It’s Sunday, and I’m glad about that. However, I’m not very thrilled it’s Monday tomorrow. Back to work… wait! I have no job, I’m unemployed, so what is this about? Turns out – looking for a job (especially in a country you just moved to) is a full-time job! Yes, I have flexible hours, I can take a day off if I like, I mostly ‘work from home’, but I don’t get paid and it takes so much energy. Let me tell you more!
Daily Routine Of A Job Seeker
For many people, it seems that unemployment is something to enjoy as it brings loads of free and fun time. For me and, I am quite sure, for many others such allegations are not true. Especially when the time is running out and it’s a matter of surviving on limited funds.
Each day for me starts with an early wake-up (between 7 and 8 AM), breakfast and some house chores. After that, I am fully devoted to the mission to land a new job as soon as possible. And that mission takes a well few hours each day.
Finding The Way Through Job Site Jungle
If I don’t have a job interview that day, I usually begin with browsing job sites. I go over the newest job ads to see which ones fit my profile, skills and expectations. Those who fit are put aside for later, while those who don’t – are easily forgotten. Unfortunately, the latter is the bigger pile and it takes a lot of time to sort them all out as there are many job sites out there.
What is very typical of the UK recruitment business – the job sites usually do not reveal who the employer is. This is understandable to a certain point… until it costs you your time. Many of the job sites have the same ads, and job seekers like me end up reading the same ads over and over again on different sites.
With time, of course, you get smarter and notice repeating ads quicker, however, some recruiting agents and agencies tend to use the same phrases and even full sentences to describe completely different companies! To avoid the possibility to miss out on a good job position, you end up reading them all and feeling a bit like a fool.
The Application Process
When I have gotten rid of all the ‘background noise’, I find my way to the smaller pile of job ads – the ones I find worth applying to. Not all of them are the same, therefore it’s not a smart thing to use the same CV and cover letter for every single position.
This doesn’t mean that I have several completely different CVs. Instead, what I usually do is stress out some skills more than others and describe specific knowledge and experience more thoroughly to fit the job description. Although I presume this can only be done if you have a varied career background to play around with and are applying to different positions that need different skills and experience.
However, the cover letter should be something you don’t copy + paste from application to application. Good news is – most of the job sites use built-in application platforms with pre-written cover letters. I totally do not suggest using the templates 1:1, however, they will give you an idea how long a letter should be.
I usually let them know who I am, why I am applying, give them a link to my LinkedIn profile (as it has way more information than my CV – projects’ portfolio, references etc.) and try to mention something that would make me a good or even outstanding candidate. The latter one might not always be possible though, as usually, you don’t even know which company is it that you would “fit so perfectly” in :)
Sending an application through doesn’t end the process for me – if you’re applying for many positions, it is worth keeping track of them all. There might be situations when you will get an email with no reference to a specific position. Therefore I keep all the auto-reply emails I get after applying (I suggest you create email labels or folders for this) or bookmark the job ads to be able to track the job descriptions. It is important to know what the requirements are, what is the salary band etc.
Communication With Recruiters
All the recruiting companies and recruiters themselves have different working methods and approaches, but there is one thing in common – they all will want to talk with you before putting you through for a position and a job interview with their client. For some, it is enough to give you a phone call and have an informal chat about your experience, skills, knowledge and expectations. Some will ask you to come in for an in-person meeting.
If you’re a valuable candidate to their business, they will make sure to let you understand that – more than one recruiter working to arrange your job interviews, constant reminders about your schedule, prep-meetings before you go in with a client, personality tests etc. I could go into more details about this, but that deserves a new blog post.
All in all – the more recruiters you get in touch with, the more time it will take for you to communicate with them all. Reviewing and giving feedback on the positions they send in, regular calls to check in and update on things, post-interview calls to discuss how it went – that takes time and, most importantly, your energy as well.
When If Gets To Interviewing…
Even though you have been constantly working on getting job interviews, when you finally get one – the job is only half-way done. You might as well go in unprepared, however, I never choose this option. If you totally don’t feel like you should spend your time preparing, then you most likely shouldn’t have agreed to the interview in the first place.
How to prepare for an interview? If it got arranged through recruiters, you should use them as a source of information – ask them who will you meet, what kind of person he or she is (or they are), what kind of person is the company looking for and other insights you could not otherwise get.
Make sure you know the job description to every single detail – you have to know what you are applying for. Also be sure to do a thorough research on the company – read their website from A to Z, search for any articles or interviews on Google. Some people will expect you to know where you are going, while others will be surprised you have read their blog. Either way, this will only do good for you.
I could share more tips on how to prepare yourself for a job interview, but that asks for a separate blog post – coming up within the next weeks.
To Sum Up…
The job search will take a lot of your time and a lot of your energy, but along the way, you will get more effective and confident in this process. Make sure you have time off and do something that energises and inspires you to keep on going. Even though some of the aspects of this job search frightens me, I learned to treat this as an opportunity for me to grow and become stronger as an individual and a professional, learn how to present myself and know my true value.
Note: This post originally appeared on Expat in MCR (expatinmcr.com) blog which has since been renamed to Dream Chaser (dreamchaserwrites.com).