Finding work: what you need to know

 The basic essentials of effective job hunting remain constant regardless of job markets. However, in tougher economic circumstances you not only have to work harder to find a job, but you also have to work smarter and be more flexible in your approach.
   The Observer on Sunday spoke with Lindsey Gordon of Stepping Stones recruitment agency, who gave a few tips on what employers are looking for, as well as some tried strategies for prospective employees.
   “When job searching, it is imperative to utilize all opportunities available to you. Newspaper advertisements, recruitment consultancies, the internet, as well as your own personal contacts, may all prove to be invaluable in this regard,” she said.
   Speaking with family and friends, in addition to extending your network by conversing directly with employers can also lead to uncovering unadvertised opportunities, according to Gordon.
   She added, “When using the internet, persons should avoid spending lots of time on job boards, as fewer vacancies mean increased numbers of applicants and it may be more effective to target employers’ own websites and registering for updates on new openings.”
    Other suggestions experts say can help in finding a job are increasing the number of applications you submit and remembering that your resume is your introduction to a company; so try to think of it as a marketing tool with the explicit purpose of winning an interview.
   Most authorities on the job searching insist that resumes must be concise and easy to read; highlighting your educational achievements, skills and experience and educational experience.
   It is also important to remember that structure is crucial when preparing a resume- with education and past employment in reverse chronological order- starting with the most recent first.
   These may seem like obvious points to many but Gordon stresses, “we cannot take for granted that people will know the basics.”
   She added that a resume is not a “static” document and should be tailor made for each position a person is applying for.
   In addition, making sure your contact details are displayed clearly and correctly, as well as double checking spelling and grammar will help in presenting a person as diligent, detail oriented and conscious.
   Most professional recruiters also agree that using coloured paper, fancy fonts and pictures all detract from the information you are trying to convey.
   If you are applying on-line, try to think about the effect your e-mail address will have on a potential employer. Gordon points out, “[email protected] may not be the best choice to show one in a professional light.”
   Resumes should be accompanied by a cover letter, which is relevant to the position and respective organization, explaining why an individual is the best candidate for a particular job – check that it is properly addressed.
   According to Vice President, Financial Services for CML Offshore Recruitment Isy Obi, the worst thing a person can do is begin to feel despondent after doing everything in their power to secure a job.
   “It is best to re-evaluate your job search strategy and try a fresh approach when things are not going your way,” she said.
   Obi gives  a few suggestions of areas to look at again to make sure that you are impressing every potential employer approached and to putting yourself ahead of the competition:
   1. Don’t put anything on your CV that is untrue, as it may come back to haunt you during the interview or on the job.
   2. Make sure you able to explain employment gaps in your resume.
   3. Ensure that that you know exactly what is required for any job you apply for. If you do not have experience in the area, you can use the internet to study job adverts or discuss the position in detail with someone already in that line of work.
   Interview Techniques
   According to Obi, when participating in an interview, people should:
   1. Make eye contact, give a firm handshake and offer a suitable greeting.
   2. Remember to smile and try to relax.
   3. Project confidence by sitting up straight and looking attentive, as well as making sure the interviewer does not have to strain to hear what you are saying.
   Obi goes on to say, “One word answers such as “yes” or “no” are not sufficient and answers should be supported with real life examples if possible.
   Your interview is not an opportunity to make a fashion statement says Obi, who adds that when signing off, “Ask the interviewer what the next steps are and when you can expect to hear from them.”
   Always try to have at least two questions for the person conducting the interview and make sure to thank them for their time; these are important strategies recruiters say cannot be underestimated.
    Finally, ask for feedback after an interview even if you were not successful, as this can be very valuable and helpful for future opportunities.
   Using a recruitment agency
   Recruitment consultants have an in depth knowledge of the job market and a variety of opportunities can be available at any time.
   Many Consultancies work with a broad range of industries and might also able to put persons in touch with companies they have never heard of.
   Agencies can also save time, (you only have to apply once to have access to a number of opportunities and there is no financial cost to the job seeker.)
   Persons are often asked to provide additional paperwork to agencies including references and police clearances; this is standard in most cases.
   In all, securing a job can be an exhausting, but rewarding task- the completion of which can be said to be enough in and of itself. However, once an individual has joined the workforce, he/she can begin to shape their own lives, as well as help to contribute to society and the meaningful development of all.
   On  8 September, there will be a coffee, cake and careers evening, open to the public,  at the CML Offshore Recruiting offices in the Grand Pavilion.