When clients contact us for help with their career transition, CV or job search, many tell us that they’ve been searching for a while with limited success. We have found that their lack of success can often be attributed to a number of important factors which can make or break a job search:

Too many online job board submissions. One of the slowest and least-likely-to-be-successful ways to job search is to limit your efforts to online submissions – applying for jobs via job boards or company websites. In either case you are concentrating on the Visible Job Market, where only 15% of open positions are publicised at any given time. You are also maximizing your competition for targeted jobs and forcing your CV to be evaluated first by Applicant Tracking Systems (automated CV analysis software) rather than humans.

Too much reliance on recruiters. Once upon a time, executives could share their CV’s with multiple recruiters and realistically expect to land a new role in a short time. Unfortunately, those days are gone as a number of factors conspire to make a recruiter-based search more challenging. First, recruiters are already overwhelmed with outstanding candidates. Second, there are fewer open positions than there used to be. Third, some companies, empowered by LinkedIn, are sourcing more candidates directly and relying on recruiters less. While it’s appropriate for relevant candidates to share their bio with recruiters, you cannot afford to put all of your eggs in this one basket unless time is unimportant to you.

Marketing yourself with a poor CV. The days of securing a great job with a poor CV are long gone. To compete in a crowded market and get the best job you can, you need career communications tools that showcase your unique qualifications and highlight your history of quantifiable achievements. In addition, your CV and LinkedIn profile must be keyword-rich. Poor CV positioning, poor branding, and poor career storytelling are all hallmarks of a failed search. In an age where recruiters and hiring executives make snap decisions about your candidacy within 4 to 5 seconds, it is imperative that your CV excels at quickly capturing and communicating your unique value proposition.

Pursuing the wrong targets. As part of your job search strategy, you need to hone in on the right selection of target companies. By “right” we simply mean that your targets need to align with your overall strategy. If you want to join a start-up, for example, then your resume has to detail your cross-functional experience and tie achievements to the types of benchmarks start-ups are likely to use. And your targets have to include smaller companies in start-up or emerging growth stages. In other words, it makes no sense to go after start-up targets with a CV that promotes corporate experience without demonstrating how that experience can help you help them.

Promoting the wrong skills or experience for the kind of work you want to do. While it’s true that employers are sometimes willing to hire candidates with less than 100% of the skills or experience they want for the job in question, it’s important to note which are emphasised as critical in the job posting and to make sure you possess them. It is also important to make sure those same skills and that same experience are described in your CV, LinkedIn profile, value proposition letter, and bio or marketing brief so that all of your documents convey the same message.

Every year we work with hundreds of people to help them identify their options and to achieve their own personal career goals. Our personal individual outplacement programmes offer you practical support such as:

  • Writing CVs that work for both online and traditional applications
  • Creating your LinkedIn profile and advising about online personal branding
  • Job search techniques
  • Coaching and preparation for upcoming interviews

Underlying all the practical work are our discussions with you about what next.Our online job search package i-Horizons is also available with access to job search tools, psychometric assessments and exercises designed to help identify strengths and help in finding the right career choice. Sometimes ‘bite-size’ support to write a CV or LinkedIn profile or perhaps to prepare for an interview may be just what’s needed.We can help. Call us on 0044 (0)207 831 9843