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Seven quick and easy steps to improved employability

  • Published at 08:28 pm May 10th, 2014

If you do not have a job, you are probably looking for one. And if you already have a job, you are probably looking for a better one.

In other words, if you are working for a living, you are always seeking to improve your career. If you are seriously in need of a job and your recent efforts have been futile, go through the following seven steps in the list below and see what you are not doing right.

Do you have the right CV? Every vacancy has a unique job description and thus requires a distinct set of skills and qualifications. But, being as lazy as a lot of us happen to be, we often have one standard CV that we use for every application.

Seeking a job is just like fishing. You need to know what fish is there in the pond and what its favourite feed is, and use exactly that feed as bait. The rarer or more special the fish you want to catch, the more customised a bait you have to use.

Every time you apply for a vacancy, you need to go through the job descriptions and the requirements very carefully, and revise your CV highlighting your skills, qualifications and experiences accordingly. You may be highly qualified for a job you are applying for, but unless your CV demonstrates that and the relevance of your qualifications with the job in question, your chances of getting short-listed are very dim.

No idea how to make a good CV? No worries. Just Google “example good marketing (or whatever the field of choice be) CV” and you will get many great CV templates to follow. Try to limit your CV to a maximum of four pages. This means: do not waste your space by putting unnecessary sections like career objectives, hobbies, countries visited, etc. Keep it short, simple and to the point so that the employers can quickly make out who exactly you are and what you can do best.

Is your cover letter right? You might have heard people say that cover letters are not important. Yes, at times, they are not, especially in getting your CV in the short list. Recruiters normally go through the CVs to make a short list. However, covers letters do play an important role during the interview.

The interviewers often read the cover letter to see how well you have been able to summarise your profile in a paragraph or two. Hence, as with the CV, you cannot have one cover letter that fits all situations.

Writing a cover letter can be a big challenge and seem daunting, but you can follow the same Google trick to draft a good cover letter without having to spend much time.

It is important that you read the vacancy announcement carefully and address all the requirements in the cover letter. For example, if you are asked to mention why you think you are a suitable candidate for the position in the cover letter, do just that instead of repeating your entire CV there.

               

Are you seeking jobs in the right place? Many job seekers ask others to help them find a job. Do not do just that. You are in the best position to seek your own job because you know what you want and what you can do best.

You have to know which newspapers carry the kind of job circulations you are interested in and particularly on which dates. Don’t miss it. Online job portals are becoming increasingly popular lately as well, which you have to check at least once a day.

Social and professional networks like LinkedIn can also be important sources of vacancy information. Let us say, for example, you are interested in a development job; you can occasionally do a Google search for “UN jobs Bangladesh” to keep track of vacancies in international development organisations in Bangladesh.

Do you have a fully updated profile in the job portals? Sometimes you can even have the jobs find you instead, if you have built and updated your profile in the popular job portals. Having profiles at bdjobs.com, devex.com, and linkedin can be very effective. Don’t forget to set job alters using specific job related keywords.

Are you ready for the interview? If you receive an interview call, congratulations! This is your opportunity to prove your worth. Have confidence in yourself and firmly believe that since you have come this far, you can beat the rest and make it through. You can actually do that, provided you have the right kind of preparation.

You have to do your homework. Do extensive research about the organisation and the role you are being interviewed for. Do also find what other organisations expect from their employees in similar positions as well.

At the interview, convince them that you know the organisation and role inside out. Be ready for the more common interview questions as well, like talking about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses and citing examples of your successes and failures in your existing or previous jobs, etc.

If the salary is not mentioned in the job ad, try to get insider information about the salary range for the position. At the interview, if you demand less than they are prepared to offer for the position, they will think you are not worth it; or you will be getting paid less every month even if you are hired. And if you demand beyond the range, they will think you might not stay for long even if you agree to join for a lower salary after negotiation.

Who are your referees? Many a times, we use our university professors or famous people as our referees. But, in the corporate world their reference is of little value, though they may have been great mentors.

Your best referees should be your current supervisor, followed by your past supervisors. You may include one industry leader or guru of the field you are in, provided you know the person well. And make sure you have their consents to be your referees.

Are you tired? I often come across job seekers who have become frustrated and tired of applying. “Come on!” I tell them, in a country of more than one hundred and fifty million people, how many jobs are actually there in the market compared to the number of job seekers?

So, keep applying and never give up. My experience suggests, for junior professionals in Bangladesh, if you make one hundred job applications, you will receive one interview call. And if you face ten interviews, you are likely to get one job offer. But the more senior you become, the higher the chances of your applications yielding results. Thus, keep patience. 

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