How to plan your job search
Since the onset of the Great Recession and the growth of significant unemployment in Bermuda, many Bermudians have understood that it is better to take or stay in a job, even if it is not exactly what they want (or does not pay exactly what they think they are worth), than to be unemployed for any length of time.
As the economy slowly improves, job seekers, and those looking for a change, may now wish to start looking for jobs that are better suited to their talents and which offer the possibility of a meaningful and fulfilling career.
Some of the same pressures still exist, of course, and it is wise not to hold out too long for the perfect job when a good job is offered. Similarly, people looking for a change who are already employed would be wise to stay in their current job until they find something else than to resign and then start looking — the jobs market may be better, but it is hardly buoyant.
Whether you are unemployed and looking for work, or if you are looking for a change, here are some tips to help you in your job hunt.
Review and update your CV (resume): emphasise areas where you have performed well. There are good CV templates online.
Proofread it: make sure there are no errors, either in spelling or chronology. Careless mistakes send the wrong message to your potential employer.
It’s about performance: remember to highlight your achievements and areas of high performance. You didn’t just make sales calls — you converted 70 per cent of them into actual sales, or you did not just handle the mail, you came up with a time-saving approach to mail handling.
Upgrade your skills: if you haven’t used XL much in your current role (or you haven’t used a common software at all), now’s the time to learn. There are courses online and through local providers which will help you.
The job search
Use all forms of media: the newspaper is still a valuable resource for finding job vacancies, but the internet and social media are critical too. LinkedIn is an especially powerful tool. If you are not on it, you should be (but remember, LinkedIn is not Facebook — this is not the place for pictures of the cute kitten or the slightly off-colour joke).
Visit employment agencies: employment agencies have access to employers and vacancies and specialise in matching the right person with the right job. They can also do skill assessments, help you with your CV and more.
Network, network, network: Your friends, family and past and present colleagues remain your best source of leads and referrals.
Be sensible: Don’t apply for every job you see. If you are clearly unqualified for a job, you are wasting everyone’s time in sending in an application.
Proofread your CV and cover letter: Putting the name of a different employer on your application, misspelling your previous employer’s name or giving incorrect contact information will end your job hunt quickly.
Don’t delay sending in your application: unless you have a genuine reason, sending your application in at the last minute suggests you are a last-minute kind of person — not the person your employer wants to hire.
Tailor your CV for the job you are applying for: highlight the strengths the job requires. But don’t leave out past jobs or important information. A gap will raise questions.
Research your prospective employer: When you are interviewed, show you know something about the organisation and have some intelligent questions ready. And remember, you are interviewing an employer as much as they are interviewing you.
Don’t come in your pyjamas: dress appropriately. It shows respect and enables you to present a professional demeanour.
Be on time: showing up late for an interview sends the wrong message. Arrive five minutes early, and if you’re not sure where the employer is located, find out before you are supposed to be there.
Be your best you: be yourself, but present a positive outlook.
It’s not about the money: obviously, you need to earn an income, but your employer wants to hear what you can do for the business, and asking about pay at the first interview can be a turn-off. There will be time to discuss terms if you are offered the job.
Be grateful: remember to send an e-mail thanking the interviewer for their time, but wait a few days to check on progress. Showing enthusiasm is good, but stalking your potential employer will not help you.
Bill Zuill is a director of Bermuda Executive Services Ltd, named by The Bermudian magazine as Bermuda’s best employment agency in 2015. This and other columns can be found on www.bermudaemployment.com</i>
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