Five ways to target your job search

find a job

If you're one of the thousands of people working hard to find a job, sending off tens of applications a week and still not finding employment, you can end up feeling very demoralised.

Don’t despair! It could be that a handful of carefully crafted, targeted applications will work far better for you than a scattergun approach. “Apply for everything, something will work out”... doesn't in reality often work out. So, how do you go about targeting your job search?

Here are our top tips:

1. Focus: decide exactly what it is you want to do. This can be particularly hard if you’ve had experience in many areas and no one discipline stands out, but you will find (strangely) that it can significantly help your job search to narrow down your options. If you don’t have a particular passion for one area, or have interests in many different things, ask your friends and family what they think you are best at.

2. If you choose to ignore the point above, and decide to focus on two or more different types of role, then you need to have a different CV for every type of role you apply for. For example, you may be equally happy in an external marketing/PR job as an internal communications role – make up two different CVs, with each one carefully worded so it highlights your suitability for that particular type of role.

3. Write a good covering letter (or email message, if you are applying directly through the Timewise Jobs site). Your covering letter is your first chance to impress and if you don’t say the right thing, your application could go straight in the “no” pile without your potential employer even looking at your CV. Introduce yourself in a positive way (“Experienced project manager” or “Award-winning web designer”) and then go on to state exactly why you think you’re right for them. If you have always been a fan of the company or brand then say so. If you’re not sure exactly why you want the job, take a look at the company website, or Google them, to find out more. Try to identify some common ground or values and think carefully about what you can say that suggests you might be a good match. 

4. Read the job specification carefully: if you don’t nod “yes” to at least 70 per cent of the required skills/ experience, then don’t apply – you will be wasting your time as well as the employer’s. If you consistently find that you don’t have the relevant skills for the jobs you want, consider retraining or volunteering to get the experience you need.

5. Be realistic about what you have to offer: you will need to back up any claim with factual evidence at interview so there is no point in over-egging your CV. Bear in mind that the jobs advertised on Timewise Jobs are for people who already have proven skills, with some decent career experience under their belts. If you are using our site to find an entry level or unskilled part time job, you may never find a role that suits. You could try one of the large, general online jobs boards – and come back to us when you’re looking for your next move.

Good luck with your job search!

For further advice on how to search for jobs effectively, take a look at the free careers advice packs on Women Like Us.


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