Recently graduated? Just qualified or actively looking for work? Or just stuck in a rut and needing inspiration? These tactics for optimising your next steps will get your career off the ground.
Your CV is the most important document in your life
Unless you’re a borderline literary genius with a flair for creative writing, a background in recruitment and a talent for dispassionate self-awareness, you will probably benefit from engaging the services of a professional CV writing firm. Your CV should be elegant, impactful, and persuasive, with a laser focus on skills relevant to your target role. It’s best to use common non-serif fonts – Georgia, Calibri, Arial, etc. – as these are easier to read on computer screens and won’t confuse the software that recruitment companies use. Most importantly, check, double-check then get someone else to proof; a CV with typos, spelling mistakes and badly written English is likely to be swiftly and ruthlessly penalised by rejection.
Make a plan and stick to it
You need to know where you want your career to go next. Give yourself a purpose and you will want to make the next job move. Research your dream job, environment or industry and get excited about a change. If you decide on an enormous life-changing shift, break the move down into manageable pieces to avoid being overwhelmed. Positivity and optimism are key here, and not letting go of your end goal is vital.
Develop and protect your online presence
The first thing a prospective interviewer will do if they’re interested in your CV is look you up on LinkedIn, so make sure the photograph is as appealing and professional as you can make it. Keep the information in your profile succinct, relevant and up to date. It’s also a good idea to check your privacy settings on other sites, particularly Facebook; that picture of you ‘celebrating’ at a wedding is not going to send the right message to potential employers.
Look in the right places
Sign up to all the online job websites which are relevant to your industry, for example GAAPweb for the accounting & finance sector. Cultivate your personal and professional networks; think about everyone you know well enough to ask for help, and what they do, and who they know. Ask as many people as you can if they know of any companies who are likely to be looking for candidates with your background. Employers are increasingly using LinkedIn to place job adverts directly so make sure that you follow companies that you like the look of.
Practise, practise, practise
Avoid at all costs the nightmare scenario of being asked what you like about this company, and having nothing in the tank for response. It’s not difficult to check the ‘news’ section of a company website, or to google their name or products on business news websites. Make sure you have a printed copy of your CV and any application forms you might have submitted, as well as a copy of the job description. Prepare your answers to the obvious questions – strengths, weaknesses, summaries of each role – and ensure your responses to each of these are succinct and relevant, lasting no more than two or three minutes each. The cardinal interviewing sin? Waffle. Being boring and droning on at length about irrelevant detail will ruin your chances. If you can’t be interesting, be brief; and showing knowledge about the role, the company and, if you can, the interviewer themselves, will stop that happening.
The City CV team has over 100 years’ collective experience in professional CV writing and interview coaching, and can help you boost your career with a portfolio of job search documents and skills. To find out what our CV writers, consultants and coaches can do for you, call +44 20 7100 6656 or send an email to [email protected].