Society's top tips for finding a new job

Before you can get your dream job, you first of all have to find it. This isn’t always easy; especially if you're keen to move into a new sector. Hopefully our top tips will give you some useful guidance:

1. Register your CV

Most recruitment or executive search firms offer you the chance to register your CV with them through their website. Take the time to search out some of the most reputable and well established firms and to send them your details. Avoid the high street brands, since they work primarily on lower-level or temp appointments. Similarly, steer clear of firms where they require you to pay a fee, or where the Consultants work on a commission, since their advice is far less likely to be objective.

2. Scan adverts

Get into the habit of looking at whatever national publication or job board caters for the profession you're interested in. It's pretty simple once you get the hang of it. The Sunday Times still carries a lot of senior, heavyweight appointments, as do the Economist, the Telegraph and Executive Appointments. The Guardian often has the most prominent voluntary sector jobs. The THE is the best place to find positions in higher education. Try People Management for HR, Retail Week for Retail, the FT for finance and accountancy, the BMJ for the health sector, and so forth...

3. Look at job boards

Job boards are websites where employers can post free advertisements for vacancies and users can submit or deposit their résumés for general consumption. These sites range from large-scale generalist boards to niche job categories such as engineering, insurance, social work, or teaching. They also encompass cross-sector categories such as green jobs and seasonal roles. There are even job boards specifically for mums who are looking to get back into part-time employment.

4. Use personal contacts

Ask friends, colleagues and family members whether the organisations they work for are recruiting. Some people’s employers now provide financial incentives for them to introduce prospective candidates, so you might even be doing them a favour.

5. Swot up

If you're keen to move into a new sector, or to take on a significant shift in responsibility, then you will have to do your homework. Subscribe to the relevant trade magazine or professional journals and keep yourself up to speed with all the latest developments in the sector, function, or area that interests you.

6. Get qualified

Some career paths will prove difficult to follow if you lack the relevant qualifications. The good news is that it is never too late to bring yourself up to speed. Consider doing a part-time undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Alternatively look into a form of chartered professional qualification with a body such as the ICAEW, the CIPD or the CIM.

7. Be selective

A scattershot approach to job hunting rarely works. Simply firing off a generic CV for every role you see going only increases the chances that your application will end up in the bin. Carefully pick out the roles that genuinely appeal to you. Be realistic about what you are suitable and qualified for. Finally, prepare an application that is tailored, persuasive and professional. In the long run it will be quicker and less time consuming to make two or three very strong submissions rather than hundreds of careless ones.

8. Approach an organisation directly

If there's a specific organisation that you deeply want to work for and you simply can't see any suitable vacancies around then, as a last resort, you can always make contact with them directly. Address your enquiry to the person responsible for recruitment (ie. probably someone in HR rather than the Chief Executive) and be polite and clear about what sort of role you would be interested in. Don't repeatedly hassle them with multiple letters, emails and phone calls. You have to be prepared to wait and maybe receive no reply at all, however if you're truly a match made in heaven then it's possible this approach could lead somewhere.

9. Be patient

Finding the perfect job can take time, but you will get there in the end. Whilst you wait, remember to keep fit and relaxed, unwind in your spare time and retain a sense of perspective. Ultimately there's always more to life than work.

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