We all know that networking, communicating and staying in touch keeps you open to new opportunities and up-to-date with the latest news. However, there are a few specific steps that every job seeker should take on board and put in to action to keep their career progressing in the right direction.
For the sake of this blog post, when I mention a touch point I mean a time when you make contact with someone who can help you achieve your goals. A touch point can be with anyone from a colleague, a previous employer to a recruitment agency – whoever they are, it’s a chance for you to progress and put yourself in the right position for future opportunities.
As a job seeker you will naturally network with and talk to lots of people but it’s picking out the best times to get in touch and the best people to be speaking to that will make all the difference. I’ve put together a list of five touch points that I think every job seeker should be aware of.
Talk – don’t just email
Getting across a sense of personality as well as your stronger soft-skills via an email or just your CV can be difficult. Without coming across overly informal, it’s a challenge for many job seekers to effectively portray their skillset beyond qualifications and experience. Of course, it’s important to highlight your soft skills in your CV and cover letter – highlight the fact that you’re enthusiastic about new, challenging projects or dedicated to achieving fantastic end results. But what is more important is that you back up these characteristics with evidence.
Pick up the phone and speak to a recruitment agency. Speaking via the phone is a much more sincere way of portraying your eagerness for a new role. Back up what you say in your CV and hopefully you will be invited to a preliminary interview with the recruiter – during which you should ensure you’re ready to highlight your soft skills too.
A recent JobsOutlook report highlighted that more and more employers are increasingly placing emphasis on attitude when employing young people. However, in my opinion this stretches to job seekers at any stage in their career journey. Make yourself a well-rounded individual and confirm what you say on paper on the phone and in person.
Keep lines of contact open after an interview
This is a slightly trickier one – so many people ask, when is a good time to get back in touch with a recruiter after an interview? A proactive recruitment agency will be in touch with their client soon after an interview and they will in turn be honest with you about how the employer thought the interview went.
When a recruiter emails you to ask how an interview went, or they call to check in to hear your opinion, make sure you’re honest. Let them know how you think things went, whether you got a good feeling from the employer and if the interview ended on a positive note. If you didn’t think the position would be for you, after having attended the interview, let the recruiter know. There’s no point in just playing along if you have no intention of accepting a job offer as a result.
If you haven’t heard back from a recruitment agency within a week, give them a call and simply ask if they had had any feedback from the employer. Although it may not be the news you wanted, it will keep you at the forefront of the recruiters mind when it comes to the next interview opportunity.
Stay in touch with a select recruitment agency
When you have found a recruitment agency that really understands your ambitions, career plans and where you would be well placed it’s actually very beneficial to stay in touch with them.
This doesn’t mean your recruitment agency will be staying in touch with you to find you another placement after they’ve found you a role. But it does mean that they will be familiar with you and your career path. If and when the time arises for you to begin the job hunt again, your recruitment agency of choice will be well on the way to finding you the perfect role.
Once you’ve found a fantastic role, if it’s in HR then staying in touch with a recruitment agency will have added value to your career in a different sense. If you were impressed with the recruitment agency’s proactive approach, their understanding of your ambitions and their ability to match you to the right job role then it will be worthwhile keeping them in mind when you address your current organisation’s recruitment needs. You can see examples of how this works in action in some of our candidate to client case studies.
Make the most of LinkedIn
Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date all the time – whether your actively job hunting or not. This is a slightly different touch point to the others, as it’s via a social media channel as oppose to speaking in person or by phone.
Be sure to add new skills, make new endorsements and interact in industry groups. It’ll make you stand out as proactive and passionate about your career.
Get in contact with your referees
Think ahead – a recruitment agency or employer will ask for your references at some point, and hopefully soon. When you sign up to a recruitment agency, they will greatly appreciate it if you have your references sorted and ready to go. After all, it will make it a much smoother process as they place you into a new role.
When you want to use someone as a reference, be sure to contact him or her first – it’s often just common courtesy. Plus, it means they will be more proactive in responding to a reference request because they will simply be more prepared for it.
On top of that, it gives you a great opportunity to reconnect with old employers, colleagues and other influential figures in your career. You never know what opportunity may come from it and it’s always good to stay in touch with new contacts as well as the old.
Regardless of how and when you stay in touch with people as you conduct your job search, it’s important to also maintain a level of transparency: be clear about your ambitions and when you do get in touch with people along the way your honesty will be appreciated. From a recruitment agency’s point of view, it’s hugely beneficial when a candidate comes through the door with a clear set of guidelines and they are prepared to be honest about what roles they really want.
If you could think of a more unusual touch point during the job hunt – what would it be? Leave your answer as a comment below!