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Looking to change jobs? Preparation is key.

Looking to change jobs? Preparation is key.

So, you’ve decided to start looking for a new job.  While there are an increasing number of opportunities out there for all levels of experience, it’s worth remembering that you’re not alone in your job hunting – recruiters receive a large number of applications for vacancies and your challenge is to stand out from the crowd.  Some preparation work early in in your search will help you position yourself effectively for that perfect opportunity.


Take a critical look at your CV.


When was the last time you updated your CV?  Does it reflect your skills, experience and achievements effectively and does it position you for the next step up the ladder?

It’s worth looking at your CV from a recruiter’s perspective.  You may understand what you mean but will it be clear to someone who doesn’t know you? It’s worth asking a trusted friend to review your latest draft and provide constructive criticism.


Also take some time to review your spelling and grammar – mistakes can be taken as a lack of attention to detail.  It’s easy to overlook typos if you skim read your CV and don’t rely on a spellchecker to spot them for you. Take the time to read each word carefully.  Reading backwards is a good way of spotting errors.


Look at job descriptions for the type of role you’re interested in.


Make a point of understanding what employers are looking for by reviewing a number of job descriptions for the roles and industries you’re targeting.  This will help you identify what skills are in demand and, more importantly, the keywords you should use in your CV and online profile.  Remember that recruiters are likely to use keywords to help them sift through volumes of applications and will also use them to search for candidates online.


Customise your CV.


If you’re looking at a range of roles and/or industries, it’s worth developing several versions of your CV to draw out different, relevant skills and experience as well as reflecting the different language used.  Getting this done as early as possible in your job hunt means you’ll be able to respond quickly to opportunities.


Check your online profile.


Does your LinkedIn profile reflect what you say on your CV?  Remember, some recruiters and interviewers may take a look at your profile.  Inconsistencies may raise alarm bells.


Armed with the keywords you’ve identified in your review of job descriptions, make sure you use these in your online profile.


Check your net rep.


If you’re active on social media sites like Facebook, make a point of reviewing your privacy settings and setting them to the highest level – restricting access to your trusted friends only.  Photographs, jokes and comments can say a lot about the type of person you are and may mean that interviewers form an unwanted impression of you.


If you’re trying to position yourself as an expert, join online communities (such as LinkedIn groups) and start commenting on discussion threads. Consider setting up a blog to share your views on your area of expertise but remember you will need to devote time to keeping it fresh and building content. There are several easy to use, free blogging publishing tools available, including blogger.com.

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