Ask a Recruiter...
Are you planning your return to work? Nora Soufi our Senior Consultant - Client Services, Strategy and Marketing talks us through ways to ensure your dip back into the job pool goes swimmingly!
Do your research
Before embarking on your job-hunting journey it’s a good idea to look into the market’s expectations for people in your position.
Find out what is needed from you, it may be very different to what was needed when you were previously employed.
Tap into your network to get as much empirical info as possible.
As well as doing your Google’s, get some advice from credible sources that you trust. Arrange to meet your old colleagues and previous bosses for coffee and pick their brains about what has changed about your industry.
From there you can decide based on your personal requirements whether you’d still like to apply for the same type of role or branch out into a new area.
The main question you want to ask yourself is: How do I raise my value.
It’s good to get as much information as possible as early as possible as you may even find that you have to learn new skills to get as much competitive edge as possible.
Believe in yourself
Ok, so now you’ve done your research it’s time to be honest with yourself and address your confidence; as very often this can have a huge effect on the quality and level of roles you apply for.
Someone who was previously in a substantial midweight position could be suitable for a senior role but due to low confidence may never apply.
Your confidence, along with your tone of voice, can hugely affect your success at the interview stage and once you’re in the role it can affect how you negotiate a fair salary. So, it’s best to make sure you’re ready for the sometimes-gruelling task of finding your perfect job before you reach out.
A career break can sometimes leave your confidence lagging, but don’t undermine yourself and trust that you will be a valuable member of any team. Yes, demand is higher than the offer in the current market. Yes, there are hundreds of talented people all competing, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t one of them.
Hone your personal brand
With your research done and your self-esteem in check the next step is to decide how you’d like to present yourself.
Start online by setting up a LinkedIn account, if you don’t have one already. Find a current picture of yourself that’s carefree yet professional, then upload it and get to networking! Also, ask those old work friends to help you build your rep by endorsing you and be sure to keep your profile consistent with your CV.
Speaking of CV’s, if you’ve been out of the game for a while, it’s advisable to start from scratch. If needs be (i.e. You have too much experience to keep it concise) write a few different versions of your CV with different end goals.
On the other hand, if your job history is slightly stunted, list both your tasks and achievements on your CV to fill it out.
But above all there is nothing worse than a generic CV. You want to shine out and a cookie cutter CV will never do that. So, think carefully about not just the content but the design too.
Be proud and transparent of the break
Did you pick up any transferable skills during your time out of work? Focus on them.
A great way to ensure your break is viewed as a positive is to focus on the transferable skills you acquired whilst out of work.
What could you do then? What can you do better now? Look at it in a realistic way and be open and honest with your future employers about your reasons for taking a break.
Make sure to provide an explanation for the gap in experience. Highlight all activities you’ve been doing in the meantime (e.g. any interesting pro bono work, attending/leading seminars and networking events or learnt any new languages) to reassure employers that despite the pause you are still up to date with the goings-on of your sector.
Don’t be a passive candidate
If you’re working with a recruiter (we’re biased but you should be) try to meet them face to face. By doing this you’re able to really brief them on your requirements and they’re able to coach and reassure you before you head out on interviews.
Try to find a recruiter that is likeminded because he or she will be you best partner throughout your job search journey. If they don’t get you, they won’t be able to sell you, so build a relationship and make sure you connect beyond just a client / supplier relationship.
Use a recruiter, but also approach brands directly as you will always be your biggest advocate.
Approach companies you’re fond of even if they aren’t advertising a role. Politely follow up on applications and get yourself out there either through IRL networking events or platforms such as LinkedIn. It shows tenacity and there’s nothing employers love more.
If you need advice about your CV, career direction, tips on how to present yourself in an interview take a further look at our blog section.where we discuss Cv's for account handlers and creatives. Or get in touch with us if you need help finding a new role.