How to land your ideal job
These are tough times for jobseekers, but the fundamentals of the job market haven’t changed. You might just need to be prepared to wait a bit longer to land your ideal job.
So what are the key things to remember?
1. Focus on your goals
Think about your long-term goals and ambitions. Plenty of people snap up the first offer they get and find themselves bored and unfulfilled a couple of years down the line. So take time to think, and make sure you're looking for a job you really want. Our career options page will give you some guidance.
2. Be realistic
It's great to aim high, but you also need to be realistic. You're unlikely to leap straight into your ideal job, so keep an eye out for opportunities that could be stepping stones to your long-term goals. Do some research on the latest business trends too, and in particular the impact of the current economic climate. A job in financial services, for example, might be far harder to get than one in the energy sector, which has been buoyed by the search for renewable energy sources.
3. Mind the gap
Gaps don’t look good on your CV, and a "rest" period of more than a month or so should definitely be avoided. A part-time job or temporary position is better than nothing at all, and could lead to bigger things as the economy recovers and the company expands. Covering a period of maternity leave, for example, is an excellent way to get a foot in the door. And if you have significant experience in your field, think about whether you could set yourself up as a freelancer.
4. Use your network
Most people have a bigger network of contacts than they think. So get back in touch with old friends, schoolmates, family members and ex-colleagues to ask about openings. Try extending your network, too. Instead of just replying to vacancies, take the initiative and tap into the so-called hidden jobs market by sending off your CV on spec. Even if you don't land a job, you will have started a dialogue with a potential future employer.
Make sure you're registered with relevant employment agencies, too, and phone them once a week, just to remind them you’re still looking. Register on networks such as LinkedIn because it could prove to be a great way of finding a job or connecting with people that could give you a helping hand.
5. Build up your skills
If you're short on skills for the job you want, think about going back into full-time study or doing a short course to make yourself more employable. Volunteering is another way to boost your skills. The same organization that's unwilling to take you on as a paid employee might be delighted to have your help for a few hours a week as a volunteer, and in return give you valuable experience.
6. Reboot your CV
Are you really selling yourself as strongly as you could? Does your CV make the most of your skills, achievements and abilities? Check out our guide to your CV to ring the changes. And don't neglect your covering letter either, since this is the first chance for you to showcase your talents to prospective employers.
7. Stay positive
Filling in application forms, dealing with rejections and a constant lack of ready cash can all be rather dispiriting. But you're not alone. If you have friends who are also looking for work, try meeting for lunch or chatting regularly over the phone to pool ideas and keep each other motivated.
This information was supplied by the Institute of Physics, which offers a range of careers advice and resources for people with a background in physics.