Careers: Job Searching
Note: this section is not intended to replace advice given by a careers guidance service. If you have access to a guidance & information service, you should make use of that: advice from a dedicated and specialist service is always better.
This guide will talk about the basic steps in searching for a job. The more effort you put into this, the easier it might be to find a job.
You should have a good idea of what you want to do, but if you don't, then there a few online tools - personality and aptitudes tests - that you can use to help you think about what kind of job might suit you. Some of these tools can be found on the links page. Their effectiveness is up for discussion, but they might make you think a wee bit more about what you want to do.
Don't approach the job search half-heartedly. You need a plan. There is no one plan for everybody to follow because everybody does things differently. However, an effective job searching plan should include some (or all!) of the following:
- Keeping your Curriculum Vitae updated so that it is appropriate for jobs you wish to apply for
- Having a template cover letter that you can customise to each application that you make
- Compiling a list of jobs that you can and do want to apply for
- Finding out where relevant job vacancies are advertised.
- Looking at the job description and responsibilities in job ads and matching them to your skills and abilities
- Thinking about keywords to use to search online
- Attending jobs and careers fairs
- Networking - let all of your contacts know that you're looking for work
- Sending your CV to companies that you'd like to work for
- Joining social media sites - especially LinkedIn
- Registering with local employment services - e.g., Intreo
- Registering with recruitment agencies
- Signing up for email alerts from job sites
- Keeping a diary of all of your job searching activities
- Doing some background research on companies in your area of interest
Where are jobs advertised?
Jobs can advertised in a number of different places, such as:
There's a lot of places to look - it could be the equivalent of a full-time job in itself. Think about creating a schedule; there's little point in looking at every source every day.
Some jobs are never advertised. You might read that 70-80% of vacancies are not advertised, but this appears to be a myth, but there are many jobs that are filled without being advertised. It costs money time and effort to advertise, interview and recruit and some companies prefer to:
- Employ someone who has made a speculative application
- Use a referral or recommendation to fill a role
- Target potential employees through LinkedIn or other social media platforms
Jobs not being advertised can have a bit of an impact on your searching. To overcome this, you need to:
- network - tell everyone you know that you're looking for work
- attend job fairs like Careers Zoo or Jobs Expo Ireland
- make speculative applications (i.e send your CV to companies who are not currently advertising vacancies)
- join LinkedIn and think about joining other social media platforms
Searching needs a bit of thought, as described elsewhere it's a process. You should think about using the following keywords and phrases when searching:
- Job title: the simplest search - what is the title of the job that you want? Do bear in mind that what you call the job and what a company will call the job might be different!
- Field or industry: searching for these will probably give you too many results, but you can look at the descriptions and then use words or phrases to narrow down your search
- Location: where do you want to work? There's probably an option to limit your search by location
- Field-specific skills, tools, and jargon: every trade and profession has its own set of words that it uses to describe duties, roles and functions of a job in the field. Try searching for words and phrases used in your job area.
- Company names: perhaps you want to work for a specific company: search for the name directly. Also look at their LinkedIn page and the careers section of their website.
If you are looking for a job:
- Try to stay positive: it's a bit of a cliche, but the process will take as long as it takes, which is to say, it may longer than you think.
- Stay focused: it can be a bit of a slog, and will require you to put in a bit of effort and keep putting in that effort
- Try to stay calm: you'll get there in the end!