New year, new job

Are you thinking of a new job in 2024? has some advice on finding your way around social media, automated systems and the like.

Line of people different ages waiting for their turn for interview.

For many the start of the year will begin with a new resolve to switch jobs, return to work or start a business. According to Hays’ Salary & Recruiting Trends guide 2024, based on a survey of over 14,000 professionals and employers, 51% of people are thinking of moving jobs in 2024 and half of those who aren’t could be tempted.

But awareness of ageism in the recruitment process has increased in recent years meaning the older you are the more daunted you might feel about the whole process of job hunting. New technology and social media have altered the playing field in recent years too so if you haven’t moved in a while it you might feel the need to gen up on using keywords to get around automated systems, doing video interviews and uploading your cv to various portals.

Social media has become a growing force in recruitment, with many people using sites like LinkedIn to find out about job opportunities or network so as to be in the right place at the right time if a vacancy occurs. In fact, the advice from many careers experts is that using your network is often much more successful than relying on the traditional job application process.

Everything is moving very fast, but it’s still important to take time to think through the demands of a particular job and to tailor any application to that, rather than just to forward a cv at the click of a button. Remember that quantity doesn’t always equal success.

That means doing research. With so much information now available on the internet, it is vital that you show that you have done due diligence on the firm you are applying to and about the job role. Employers will expect that you have at least looked up the company or organisation and got a good idea of what its aims and objectives are.

Make your CV stand out from the crowd

Another factor to bear in mind in the new fast-moving jobs arena is that apps and sites that make it easier to apply for jobs mean increased competition. Whereas before, jobs were advertised mainly in newspapers or through agencies, now they are everywhere.

So you need to make your cv or application stand out. Not by using gimmicks or the kind of cliche-ridden language you heard on The Apprentice, but by making it easy to read and relevant to the job you are applying for.

Keep it down to a couple of sheets of A4 and format it clearly, listing the duties you have performed in your various roles in bulletpoints, including transferable skills. If you’ve had a long working life, edit down your experience to focus on the most relevant roles, giving examples of what you did that fit as closely as possible with the job description.

If you’ve taken a career break, think about doing a skills-based cv rather than a chronological one which may highlight the gap, giving examples of how you have used those skills in previous roles.

You might also look at the various returner schemes that cater to those who are trying to get back to work after taking a few years out for whatever reason.

And don’t forget that any prospective employer will no doubt do some online research on you before the interview. That means making sure that your social media presence is not full of inappropriate comments or images which might put them off hiring you.

Cover letters

Remember too that if you are writing a cover letter, it counts just as much as the cv. It is the first thing that grabs an employer’s attention and a lot of thought and effort should go into it.

You should use it to make an impact and to stand out from the other job applicants. That doesn’t mean writing attention-grabbing statements or a 10-page tome. Again, keep it brief, stick to the facts and show clearly and succinctly why you want the job, what you have to offer and why the employer should read on.

For interviews over Zoom and the like, think about your backdrop and ensure it looks professional. Test that the technology is working more than five minutes before the interview so you don’t appear flustered if there is a hitch and have a back-up plan in case it lets you down altogether.

Also, try to engage as much as possible through your tone of voice, eye contact etc since you will not be able to rely as much on body language.

Happy job seeking!

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