Here’s your 7 step guide to reaching success when looking for a new job:
- Research – when you take the decision to start looking for a new role you really need to understand the industry and the roles you are applying for, make a start by looking at the types of roles you wish to apply for. Job descriptions and adverts are widely available online, by reading through them and understanding what is involved you will quickly identify the roles most relevant to you. Also spend some time researching the industries you wish to work in. Look at some of the larger corporate websites to gain a greater knowledge of what is hot at the moment as these will likely be the growth areas in that field. Start to match up your skill-set and exposure to relevant projects, make a note of these and use them as examples in your CV.
- Make a list – gather a list of the relevant role titles to your skill, and place in a spreadsheet to keep track of websites which yield good search results for them. As well as searching job boards, think about placing random searches into search engines as you will also bring up roles with direct employers too which you may have otherwise missed – a lot of employers will only advertise on their own websites.
- Focus – Ensure you are spending time on roles which you can meet a minimum of 90% of the criteria listed, this saves you wasting time on roles which you are unlikely to get into the short-list for and keeps your list down to a manageable size. It is important to streamline your applications so you can spend more time tweaking your CV and writing a cover letter for so you can yield more results. It is quality not quantity!
- Make another list – create another spreadsheet of roles you have applied to and through which websites, when etc. you need to be organised when you start receiving calls from HR / recruiters etc. it does make all the difference when you sound on the ball during these calls.
- Follow up – leave it a day or two after you make an application then call up the person handling your application. Check it has been received and offer to clarify anything further they may need to know. Round up the call by asking when you can expect to hear a response regarding your application – remain professional throughout, this includes speaking to receptionists etc. be friendly, clear, helpful and don’t let frustrations show. The person handling your application makes the decision whether to pass on your CV to clients/hiring managers so keep in mind they are testing you from the first point of application. Put yourself in their shoes – if you come across abrupt or desperate then they are highly unlikely to put your forward through fear of having their reputation soiled.
I have written a number of articles containing tips and advice based on assisting PM professionals in securing that all important next role, job hunting should be a structured approach and does take some planning. Although the job websites make applications easy with one click to apply functionality, however some planning and organisation is required if you want to truly reap a good harvest.
A key starting point is setting out how and what you are applying for, this article provides some great ideas on how to structure an approach to your applications.
Once you have put together an action plan you need to start visiting some of the PM specific job boards and agencies, here is a list of some very useful sites.
Next, once you have a list of roles you wish to apply for you should take some time to match up your relevant experience to the job advert / job description. A cover letter can make the difference between being seriously considered for a role and being placed in a rather hefty pile of rejection CVs. This article has an example of a cover letter which is written in response to a job description so you can really understand what detail you should be including.
I have said this before and I will say it again – don’t leave job applications to chance, with the market being flooded by applications it is important to make sure you are doing all you can to ensure your CV is being viewed positively. Taking the pepper gun approach of applying for everything just doesn’t work and can be detrimental to your endeavours – often making recruiters and hiring managers disregard your applications as soon as they see your name in their inbox again and that may well be the role you are well matched to but having seen you apply for lots of other roles which aren’t relevant to you, you have unwittingly given yourself a bad name / reputation.
Taking a targeted approach to applications will have your applications taken seriously and remembered for the right reasons.
Project Management is an integral part of any progressive organisation and as such bringing in new talent should always be at the forefront of your mind. There are many means of finding new potential employees for free through the use of social media such as twitter, LinkedIn, and personal websites. Therefore I don’t suggest you only look for fresh talent when a requirement becomes apparent in the business – you should look to get ahead of the game and anticipate where individuals can fit in to your strategic plan.
However once sign off for a new position has been made you should look to take a structured approach to attracting applications as well as going out to individuals.
- First of all you need to understand what key skills are required for the role – by writing a job description from scratch rather than using old descriptions, you will start to form a clear list of needs. Avoiding an extensive list which may put potential talent out of the running when you don’t actually need particular (old) skills.
- Then write a balanced advert which really attracts people to want to apply rather than being put off by everything you need from them – what can you offer them, this doesn’t just come down to remuneration. Think outside the box, such as training, coaching, work environment, social activities etc.
- Advertise – as popular as your company website may be, you need to reach out further afield and attract talent in through job adverts. There are PM specific job boards which don’t cost the earth to advertise on and will bring in the right talent as they are specific to the PM field. Also think about putting the feelers out on LinkedIn and on twitter etc.
- As hiring manager – you manage the application process.
- Once the applications start coming in – don’t work with a list of tick boxes as this could quickly discount a number of potentially great candidates. CVs are supposed to include all details but if your advert and job description aren’t clear enough or an application was made without tailoring to your role you may miss out. It is easy to say that the candidate does not have sufficient buy-in but at the end of the day there is little assistance for professionals to really understand what is required of them in a competitive market. Therefore the best CVs are getting all the attention not necessarily the best candidates.
- Work out an effective filtering system – even if this is an email response with specific questions to the candidate to answer, clearing up any missing details. Telephone interviews and skype interviews are a great way to filter out any uncertainties without using up precious time and resources.
Make sure you know from the outset what it is you really need and use your gut instinct when reviewing CVs, by introducing a filtering process in the initial stages you can really start to get together a strong shortlist of candidates for interview and ensure you are seeing the right people.