June 14, 2013, by NUBS Postgraduate Careers

Stop! Look! Listen!

By Beth Cooper

Exams over? No job for September? Panic time? No! It may seem like time is pressing but that doesn’t mean that all your planning must go out of the window and the secret to success is applying for as many jobs as possible. It may be counter-intuitive but when it comes to applying for job roles, less is often more. The more you apply for, the less thought is likely to have gone into your application. Multiple applications for the same company are often out-right rejected because there appears no thought on your part. By not preparing properly, you may find that your opportunity with a potential employer is lost by approaching it in the wrong way and not taking time. If you have one hit with an organisation, you want to give it your best shot. So what should you do?


Take time to think about where your focus is going to be. What is your most important driver? Is it where the role is located? What you will be doing? Who you are working for? By thinking about what your biggest motivation is, you can identify on what you are willing to compromise. It will also enable you to formulate a strategy with the greatest chance of success. For example, if the most important thing to you is to work in the UK, then your highest chance of employment is a role based on your previous experience, ideally tied to the geographic and sector knowledge you already have. If going to a different area of work, your focus will be different. Your own network will be essential as companies will be reluctant to hire an ‘unknown’ quantity and it is extremely difficult to get across your suitability on your CV. In such a sustained economic downturn, this risk aversion by companies tends to increase, not least because they have a heightened choice of those with relevant work experience in the marketplace.


Do searches on LinkedIn to see what the profiles are of the people who are doing the role or working in the area you wish to do so. Do your skills and experience match this? What roles are being advertised by the companies either on LinkedIn, their own websites or through recruitment agencies? Of course, we talk of the hidden job market but when companies do advertise it tends to be either for roles they have been unable to fill from their more conventional routes or they have ongoing high demand in these areas and are therefore always open for applications. It is an easy way to get a sense of where demand is within the organisation. Find events and associations where you can meet with people already working in the field to help you find out more and build up your network.


What has your thinking time and research told you? Do you have the right skills and experience for what they are looking and what others already working in the field have? If you do, make sure your CV reflects this (and importantly, your LinkedIn profile) and uses the same terminology. If not, what can you do about this to help get you where you want to be? Is it realistic and achievable or do you need a different approach? Listen to what those in the industry, your friends, your careers consultant, classmates and former colleagues are telling you. Value the advice of those who have achieved what you are looking to do, even if it may not be what you want to hear. It can save you much soul-searching and heartbreak in the short term and allow you to focus your time and energies on success rather than rejection.

No one is unemployable but neither does anyone else value your career as importantly as you do. If you need any further support with these processes, please contact the Business School Postgraduate Careers Service for an appointment.

Posted in Experienced recruitmentPostgraduate