Hi, I’m Tom, the other co-host of our podcast that focuses on personal finance in the UK. I graduated with a maths degree and I am currently working as a data analyst, so I like numbers and stuff.
The pandemic has brought with it a large number of changes. Some of which are welcome, others are far from it. I wanted to take some time to talk about recruitment and why now is the best time to improve your situation.
In January 2020 I made the decision to leave my job. There was a lot of over-promising and under-delivering from the employer side of the relationship and I wasn’t happy. We then had a big virus outbreak (not sure if you heard?) and I discovered that the job wasn’t nearly as bad when you don’t have to be in an oppressive office setting all of the time, with a cruel dictator of a line manager peering over my shoulder without notice.
Later on in 2020 I still wasn’t feeling fulfilled, so I decided to get serious with the job hunt and started hurtling out applications left, right and centre. After about 50 or so without any solid responses I realised this was going to be a lot harder than I had anticipated. A friend of mine was made redundant before the furlough scheme was announced and it took him over 100 applications (and a brief stint as a delivery driver) before he found full-time, stable employment.
As with most other aspects of my life, I decided that I had to make this process as efficient as I could if I was going to be able to sustain it for as long as I needed to, so that I too could find a good replacement for my income. I learned a lot throughout this task of process refinement, and so I wanted to share my thoughts on the internet with you strangers.
- Write a really solid CV
Seems pretty obvious really, but you do need to make a good impression and writing a killer CV isn’t all that hard with all of the online help you can receive. Make your experience sound as flowery and professional as possible, learn as many relevant, new skills that you can and bang them in a “key skills” section, then make the whole thing look super pretty. Just don’t lie.
- Automate the process where possible
There are loads of recruitment based websites out there where you can upload a CV and set your profile to public so that recruiters can find you. In my experience, they will almost always come to you with the highest paid and most interesting jobs in your hunt. If you find a recruiter that is well organised and you build a rapport with, don’t let them go easily! These are very rare creatures and they will aid your job application process to no end.
- Send applications to any job that even remotely resembles a key word for what you’re after
You’re taught during your education years that you should tailor your CV and aim to impress with as much specificity as possible. Bollocks. The fields of jobs are vast and plentiful, but 99% of them don’t want you and you don’t want them. This is a numbers game and you should treat it like a dating app with low standards. If you took 10 minutes per application and sent 100 of them (as mentioned prior), this would be 1,000 minutes of work! Nearly 17 hours of unpaid work! Nah, I’m good thanks…
- Wait for responses and then choose what you like
By following point 3, you’re essentially delaying the selection process. Instead of choosing between every job on the internet with the word “analyst” in it, you’re choosing from every job on the internet with the word “analyst” in it that has responded positively to your CV. This is like liking every potential partner on a dating app and then speaking to the people who you match with. You will save a lot of time when you know you’re only speaking with interested parties, and it will also aggregate the market slightly and give you a better understanding of your value.
- Polish up your interview technique
If you have followed the above points (and why wouldn’t you?), you will doubtlessly be knee-deep in job interviews. Every job interview you ever have will be the same, except the person’s face changes that you are speaking with. I swear that once a company starts hiring, some governing body sends out a book to them with questions to ask during an interview, and they select 10 or so from it. Find a good answer for “where have you made an impact at work?” and write it down. Rinse and repeat for every cliché question, have a semi-decent memory and voilà, you’re a master of the art.
- Learn to handle rejection
The biggest problem with my strategy is that you will have interviews with jobs that you don’t really want or aren’t entirely suitable for. This is fine. You either get the job, or it was good practice. If you do get rejected from a position that you really wanted, this hurts, bad. But don’t get disheartened, ask for feedback and go back to step 1. Learn some new skills, polish your CV, re-upload and go again. If they don’t want you, it’s their loss…
Go get ‘em, kid!