At a time when there are more than 2.5 million unemployed people in the UK, it can be incredibly difficult to find a job. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, there were 1.6 million people classified as unemployed. However, this figure rose sharply, peaking at 2.7 million in 2011 – and has fallen only slightly since then. Clearly then, it can be extremely difficult to secure your perfect job, especially at a time when there are sometimes more than 100 job seekers applying for a single vacancy.
According to research undertaken by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in October 2012, there are between 24 and 66 unemployed people per vacancy in retail, depending on the area of the country. However, there have been several reports of employers receiving a three-figure number of applications for a role.
So what can you do to make yourself stand out from the crowd and ensure you are picked ahead of numerous other candidates?
Get some experience
According to a study by High Fliers Research – a company investigating recruitment opportunities for university leavers – 36 per cent of jobs offered by employers in 2013 will be awarded to people who have already worked for them in some capacity.
As such, it is essential to get as much work experience as possible, even if this sometimes means taking on unpaid work placements or internships. Part-time work may be available or it may be possible to take on a role on a short-term, temporary contract – usually over Christmas or during the summer – allowing you to become familiar with the firm’s working practices.
In addition to ensuring you already have one foot in the door at a certain workplace, this experience will help to develop key skills that employers look for – such as teamwork, communication and organization. You should also take this opportunity to demonstrate how punctual and eager to work you are, as these are aspects that will be looked upon favorably and give you the edge over applicants who are not currently in similar positions.
Think carefully about your application
Whereas job seekers once speculatively handed their resume out to employers en masse, it is now quite common to see applicants copy and paste answers to online questionnaires and send the same resume to a number of different companies.
However, the need to tailor your application to the specific vacancy cannot be understated. This will really pay off in the long run and it is a far more effective use of your time to submit a handful of good, targeted applications than numerous identical ones.
As well ensuring your CV is specific to the particular role you are applying for, producing a cover letter that is unique to the company is also essential. You should look to make sure you make reference to the firm and why you want to work there, as well as highlighting the skills and experiences you possess that make you the ideal candidate.
Time spent researching the company will not be wasted, because you will need this information when it comes to the interview stage of the process. Simply looking at the firms’ websites for a few minutes will not provide you with the required insight, so investigate further to see if you can find out specific details relating to what they do, who they work with and who their competitors are. These are all details that will seriously impress a potential employer and the fact you have done the research shows you are keen to secure the job.
With the popularity of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook increasing drastically in recent years, people are putting more and more information about themselves on the internet. As a result, it has become common practice for employers to search an applicant’s name and find their social media profiles.
Therefore, it is vital you make sure they do not find anything that would put them off employing you. If you are applying for jobs in a certain sector, try to make posts that show your expertise in that area and shy away from making risky jokes or saying things that could be construed as offensive.
Jonathan Gordon is an enthusiastic blogger who writes for a number of websites including Slater & Gordon Lawyers.
- Common Job Search Mistakes That Locks You Out Of Job Interviews (karuanadorcas.wordpress.com)
- Stand out in competitive market (nzherald.co.nz)
- Your online reputation is, like, forever (stuff.co.nz)
- How to get a job in 2013 (roscreajobclub.wordpress.com)