How To Get A Job! Part 1 – Prep


I’d like to do a small guide on how to get a job (mainly in the UK), since it’s really tough out there. You may be thinking that it’s stupid taking advice from someone who hasn’t actually got a job yet but actually I’m a lot closer than I’m letting on, and also, you can perhaps learn from the mistakes I’ve made so far.

In this first installment, I’d like to talk about the things you can do before your hunt starts for real – the prep.

I am a planner by nature and I get really anxious when I am not able to know where I’ll be in 6 months’ time. So, I start my job hunts early (both this time around and also when I was leaving Japan). A lot of companies have been interested in me but have ultimately told me that 6 months is much to long of a wait for them. Even in these situations, it’s good because you can gauge your own ‘market value’ and see what kind of positions you’d be applicable for, but also when the time IS right you can phone these people again and see if they are still interested. I did exactly this and got two ‘solid’ interviews from it. I’ll explain what ‘solid’ and ‘soft’ interviews are later.

Knowing that I was going to leave Nintendo in June, I started applying to jobs from January. I would apply to roughly 3 or 4 jobs every morning before work – with on average 10% reply rate. It’s tough. I was told by a recruitment consultant that applying to things in the morning is much better – I’m not sure how or why, but I followed that advice regardless.

In order to apply for jobs, you’re going to need a CV. I paid for my CV – someone else wrote it for me. Would I recommend this? No. The particular woman who wrote my CV wrote it completely full of jargon that really isn’t ‘me’, plus the fact it had spelling mistakes and typos in it. I should have written my CV myself so I could really put across who I am.

Next is where to look for jobs. I used a number of generic job search sites, including –

Indeed – Good, but kind of annoying website. Has a pop up before you close the tab.

Monster – Good all rounder.

Totaljobs – Again, good all rounder, probably the one I used the most.

Top language jobs – Has a LOT of adverts for Bloomberg. You have to sift through to find decent ones.

Guardian Jobs – Very nice graduate roles.

All of these sites – as well as a few others send me emails every morning with new positions.

Should you go to recruitment agencies? I’d say yes. Recruitment agencies can be seen as bad companies because they “leech” from your job, but it shouldn’t come from your side of the salary; most of the time the company will be paying it. So really, it’s no skin off your nose whether they benefit from you or not.

Reasons for using recruitment agencies – They put jobs through to you that you would not have been able to see otherwise. – They can give good advice. – It’s in their best interest to find you a job so they can skim from you so they will work hard to find you a place.

Reasons against using recruitment agencies – They are dealing with so many people, so sometimes you feel like a product and not a person. – They may push you into things you don’t want to do (with me, for example, a certain agency keeps pushing finance jobs at me despite me telling them repeatedly that I do not do well with numbers).

I am with 4 recruitment agencies; three for Japanese speakers (Centre People, People First and JAC) and one generic one (Give A Grad A Go). On the whole, I would recommend all of them.

‘Soft’ interviews and ‘hard’ interviews. This will come a little later down the line, but a soft interview will be one with a recruitment agency. This could happen over Skype but more often in person. You will be sat in a room and the consultants will come in one by one and pitch different job offers to you. If you like any of them, they will send applications through for you. I’d say I get interviews from these applications 50% of the time.

‘Hard’ interviews are the interviews you have directly with a company, with a set job in mind.

This is the end of the first segment, so if you have any advice on how to search for jobs, then please leave it in the comments! I’ll be continuing next week with advice on LinkedIn.

Still in the need for some life advice? How about trying my post How to Win at OK Cupid? There are a lot of good tips there!


  1. Interesting post. What I like about Indeed is that you can filter out jobs / words you are not interested in.
    I also use Jobsite.
    I’ve not had any positive engagement with recruitment agencies. Most are a waste of time.
    Good luck with your job search.

    • Su Tyler says:

      I found that agencies will call you after seeing your CV on ‘job sites’. They’ll say they may be able to help you, you go armed with your CV, they register you and tell all the fluffy stuff ‘you have a strong cv’ you have great transferable skills’ etc..
      I’ve traveled to Cardiff and Bristol numerous times to do this too..
      I’ve found that you never hear from them again. If you call to ask if they have anything new the recruiter you’re dealing with is never available.
      The ones I really hate are the ones that advertise jobs, you apply, you get an acknowledgment and that’s it.. no rejection, no feedback, and again if you call they are never there.

      I’m sure most of them are just CV scrappers and do it just to meet targets of CVs on their books.

      I’d love to meet one that will change my mind.

      • Charlotte says:

        I really hate the companies that never reply, too. It really is rude of them since they expect us to rewrite our CVs ever time. I’m waiting on two jobs I was very excited about, but it’s been 3 weeks now.

    • Charlotte says:

      Thanks so much!
      I’ve not really used Jobsite – I’ll have to check it out as well!

  2. I like your information about recruitment agencies. Like you said, they can offer you job opportunities that you might not have seen otherwise. You may not have all of your individual wants met by every agency, but if they can introduce you to more jobs than you could have found on your own, they’re probably a good investment. Thanks for the article.

  3. Thanks a Lot. There are very few good recruiting agencies out there…

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