Updated: Jul 5
The job application process.
Possibly the most soul-destroying and thankless task of the whole Return to Work journey. Hours spent scrolling through job boards and applying for roles that sound amazing (or not) only to be rejected or ignored over and over again.
But, with a bit of thought and planning, it can be made smoother, more efficient and (hopefully) shorter. Here are our top 10 tips for finding the right job sooner.
1. Be clear about the kind of job you want. Understanding the types of roles that will help you achieve your goals (worked through in module 1) will help you run a much more efficient application process. You will be more focused, have clear direction and have more success.
2. Have the right CV. One that genuinely reflects how good you are at what you do and will appeal to the recruiter/hiring manager. If you're applying for different roles, PA and bookkeeping, for example, have a PA CV and a bookkeeping CV that are focused on the skills and experiences relevant to those jobs. If you need more clarification, take advantage of our free CV review service. Email your CV with some notes on the kind of job you are looking for to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Work out which are the right job boards/recruiters for you. Again, taking a little time to figure out which job boards have the right opportunities for you will save you a lot of
time in the long run. You can do this by keeping track of which job you applied for on which job board, and so build up an idea of which are the most fruitful sites for you, or you can use Google Jobs. Search for the job you want on google, and it will bring up a list of opportunities along with the advertised role's website. By doing this, you might find a specialist job board you didn't know about or a recruiter that regularly recruits the kind of role you are looking for.
4. Set up Job Alerts. Most job boards and recruiters have job alerts. You can typically set them up for role type, salary level and location; some sites will even send you roles specific to a company. Doing this makes the AI systems work for you to identify possible opportunities, giving you more time to do other things. Such as...
5. Tailor your CV to each and every job you apply for. You might think this will take up a lot of time, but invest 10 minutes here, and you will have a much more positive response from recruiters, which will save you hours in the long run. All you need to do is to ensure your CV mirrors the advert. If the ad asks for diary management, short-hand and an understanding of cloud accounting software, then make sure the first 3 bullet points in your most recent relevant job are diary management, short-hand and cloud accounting software. Again, if you're unsure, utilise our free CV review service.
6. Follow up your application with a phone call. Recruiters are, on the whole, a very busy bunch that tend to focus on the next most urgent task. Make their lives easier by giving them a call explaining why you are suitable for the role. This will put your application at the top of the pile and significantly increase your chances of being interviewed.
7. Remember what you have applied for. Few things will ruin your chances more than the
phrase, "I've applied for so many roles that I've forgotten which one this is." You have essentially said this role isn't that special, I'm not that interested, and it is not important to me. Not the best first impression. Instead, make some notes about what you've applied for and why, so when the recruiter calls you, you sound organised, engaged and like you want the job.
8. Prepare yourself for a marathon, not a sprint. It might sound a little pessimistic, but preparing for a marathon and finding a job quickly is much easier to deal with mentally than hoping to find a job in a few weeks and it taking months.
9. Focus on the positives. It can be all too easy to get fed up and frustrated about looking for a job, to get lost in the negatives and 'what ifs'. It is important that focus on the positives and to be kind to yourself. If you only find a couple of jobs that are of interest, then focus on the fact that you found some jobs of interest! If you apply for 10 jobs and get just one phone call, then choose to be happy about that one call.
10. Look after yourself. As I've said, spending days applying for roles can be soul-destroying. Trust me, I've been there. Looking after yourself is possibly the most underappreciated but also the most important part of the application process.
Develop a routine that limits your job search to 1-2 hours per day, and then make sure you have other things planned, so you feel that you've had a useful and productive day. Learn a new skill, volunteer, spend quality time with your family, go for a run, or anything that will take your mind off job applications. These will all positively impact your mental health, so when you get that phone call from a recruiter/hiring manager, you sound positive, upbeat and ready to Return to Work.
Like all skills, some of these take a little practice. Put the time and effort in early, and you will reap the rewards of a more effective and easier job application process sooner.
As always, we are here to help and support so please drop us a line if you have any questions about Returning to Work or finding the right company for you.