How To Develop A Winning Job Search Strategy

How To Develop A Winning Job Search Strategy

Have you recently found yourself so keen to find a new job, yet also so busy with your current one, that your job search strategy involves frantically pinging off your CV whenever you can find a spare minute?
Such an unfocused, scatter-gun approach to your job search is a false economy. If you want to be selected for the right opportunity for you, and relatively quickly, then you need to focus and develop a winning job search strategy. Here’s how.


Hays CEO Alistair Cox describes in his recent blog how he focused his job search by firstly identifying his must-haves: “I remember writing down all the attributes of the sort of hypothetical business I wanted to be a part of, what it did, how it did it, how predictable or unpredictable it might be, what sort of people would work there, how it felt etc. That alone was a very revealing exercise because it forced me to write down descriptors of my ideal work environment.”
Take a leaf out of Alistair’s book and write down your must-haves. This includes:
Your job remit: What types of tasks would you perform in your ideal role? For instance, you might like creative tasks, but find the more operational ones less gratifying. Perhaps you would like to be given more responsibilities out of your comfort zone or, on the flipside, scale back and take on less.
Your work/life balance: Next consider your priorities in terms of work/life balance. Do you want a more demanding role, or something which allows you to focus on other priorities outside of work? Would your ideal organisation require you to be in the office at 8am sharp every day, or would it offer more flexible working hours? Perhaps it would even allow you to work from home.
The perfect company culture: What type of company culture suits your personality type? Are you outgoing and sociable and want a working environment where social events are common? Or do you want to log off Friday evening and forget about work until Monday morning?
Your preferred industry: Which industries interest you, and what topics are you passionate about, both inside and outside of work? For instance, I have always cared about the world of work, and felt passionate about the importance of having a job that you enjoy, hence why I ended up in the recruitment industry.
Practical considerations: Factor in what you need in terms of salary, rewards, location and commute.
Your career plan: What about your wider career goals? How would your ideal role and organisation help you achieve these? For instance, if you would eventually like to move into a senior people management role but need to work on your leadership skills, look for a role that provides you with basic leadership responsibilities outside your comfort zone, where there is room for progression and where a mentor could support your development? Whether you are looking to ramp up your career and continue climbing the same ladder, or looking to scale back and take on less, it is important that your next opportunity is aligned to your ambitions. Listen to our podcast on building a career plan here.


Now you know your ideal criteria for your next career move, it’s time to put together a job search strategy which allows you to apply for the right roles in the time that you have whilst keeping focused and motivated. This strategy should include:
The support of a recruiter: An expert recruiter will help find the right roles for you, and put you forward for them. This can save a lot of time and they can introduce you to roles that may not reach the open market. Save your recruiter’s details on your phone and keep it close by. Hays’ Adam Shipley has written about building a relationship with your recruiter here.
Keeping on top of opportunities: Now that you know which type of organisations you are most interested in, follow them on social media and review their career sites. Keep an eye out for updates surrounding current vacancies, and set up job alerts on recruitment websites such as Hays so you can be quick off the mark when the right role does come up.
Save your CV across all of your electronic devices (except work ones): In doing this, you will be ready to apply as and when jobs crop up, wherever you are, whichever device you are using.
Be organised: Take note of all jobs applied for, what stage you’re at which each one and the name of relevant contacts. Add any meetings or interviews to your calendar and take notes. Refer to these before you make any follow up calls or emails. This can be very useful if you have multiple opportunities in the pipeline and you need to keep track of who you’re speaking to, about what and when.
Don’t lose hope: It is important that you keep your spirits high during your job search, even if you don’t get an interview for a role that you really wanted. Not every application leads to job search success, but don’t give up. It can help to talk about your next move and your search progress with mentors, friends and family. You should also take regular breaks and reward yourself for a productive job searching session. The key is to stay motivated – read more on achieving this here.
These tips will make for a winning job search strategy. By understanding what you really want from your next opportunity, finding the time and resources to seek these opportunities out, and staying motivated and focused, you will land your perfect role.
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Director, Hays Australia
Jane McNeill joined Hays in 1987 as a graduate trainee in their London head office after graduating with an MA (Hons) in Psychology from Edinburgh University. She began her career recruiting accountancy & finance professionals, before spending 11 years recruiting senior permanent professionals for London’s banking & finance sector. During this time she quickly progressed through management roles and in 1992 she was appointed Director after leading the London city business to a phenomenal post-recession recovery.
Jane transferred to Perth, Western Australia, in 2001. Over the next decade she grew Hays’ business in that state from a team of 15 to nearly 250 staff. She also established and managed  Hays’ banking & financial services business.
She was appointed to the Hays Australia & New Zealand management board in 2007. Now based in Sydney, Jane oversees Hays’ operations in both NSW and WA. She is responsible for 400 staff located in two states that are separated by a five-hour flight and a three-hour time difference. At the same time, she retains her keen interest and passion in banking & financial services recruitment by adding national responsibility for Hays Banking and Hays Insurance to her remit.