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Job hunting: are you doing it wrong?

Are you job hunting wrong?

Searching for a job might seem like a fairly straightforward process, but if you’re not aware of all the options available to you then you could be missing out. We explore the hidden world of the ‘dark jobs market’ to find out how you can get access to the jobs you never even knew were being advertised.

Avoid the big job boards

It might sound odd to tell you not to use the biggest job boards on the market, but bear with us. Think about it: how many replies have you got from sending out your CV on the bigger job boards that aren’t from agencies? Maybe a couple of auto-replies thanking you for your interest? Maybe a telephone screen, but after that — nothing?

The truth is that these generic sites are absolutely crawling with generalist recruiters who are trying to process people as quickly as possible. They don’t understand retail and probably recruit for dozens of companies in every industry imaginable.

Sometimes they aren’t even reading your CV —they’re using programmes to do their job for them. To truly progress your career, you need a smaller, specific site that gets you in front of the retailers with whom you want to work.

Be more time efficient

When websites offer you the chance to register and set up a profile, take it. Spending a little time doing this now will save you bags of time when you see a job you love. Not only will this get your application in before others, but it means you can apply to multiple jobs instead of having to spend your spare time filling out one long application form.
Research has shown that jobseekers are far more likely to be successful if they have a profile set up with an industry-specific job board than if they aren’t registered at all.

Get headhunted

Like being upgraded to first class on a long flight, being phoned up out of the blue with the perfect job offer is everyone’s dream. This is not an impossibility — in fact, being headhunted is much easier than you might think.
Many companies prefer not to advertise certain roles as they don’t want hundreds of irrelevant applications in their inbox. Instead, they’ll cherry pick people who they will invite to apply for the role. In order to make sure you make the list, you need to be in a position where you’re seen. This means making sure that your CV is uploaded online, making the most of your achievements throughout your career. Headhunters use CV databases from websites to search for their shortlist, so if your CV isn’t there you simply won’t get seen.

Make sure that as well as uploading a well-constructed CV, you fill out all the fields when you register. Not only does this show the headhunter that you’re committed to your job search, but some sites will not process your CV if some of the fields are blank, so your CV won’t be visible to employers or headhunters.
Make sure that you also include all possible contact details. Make it as easy as possible for someone to reach you both inside work hours and in the evenings/weekends.

Know when jobs come online

Most good job boards will give you the option to sign up to email alerts, so that as soon as your perfect role is uploaded, it will email the job straight to your inbox. If you don’t have this service enabled, you could spend ages searching sites every day, hoping that something will come up.

Use your contacts

Did you know that many jobs aren’t advertised at all? A friendly face is often still the best way into a new role; so use your contacts from friends, family or ex-colleague. It pays to put the word out that you’re interested in moving on.
In the meantime, also consider registering with a specialist recruitment consultancy. When it comes to useful contacts, they’re pretty much the best people to know. They are often very close to the recruitment teams of the top retailers and will know about jobs long before they come on the market. If you’re on their books, you have a great chance of being put forward for your perfect job.

Keep in mind the advantages of going to retail-specific career events to build your network. In our survey on job seeking trends, 29% of people said that they used career events when they were looking for a new role. This is 29% of retail professionals who may be applying for the same role as you, but they’ve already met the recruiter and established a relationship. Don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face.

Predict the jobs market

To be really clever about your job search, don’t just wait for jobs to be posted online. Keep your ear to the ground and keep an eye on companies with which you might want to work. Sign up to receive daily email alerts of industry news to stay ahead of which retailers might be opening up their recruitment very soon.

Pay attention to companies that have announced extra investment in your department or which have recently reported great trading figures. A profitable company is one that is almost certainly going to expand in the not-too-distant future and if you have a covering letter and CV ready to go, you’ll be ahead of the competition.