Preparing to start your job search

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When is the right time to look for that next role? Many view the New Year as that kick start to their job search or others wait until Spring / April time, when new budgets appear and a whole raft of interesting new opportunities typically get released.  

Whatever the time and whenever you decide to look, it can be daunting and where do you start? The natural place to start is with the inevitable CV update and of course that is a part of it, but what else to consider?  

We wanted to share a few suggestions for you to consider that might help get you ready and prepared. So, here’s a short summary of some of our ideas to find that new HR role … 

  • Update your CV of course! 

This is the logical place to start, but it can feel like a big task if you haven’t updated   your CV in a while. So set aside a decent chunk of time to do this and expect to tweak and update it as you go.  Think of it as a working document, a CV in progress. It’s better to put your most recent role at the top, outlining what you achieved, detail what you delivered and what you’re most proud of.  It’s also worth thinking of the number of bullet points on each role – no point having 8 bullet points for an interim 6-month role and 4 for your current permanent role! Think about where you want to position yourself for your next role and really highlight those areas of your experience. 

  • Ask for a second opinion

Other people often spot things we don’t always see, so get your CV checked and ask a trusted friend, old boss or colleague as they’ll often give you ideas that you might have overlooked.  They won’t just check for grammar and spelling, but they can give feedback on whether the CV accurately represents who you are. It’s also worth asking a professional recruiter to critique your CV. They know what employers are looking for and which CVs often get the interviews! Also with advanced technology, things have moved on and we’re finding a skills matrix often works well with AI, as often these work with matching key words.  

  • Have multiple CVs tailored to the role you’re applying for 

Depending on your area of HR expertise, it’s worth having more than one version of your CV. For example, you might have an interim one and a permanent one!  

It doesn’t matter how many versions you have of your CV, ensure the file name is appropriate and double-check that you attach the correct one to any applications!  Sounds basic, but it happens more than you imagine!  

  • Check your online profile

It’s second nature for most recruiters and hiring managers to check your online profile, so make sure your photo is appropriate and everything aligns. Plus, having an up-to-date profile will help in your job search. Typically, clients will look on LinkedIn, especially for HR roles, but we’ve also heard them having a little snoop on Facebook and Insta! Remember to update everything. Don’t have your profile set up with an old email address as you could miss vital messages or make sure you update to say you’re available so you aren’t overlooked for interim roles! Double check everything. 

  • Network, network, network! 

With LinkedIn in mind, networking is an essential part of your job search. Even if you aren’t a fan of social media, it is a helpful tool for job hunting. You can search for available roles and research companies and employees who work there. Plus, if appropriate, you can share that you are looking for a new opportunity. The power of social media is bigger than you think, and talent pipelining and headhunting is now the norm!  

And remember, networking doesn’t just have to be online. Getting out to local business networking groups or industry events is a valuable way to raise your profile. You never know where that next role could come from, so enjoy connecting. 

  • Do your research and be up to date with HR / Sector trends 

Networking is also a helpful way to learn about industry trends. You may be confident in your industry knowledge, but it can be easy to become blinkered if you’ve been in the same position for a few years. Similarly, if you’re returning to work after a career break, you might feel out of the loop. Take some time to do your research or attend industry events to stay on top of the latest news and trends (our latest blog on HR Trends for 2023 might also help).  Don’t be caught out at interview when asked about the trends going on in the sector of the company you’re meeting – we had this once and thankfully the candidate had done his research!

  • Be clear about what you do and don’t want 

Have it clear in your mind about the sort of role you’re looking for, the hours or working arrangements you’re after and the package you would ideally like (and the minimum you would consider for the absolute right role). Also, be prepared to negotiate. Know your priorities.  For many the right culture, the right people and the right opportunity are top of their list. 

  • Be accessible and check your phone! 

Once you’ve applied for a few roles, make sure you’re accessible. We’re almost programmed to avoid answering our phones these days in case it’s a spam caller. But you need to break that habit. Be available as much as possible to reply to emails and answer calls so you can grab any opportunities or book that all-important interview. Check you’ve set up an answer phone facility if you don’t already have one!  You might not get a call back if they can’t leave a message!

  • Prepare for your interview

It goes without saying that you need to prepare for any interviews. That can be the basics, like knowing where you’re going and who you’re meeting or more detailed prep like understanding the company structure, their values, their financials and dare we say it Glassdoor will tell you lots!  If it’s a video interview, ensure you’ve tested the technology beforehand and you’re in a private space, free from distractions. Know your CV and have some answers prepared for the basic questions you’re likely to be asked, backed up with examples of where you’ve added value or instigated positive change in a previous role. Having a few key metrics to hand to show where you’ve made a difference is also a winner!  

  • And finally, relax!  

Try to avoid letting your next HR career move become all-encompassing or spending all day looking for your next role. Instead, use your time wisely to be focused and targeted on what you’re looking to achieve.  You’ll feel more confident and perform better on the day. And finally remember it’s a two-way process, have plenty to ask them as well.  

If you are looking for your next HR career move and thinking of venturing out into the market, we’d love to talk to you and happy to share our market knowledge.  

Simply contact the HRLife team.  

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