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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!

I Will Help You Get Your Dream Job

Today I’ve got something really special for you.

In my day job, I run a lot of workshops for students in “employability skills” – things like interview skills, CV writing and personal branding. It’s amazing being able to help people and make such an impact on young peoples’ lives.

A few weeks ago, I was sat writing up a case study on a student who had got a fantastic internship in London following two of my training sessions. It made me feel so warm and fuzzy, but I realised something: [Read more…]

Weird Job Application Questions

“If you were a vegetable, what would you be?”

Recently, I’ve been paying attention to shop windows a lot more. I’m using the Job Spotter app to snap hiring signs to submit, and win Amazon credit. With each application you can get up to 150 points, with more being given to those rare, hand-written signs as opposed to mass produced company posters. I’ve made about 20 submissions and have got myself about a fiver… so don’t be thinking that this is going to get you rich!! [Read more…]

First Dates are Better than Job Interviews

first dates vs job interviewsRecently I have become the queen of the job interview. I’m constantly on the phone arranging new interviews, or bugging recruitment people for follow ups on applications they made for me. Usually I like interviews – I am much better in person than I am on paper. But I am so very tired of interviews now.

It occurred to me on the train back from London the other day that I much prefer first dates to job interviews. Here are my reasons why this is so –

1. You can’t pretend to need to leave an interview.

If you don’t like your date, or you are just not into it, you can get your best friend to call you and pretend that there’s an emergency so you can leave. Or you can pretend to be ill and leave. But with an interview, this isn’t really an option. If you fail a maths test, or give a stupid answer, or the interview is over 2 hours long and you’ve had enough, you have to just sit there and take it until they’re done with you.

2. You get to eat at a date.

I like food more than I like people. The best part of a date is that if the guy is boring, I can just pretend to listen while paying attention to some glorious food. Can you imagine how much better interviews would be if you could eat during them? Any company would see my epic burger-eating skills and want to have me in their working day for the rest of their working days.

3. Your date will probably take you back to the train/tram/taxi so you won’t get lost.

A nice date will walk you back to the nearest transport to make sure you get back OK. After an interview a company couldn’t care less about you. BYE! PRESS THE BUTTON ON YOUR WAY OUT!

4. Your life will still go on if you don’t succeed at the date.

If I’m crap in the date and the guy doesn’t want to see me again, that’s cool because it’s OK to be single. If I fail in my interview then that’s not OK because I need a job, and I need money to survive.

5. If your date is rude then you can tell them to fork off.

If a date is rude, racist, sexist, or just a tool then I can tell them where to go. I cannot do that with an interviewer – though it makes me want to say no to them, should they want to offer me a job. But I don’t get that satisfaction of throwing the rest of my drink in their face and storming out.

Which do you prefer, dear reader – dates or interviews? Have you had a really terrible interview before?

If you liked this post, you may also like this post I wrote about how to survive in Primark!

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