, the unemployment rate in the UK is at its highest since 1996, with 2.62 million people unemployed. Many companies have to keep costs down when it comes to recruitment and some simply can’t afford to take on new staff at all. On the rare occasion that there is a vacant position, companies might choose their own in-house recruitment process rather than opt for a recruitment agency, given that the main rivals, online career sites, generally charge less, if anything, for their service.  The websites “Monster” (launched in 1999) and “LinkedIn” (launched in 2003), certainly pose a threat to recruitment agencies.  At face-value they provide a cheaper alternative, whilst at the same time granting access to millions of job seekers.  How can agencies remain the viable option and contend with the likes of “Monster,”  “LinkedIn” and other job boards?

 

Boasting over 145 million professionals, LinkedIn presents a clear threat to recruitment agencies. With a growth of about 2 members every second, its popularity is clear. This network allows access to a rapidly increasing database of professionals for free. The job site Monster also continues to grow. As well as reaching out to millions of people (Monster has over 150 million CVs in its database), the cost of posting a job is not, comparatively speaking, extortionate.  One “Premium Post” on Monster costs £199 and lasts for 30 days, whereas using a recruitment agency generally costs the employer between 10 and 20 percent of the employee’s yearly wage. With the pressure on businesses to keep costs down, many companies are making the effort to recruit themselves rather than handing out large fees to agencies.

 

There may be advantages to using the above-mentioned sites, but, for employers, signing up to them does not guarantee a job position being filled.  LinkedIn allows you to build connections and enlarge your talent pool by networking, but this does not necessarily lead to employment.  As for Monster, the job posting section comes at a cost and quite often simply posting a job online and bearing the cost is not enough.  As I have mentioned, with Monster, a “Premium Post” lasts for 30 days, but 30 days is a relatively short amount of time to find the right candidate, especially in the case of executive roles.  Naturally, it depends on the company and the position, but if the applicants within this time period are not up to scratch, then more money and more time need to be spent on the recruitment.

 

Despite what it may seem, there are many benefits to be gained for both candidates and employers by using a recruitment agency. It is true that time means money and so any time spent by an employer on recruitment is, in essence, an extra cost to the company.  Employers need to consider whether they have the time and resources required to recruit a high-quality member of staff.  The recruitment process takes time; writing a job description and posting it to various online job boards, sifting through the CVs received as well as those in the databases on sites such as Monster, looking through social media websites, ensuring that the job is well-advertised and finally arranging and organising interviews with applicants to fit both with their schedule and that of the interviewer.  Recruitment agencies have databases with hundreds of candidates, each one carefully selected, interviewed and assessed.  What’s more, there are many recruitment agencies which specialise in certain areas, making the process faster whilst increasing the likelihood of employment for both parties. Provided they have been well-briefed on the position, a vacancy could potentially be filled in a few days.

 

As much as it would seem otherwise, recruitment agencies do save clients money.  The agency incurs all of the advertising charges and the job specification is likely to be posted on more than one website.  This is in addition to the fact that their time is spent and is only paid for upon results.  Furthermore, some agencies offer a guarantee, whereby if it turns out that the selected candidate does not fit the bill within a certain time frame, a replacement is provided free of charge.

 

For candidates too there is nothing lost in signing up to an agency.  Registering usually costs nothing and you can benefit from being able to work full-time whilst simultaneously looking for new jobs.  Moreover, recruitment agencies will have more clients who are larger organisations of 50+ employees, and so is a great opportunity for those candidates who want to get into large, corporate environments.  However, of course candidates cannot rely on agencies as their only means of getting a job.  There are always more candidates than jobs, so it is certainly worth registering with the online career sites and actively searching at the same time.

 

Recruitment agencies have survived thus far and according to the Survey of Recruitment Agencies conducted in 2007, there were approximately 16,000 agencies operating in the UK. The industry obviously took a blow during the credit crunch, but it is making its comeback.  Monster and LinkedIn, thought at first to be competitors to recruitment agencies are now actively used by them to improve the quality of their services.  So it’s not just the way that people search for jobs has changed, recruitment agencies have also changed the way in which they work and have adapted.  In recent years, the industry has suffered casualties but continues to not only survive, but grow as well: proof that despite economic uncertainty there is still demand for the service.  One advantage which recruitment agencies will always have, and which may well ensure their future, is the personalised service which they provide, something with which technology cannot compete – well, at least not for the foreseeable future…

Tips to calm the pre-interview jitters

 

Nerves affect everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re doing something important that could ultimately make a change in your life it’s only natural that you will feel nervous. The job interview is one of the things in life that cause people to feel the most nervous. Some nerves are good. They can keep you on the ball and therefore make you perform better, but the problem arises when you let this anxiety get the best of you. It’s essential that you do not let this overcome you and affect your performance. And in fact there are plenty of ways that you can shake off these nerves and make sure you perform to the best of your ability.

So what are they?

Something which I’ve spoken about a lot regarding interview tips is preparation. Preparation is the key to a great interview and it is preparation that can really help to calm those pre-interview jitters. If you know what you are going to talk about and have practiced your interview technique then you will be able to feel a lot better about going into an interview. Know about the company you are interviewing with, know exactly the role which you are applying for and look up some interview tips to get used to the general style. In this day and age with a search engine like Google and a professional network like LinkedIn you really have no excuse not to do your research. However, be cautious because you don’t want to sound over-prepared to the point where you are essentially just reciting phrases that you’ve learnt off by heart.

Another thing which comes under the umbrella of preparation is having a dress-rehearsal. Ask a friend or family member to stage a mock interview with you so you can practice answering questions and having a free-flowing interview. If you want you can even put your suit on to create a stronger illusion of a business environment. Talking through what you’re going to say is extremely helpful as others can offer you advice and make you more confident.

Now, something which does not necessarily refer to the job interview and applies to how to get rid of nerves in any situation is learning how to not over-analyze a situation. Simply put, you need to get out of your head! It is impossible to know exactly how an interview is going to play out, just as it’s impossible to know how life will, what’s important is being able to accept that as a fact. Wondering endlessly about what’s going to happen is only going to prove counter-productive and doesn’t get you anywhere. Yes you should prepare but don’t just focus on the job interview. Distract yourself with other activities, listen to music, do anything to take your mind off the interview for a while and you will feel better. Of course some people like to listen to music to get “pumped up” before an interview and that’s fine too. Identify what you do to make yourself feel confident and do it before the interview.

Another thing you can try to do is replace the feeling of nervousness with the feeling of excitement. The two emotions are incredibly closely linked and therefore can be interchangeable. Think about the great opportunity that you’ve got. By doing this you can make yourself feel positive and confident about the potential job in front of you. That will help you give confident answers in the interview.

Finally, make sure you use your common sense and prevent unnecessary problems. For example, know the route to the office where you’re interviewing. You want to know how long it takes and give yourself a little extra time. After all, there’s no harm in getting there a little bit early. In all honesty, it’s the simple things that can help the most. Plan what you’re going to wear, have a good night’s sleep beforehand and make sure you eat a good breakfast.

If you remember this and don’t let your nerves get the best of you then you have a great chance of giving it the best you’ve got and getting yourself that job. So squash those nerves!