With the intense competition for jobs that exists today it is more important than ever to adopt a clear focused and organised approach to job hunting and interview preparation. In this column Catherine Fox, Cavan Institute, will focus on the planning your career, undertaking the job search, drafting a CV, completing application forms and going for job interviews. This month she outlines how to commence the job search.
It is essential that you spend time and effort in planning your career and your job search. In this era of high unemployment there is an increasing tendency towards constant up-skilling and thus the competition is more intense in the jobs market. The job search should not start the minute you leave college or when you lose your job. By developing a comprehensive list of what you have to offer and keeping up to date with the trends in the jobs’ market you will be able to hit the ground running when you are seeking a new position.
Your qualification may no longer be a passport to a job in the sector you had planned to work in so it is advisable to seek some help. There are many different organisationswho will help you identify the career area you should focus upon. So take time to take stock. Start with friends and family, they know you best, ask their opinion. Avail of the Careers Advice from the Adult Guidance service at your local VEC or if you are in college seek assistance from the Career Advisors. There are also many other experts that can help focus your search, talk to recruitment specialists, talk to people in industries and companies that you think you may have an interest in.
Your education and training and past experience will determine the options that are available to you but it is also important to focus on you own skills and interests.
Think about the things in life that you really enjoy. See if they can be fitted into a career path. List all the things that you would really like to do. Identify your strengths, and weaknesses, contrast these with the skills required in careers that you are interested in. Identify your priorities – is it location? The pay scale ?, The travel opportunities? The promotional prospectives? Or is it the challenges offered by the career ? For most people selecting a career is directly related to combining their qualifications with their interests, aptitude, personality and needs.
It is also very important to be aware of what you have to offer. You have particular skills, knowledge, achievements and aptitudes. Knowing what you have to offer will increase your morale and confidence and gives you a greater chance of success. By taking stock of yourself you can decide whether it is time to develop some of the skills you have or to develop new skills that more in demand in your sector. It is important to have a permanent record of:
- Your skills
- Areas that you need to develop
- The goals that you set for yourself
A written record will help in completing application forms, tailoring your CV for a job application and preparing for interviews.
How to take stock of yourself
Taking stock of yourself is a process of self-assessment and self-discovery leading to the production of a personal portfolio and a plan for future development. Taking stock of yourself is a structure approach to:
- Recognizing and recording achievements
- Clarifying person and career goals
- Assessing strengths and weaknesses
- Identifying learning needs
- Constructing personal and career-related development plans
- Developing and demonstrating transferable skills
- Reflecting on performance
So sit down and develop your own sales pitch, examine each entry on our CV from the point of view of the employer, ask yourself what skills have you developed from working in that job, completing that qualification or having that hobby that an employer might be interested in. Next month we will examine where to find that job.