The job market in the UK is pretty turbulent right now, which means that the job hunt is increasingly competitive. ONS Statistics suggest that there could be as many 330,000 less jobs available (40% less than a year ago) but that things are beginning to pick up again. Whether you're out of work and seeking a role, or eager to transition from your current position, looking for work right now can feel overwhelming. Lee Shorter, from the team at Aquent Sydney, has some useful advice on how to stay motivated.
Have a plan and know what you really want to get out of your job search
Would you consider freelance work? Would you be open to a contract and if so, what would be the minimum length that you would consider? Or are you solely focused on finding your next permanent opportunity? Really knowing what you want to get out of your search will help you stay focused and achieve your goal. You should also know the type of role that you would be ideally suited for, or that you want to get into. Don't just send out multiple applications, willy-nilly, to any job ad because you think that you could do it. There are obviously a lot of experienced people who have found themselves out of work at the moment. There are hundreds of applications for every job. Make sure that you are staying focused on what you would be the best fit for and that you're not setting yourself up to disappointment by just applying to any job that you find on LinkedIn.
Stay focused on your search and treat it as a priority
If getting back into work is your priority, you need to make it your priority. So don't get distracted. Don't think, I need to do the shopping today, and then I've got to go to the gym, and I'll just pop to the post office. Jobs are not just going to come to you, so be dedicated. Set yourself a time every day to stay focused on your job search. Apply to some roles. Reach out to some connections on LinkedIn. Re-engage with the recruiters that you registered with. Having a plan and dedication to finding your next role is really going to benefit you.
Keep a record of all of the roles that you're applying for
Keep an Excel spreadsheet of every job ad you applied to and the date that you applied. This will help you stay organised and allow you to follow up on all of those applications that you've made.
Here's another tip on how to correctly manage the follow-up process. It's a three point plan.
- Quite often, if the role is on LinkedIn, it will have details of the hiring manager that's responsible for that ad, so make a note of that person.
- The second part of the follow-up is that if you haven't received a response, whether it be a phone call or an email within the first couple of days of making the application, follow-up with a LinkedIn request to the person who is hiring for that role. That way, you're getting back in front of them and they'll see your name again.
- If they connect with you and you still haven't received a phone call, you still haven't received an email, and you still haven't received a message to your LinkedIn connection, send them a message saying:
"I've noticed that you're advertising for this role. I've submitted an application and I'd be really pleased if you could just take a look at my LinkedIn profile and see if I might be a match for this position."
Three points of contact; you've got your application, your follow-up LinkedIn requests, and your follow-up message - which should all then result in that person being inclined to speak to you because you're consistently putting yourself in front of them.
Really know your worth
It can be quite disheartening if you're sending out lots of applications and you're getting no responses or interviews. Or you're having interviews and you're not getting callbacks, or you’re unsuccessful.
Think about everything that you've achieved throughout your professional career, long or short. I'm sure there are multiple achievements and great things that you've done. Just because you've been unsuccessful with a job search, or you're out of work at the moment, it doesn't devalue those achievements in any way.
You're still competent, you're still capable and you should really know your own worth. What you should not do is drop your usual rates or salary expectations by a great deal, just because you think that it might make a company more inclined to hire you.
For example, if you get approached about a role and you're asked for your salary expectations, don't say anything like, "In my previous role, I was on £40k, but I would consider £25k or £30k given the state of the job market."
Know your worth, stick to your value. If there needs to be flexibility with the salary, you can manage that at the end of the process, but don't do that from the outset because you're devaluing your experience and your achievements. If you're somebody who’s been working for a long period and have never really had to change roles or focus on a job search, then you might not really know what to ask for. There are good tools out there so you can benchmark. Use a salary guide like this one, which gives you a better indication of how your salary compares to others and what the current market rate is.
Control the process
Stay in control of the parts of the job search process that you're able to control. The amount of jobs out there right now and which companies are hiring, can't be controlled by you. But what can be controlled is the way that you approach your job search. So making sure that you're making those applications to suitable jobs, making sure that you are following up on any applications that you've made, your attitude to your job search as well, that can be controlled.
We've all seen posts on LinkedIn from job seekers getting disheartened and going on a bit of a rant, but is that going to positively affect your job search in any way? Probably not. So just making sure that you're making those applications, you're following up, you're staying positive, you're doing all of the things that you know are likely to result in you getting a job. If you control those things, it's going to be much more likely that the desired outcome is the one that you want.
We've also got lots of tools available to help you up-skill. If you're out of work at the moment and you want to do some digital courses to get job ready, we've got Aquent Gymnasium - our online learning platform - with plenty of excellent resources available.
We're here to help
For anybody who’s out of work, we know it's hard. If there's any help and support that Aquent can provide, our teams are available for those that need us, particularly those working in the digital marketing, creative and development space.