The job market is incredibly competitive so this can quickly become stressful without proper preparation and planning. If you are looking to change jobs or are taking a leap into a whole new career in 2023, Director of Employability at The University of Law, John Watkins shares his three top tips to navigate the job hunt and land your dream role.
Set time aside as a starting point
Finding a new job or heading into a career change can seem so daunting in the beginning. It’s important to take time out for yourself to properly assess where you are at the moment, and to reflect upon your career so far. Finding this time isn’t always straightforward but many find the Christmas/new year period presents a window of opportunity.
Take time to think about your personal and professional priorities. Professionally speaking there are many dedicated figures who can provide you with guidance and support, like coaches and mentors. It’s well worth seeking people like this out as they can provide really valuable help. Personally, it’s about working out what you need and what will help you to gain fulfilment from a career – this is often the more difficult part but it’s incredibly important.
Ultimately each person has to obtain their own path and decide who is best placed to help them. The goal should be to have a strategy – treating your career as if it were a major project that needs managing; it should be seen as such, it will occupy decades of your life and should not be left to chance.
Remember, you’ve already impressed once you have an interview
Interviewing is always one of the most daunting parts of the job application process. Remember, if you’re being invited for an interview then something in your application has already impressed the hiring manager, so try and take some confidence from this.
There is no expectation that you will perform perfectly in an interview – pausing, stuttering, changing your mind, asking for the question to be repeated; these are all natural and rarely penalised.
Thorough preparation will also help put candidates into a positive mindset – if you feel equipped to answer most questions, you can approach the interview without undue fear. Some nerves are good and natural.
You must be prepared for the unexpected. Employers will try to test your ability to think on your feet, so will throw in a curveball to see how you cope. The only thing to try not to do is panic – easier said than done, but the ‘looking pleased to be there’ face can hide the internal pounding of the heart!
Knock backs are going to happen
We all handle successes and failures differently. The key thing to be aware of is that life is full of ups and downs; to that end being prepared for such eventualities is the first step.
It is an old cliché but nonetheless a valuable one – try to see knock backs as learning opportunities. It need not be an immediate reaction; it may take time to come to terms with the disappointment before being ready to move forward.
Mentors/advisers/trusted confidantes are all helpful in providing a sounding board and often a suggestion or two on ways to increase your chances next time.
One of the tips that I stand by is that those who have knock backs on their way, tend to appreciate the success when it comes. They are also much better at supporting those who follow and encounter their own challenges
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