According to the Office of National Statistics, the average length of time people stay within the same job is 8.5 years. Qualified job applicants normally spend at least a few months looking for new roles before landing an offer. However, the time aspect strongly depends on the applicant’s expectations, the size of their network and the demand for their skills at the given time of the year.
In the following article, I have selected 5 top tips to help you find a brilliant new job within just 90 days.
Treat it like a project
First things come first. Create a good old spreadsheet and start recording the following:
- Where you find specific vacancies e.g. jobs.ac.uk
- When you apply
- What the application deadline date is
- Planned interview date (if known)
- Name of the company, role and salary expectations
- Weblink to the job advert
Keeping accurate records of the above will help you with monitoring your progress. You will be able to easily identify which online platforms work best for you. Instead of focusing desperately on the end result of getting a job, you will do well to put your attention on the process. Process thinking means that you plan your search as if you were a project manager. It means that you have an organised approach. And it includes celebrating small wins such as crafting well-written applications.
If you do not currently have a job, make sure that you do not beat yourself up about it. Instead, why not think about your job search as your full-time job? The more structured your approach is, the easier it will be for you to keep a positive mindset.
Many people are concerned about being pushy when following up. We lose precious opportunities because we simply do not follow up enough. If you do not hear about the outcome of an application, it is easy to assume that it has ended up in the rejection pile. When you have worked hard on a job application and spent hours polishing it, you should receive correspondence with regards to the outcome. If you have not, it makes perfect sense to follow up. If your first follow up does not work, follow up again. Pick up the phone or send a polite well-written e-mail. Explain your genuine enthusiasm for working in the role and contributing to the success of the company.
If you research vacancies every day, you will most likely end up seeing the same advertisements. I recommend that people make a list of all the relevant online platforms (e.g. jobs.ac.uk) and look for new vacancies twice a week. Some jobs have a very short application window and therefore applying quickly is key. Once you find a vacancy which piques your curiosity, record it on your spreadsheet.
Make sure that you do not narrow your focus too much. Higher education professionals often end up developing a tunnel vision because they only want to work in a particular role within a particular university. If you are applying to work for one of the Russel Groups universities, the competition could be fierce and you could end up spending years hoping for new openings and being hired.
Get your application checked early
A former colleague of mine, called Helen, recently got in touch via e-mail asking me to give her feedback on her job application. Helen works in higher education and just received 5 rejections in the last month. Naturally, she was deeply concerned. Helen felt that she was perfectly qualified and experienced for the roles and she should have received at least an interview invite. When I opened Helen’s CV and cover letter, I quickly understood why she had not been shortlisted. Her application materials looked like a patchwork of bullet-pointed information. They demanded heavy editing, focus and structure. After some metaphorical chiselling and polishing of her application, she received her first interview invite for an exciting position.
Seeking new jobs is often an emotionally demanding experience. If you are out of employment, you might feel isolated applying for jobs all day long. Your confidence can be negatively impacted as you receive disappointing news. Financial challenges may crop up as an additional burden on your shoulders. Instead of checking e-mails 50 times a day for some application updates (and good news), it is best to ‘distract’ yourself.
Do make sure that you maintain your physical and emotional well-being. You could take a brisk walk to break up your day or go for a jog in the park. You could use some of the time on your hands to reconnect with old friends. You could join a community group or volunteer locally. You might decide to learn new skills like gardening, playing the ukulele or to speak an exotic language.
Research with focus and discipline. Cherry-pick the roles which you feel genuinely enthusiastic about. Pay meticulous attention to detail. Best of luck with your search!