First of all – if you are already in a job – sit down and really think about the reasons you want a change, and stick to them. What is most important about your next role? Is it location, salary, career progression? If you are currently unemployed, whether through redundancy or other factors, you might not have the luxury of being able to make these decisions due to financial commitments. But whatever your situation, here are a few things that will help.
To use a recruitment agency or not to use?
You may wonder whether you should go directly to a company, or go through a recruitment agency specialising in creative jobs. Whatever your experience of recruitment agencies in the past, there are always going to be good ones and not so good ones. Do your research. Ask others about their experiences. Linked In is a good site to find recruiters in the creative industry. Do they have recommendations from past candidates and clients? Do they seem to know much about the industry?
Marketing recruitment agencies will have contacts in organisations which you might find difficult to get in to, plus a good recruitment agency will know which ones are potentially right for you and represent you to them. This is a much easier way of being marketed towards a targeted audience within a short amount of time, and remember you don’t pay for this service! They can give you invaluable advice about your CV, the interview process, and hopefully will introduce you to your ideal job/future employer. You need to choose your agency(ies) wisely, and don’t spread yourself too thinly across too many of them – this will only make the process more complicated and the chance of your CV being sent to the same organisation multiple times.
When talking to your consultant, have in mind exactly your reasons for moving jobs and make sure that they understand them. Also ensure that they ask your permission before sending your details to any of their clients. This will enable you to have control over your CV, and also make the consultant’s life much easier. If you are being represented by multiple recruitment agencies and you don’t know where your CV has been sent, this will make it harder and less appealing for a consultant to work with you.
Do your research
There are a lot of tools these days to find out about companies – be it LinkedIn,Facebook, Twitter etc – look them up and see what work they are doing. Speak to recruitment consultants and people in the industry, and ask who they like to work with. When you are going for interviews, it is very important that you know about the industry that you want to work in.
Don’t just sit back and expect other people to find you a job. Keep in touch with your recruitment consultant, and make sure that they know what you are up to; whether you are interviewing elsewhere or having second interviews somewhere. They are busy people too and the more you keep in touch with them, the more they will act on your behalf. Be communicative!
When applying to an agency or organisation, as well as a CV, it is good practice to write a brief cover letter about why you want the position, and why you believe you are suitable for it. Not everyone does this when applying, but it shows that you have really thought about it and are very interested and keen.
The interview stage
How do you tackle your first interview? First of all, find out what the dress code is. You don’t want to over or under dress for the occasion, so ask your recruiter or the relevant person who has organised the meeting. Next, do your research on the company. Have a think about the job spec and consider relevant examples which you can use to explain your experience – try to make it fit into what kind of person they are looking for. Have at least 3 - 5 examples in your head. Don’t assume that they know what you did in your previous job – make sure that you explain in detail the structure of your company, and the role you played. Yes or no answers are not going to do it. You want to be remembered, but obviously don’t talk too much! It really will depend on the style of the interviewer (remember not all interviewers will be good at interviewing!), so it may be that your interview will be a very informal chat or conversation. Even still, try to use examples where possible.
Closing the interview
At the end of your interview, don’t leave it hanging in the air – tell them that you want the job and the reasons why. Ask them if they have any reservations about your experience, as they may assume certain things about you just because it is something that wasn’t discussed in the interview. This is your chance to clear up any misconceptions.
Making a decision
So you have a few offers on the table and it is time to make a decision. Again, think back to the original reasons for the move. Do these positions/companies fulfil potentially what it is that you want? If you are unsure and have any questions, there is nothing wrong with requesting another meeting; even if informal, just to make sure you are making the right decision.
Hopefully these tips will help you get the job you are looking for.
If you have any other advice you would like to share with us, or have any good/bad experiences in your job hunt, please feel free to share them with us.