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John Lees’ updated book on how to get a job that you enjoy has lots of useful information on the latest jobseeking trends.
It’s been a rollercoaster on the jobs market in the last few years and now we face growing redundancies and uncertainty while job vacancies are still an issue in many areas. If you are looking for a job, particularly if you’ve been made redundant, it can be an anxious time, especially if you are coming up against ageism in the recruitment process. Where should you look? How should you look? What should you look for?
Which is where careers expert John Lees comes in. He has just published a new edition of his book, How to get a job you love, which provides a comprehensive and practical guide to job seeking and career change. It draws on Lees’ decades of experience as a career coach and is based on the idea of applying creative thinking to career choice for a more meaningful and more enjoyable working life.
The book covers everything from overcoming barriers to change, what drives you and working out your personality fit with a particular job to changing career and smarter job searching. New for this edition is a chapter on ‘dealing with knockbacks and getting stuck’ as well as updated material about online job hunting and using social media as well as new practical exercises to put Lees’ ideas into action.
Lees acknowledges it can be hard to know what careers will last in a fast-changing world, but he singles out healthcare, IT and pharmaceuticals as likely to be more future proof than most. He adds that uncertainty and short termism mean that upheaval is increasingly the norm. That may lead to growing concerns about job security, but, on the other hand, it means there is less stigma attached to redundancy, says Lees.
Other trends he notes are:
The new chapter on knockbacks has advice on handling the emotional side of jobseeking – essentially Lees says to recognise when you are at a low point and feeling vulnerable and to not make any important decision at that moment. Instead, he says, clear you head and lift your spirits through meeting up with supportive friends, watching a good film or going for a run. Also bear in mind that recruitment processes can be random and radio silence is the norm – it’s often not personal.
Lees counsels against writing yourself off before you have begun on a career change by seeking negative reinforcement or being ‘realistic’ and settling for a job you don’t really want to do. Instead, he says to focus on taking one step forward at a time, trying new things and seeking out explorative conversations while building a support team around you.
Lees, like many experts, says many jobs these days are not advertised. Employers tend to hire based on people they know already or people who are recommended to them, he states. It’s therefore worth tapping all your contacts and letting them know you are looking for work and what you are looking for. They may be able to put in a good word for you or know someone who might be able to. While it’s a good idea to keep applying for advertised jobs, the volume of replies these get reduces your chances of success, says Lees, so it’s better not to put too many of your eggs in this basket. And if you are applying, bear in mind that it may be someone relatively junior doing the shortlisting so be very clear on how you fit the job criteria and what you have done that shows you fit them.
Lees gives lots of advice on reaching out online and using social media such as LinkedIn through, for instance, creating a customised URL which you can place in a CV and getting recommendations from former colleagues. You can also use LI not just for jobhunting between jobs, but for seeking out friends and contacts with links to the employers you’d like to work for.
The book ends with a series of advice on what not to do – ‘activities likely to make your job hunt longer’. These include solely relying on the internet for jobs, applying for jobs you don’t really want, spending too much time on screens and not enough with people and going to interviews unprepared and hoping to wing it. Instead, Lees’ approach is about moving on from the old ways of doing things and embracing a new people-focused, entrepreneurial approach. That means doing your research [for instance, using social media], building relationships and moving towards more face-to-face conversations.
*How to get a job you love: Find a job worth getting up for by John Lees is published by Pearson.