How To Get The Job You Want
It can be quite hard to break away from the customer service or retail jobs after years of working them. Chances are your CV is filled with placements like those and in effect (because you’re so busy with working 9 – 5’s) not much on there is actually indicative of your career contributions. You are probably hesitating over sending CV’s to your desired employers for the perfect career path, worried you do not have the experience, the portfolio or the skill to be good enough for them. Even if you do not have a vast collection of previous work or a rich industry-focused experience within your CV, there are still ways of getting that dream job. First of all, you need to want it enough…
I’ve heard people say ‘Job search is like a full – time job in itself, you just don’t get paid for it’. Partly, this is true. Your job -searching should be primarily what you do in any free minute you have, on any day and wherever you are. If you are serious about the dream job you want, you will need to dedicate some time to finding it.
Yet, before we even get to that: you need to do your research. Search for the job title you want (e.g. Graphic Designer) and go on each and every posting – even those you would not want to apply for – and find out: what is it that the employers are looking for? Always look for Key Requirements and Essential Experience if those two are mentioned anywhere - make a note of what they are. You will soon find out that most of them repeat themselves so it is easy to distinguish which ones are the most important ones to focus on within your industry and for the job role you want.
Do not compare your CV to these. Think: you, as a person, are you capable of full- filling the job requirements stated? Do you have the skill, the know-how, the work ethic they’re looking for? If you are confident you could do all those tasks, well done! Place a little tick next to those ones, they will be your guide for later.
Keep it clean and keep it fresh. Depending what industry you are in – attach a photo of yourself. Although, it is said to be ‘frowned upon’ – I never got a job via a CV I submitted without a photo. Not one. Use your earlier research for your personal statement, craft it with the key words used by your employer such as ‘time-efficient, strong work ethic’; whatever they said they want you to be – as long as it is true. Do not lie. If you are invited to the interview – which is the sole purpose of this – your potential employers will ‘sniff’ you out in seconds. Remember that we’re all humans and are quick to judge on first impressions – whether we like it or not.
Portfolio / Examples of Similar Work
Your portfolio / examples of previous work does not have to be, and better if it isn’t, work – related. This should be different from your work experience. Essentially, your portfolio or your examples should reflect everything that you said in the Personal Statement on your CV, and in the ‘interests & hobbies’ or ‘personal achievements’. Your portfolio has to back up your CV. What do I mean by that?
As a digital media professional, I have a lot of projects which I have produced but worked with other people on – by that I mean my university group work – seriously! I have put in my CV that I am good at working with people but also taking leadership where necessary. My portfolio supports that in the quality of my work – or I can explain it in the interview.
Include ANY projects you’ve ever done on your portfolio, whether they were photoshoots with your friends back in college or more recent university work – include all of it. Each part of your journey tells the employer more about you and why you would be suitable for the role. Is there a project that you really struggled with but in the end you were fine and finished it on time? What did you learn during that process? Time management? Leadership skills? People skills? Are those the requirements by the employer? “Must be able to work well within a team” – girl, if you’ve ever done a group project at college or uni and submitted it on time – you got this.
I suppose it’s kind of the ‘secret’ to #3. Do not think of ‘work experience’ as the amount of placements you have listed on your CV. Work experience really can – and in my opinion, should – be anything you have ever done that’s contributed to the role you are applying for today.
Whether it is group projects at university, photoshoots for a photography project in school or some free web design you’ve done for a friend as a favour – all of it contributes as your work experience.
Have you done charity work or some internships? If they are related to your ideal industry, mention them and think of how they can help you at this potential new job. I really need to stress this. Anything you ever got better at that you believe will help you within the job you want, and bonus – it is mentioned on the ‘requirements’ list, you should include somewhere in the portfolio or CV.
That is literally how I got my marketing job. I essentially told my employers what they wanted to hear without lying to them. My CV didn’t specify ANY experience within the marketing industry. But I started my own company – which clearly showed them I AM capable of working a marketing role. Without marketing after all, my business would be nowhere.
I think this is a very over-looked point, often forgotten or at least not mentioned enough to those trying to find their new perfect job. I am not even going to ask how you do your job search because I can guarantee it is using a job-search website or just Google – basically mainly if not ONLY online, correct?
Most of these websites, when you apply for the job – have a little ‘box’ for your ‘cover letter’ or a ‘message’ to the employer. That ‘message’ box is the most important little box of the job application process. Do not just use the automated ‘apply now’ button and let the website send your CV for you as it is. Always, always, ALWAYS attach a message.
Extra Tip: whenever emailing a company, or sending a message with applications, I usually include a ‘Looking forward to speaking with you soon’ or ‘Looking forward to hear from you soon” – this shows confidence. I’ve always had a response – pretty much every time with a few exceptions of very large companies I applied for – when I’ve put that line down. It indicates that you are not even accepting the fact they will not get back to you – because you’re so good that they will. If you follow the earlier steps, your CV and portfolio will show them you are!
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I'm a Social Media and Marketing manager at Medical Aesthetic Group, as well as a freelance photographer and business owner @ Mag's Media. I've always been passionate about business and marketing psychology and a huge fan of the arts and culture in the UK. I've recently started this blog to provide business and career advice for others who may need it and to share some life experiences and lessons I've learnt, raising awareness for mental health.