How to prep for each job search phase

How to mentally prepare for each job search phase…

As we enter the last week of the month (which also brings the final posts in our special January series), it’s time to prepare for each phase of your job search. Today’s advice comes from Kourtney Whitehead, via Forbes.

Most career advice articles largely focus on the practical side of job hunting, from CV writing to interviews. All very necessary! However, it’s rare to find articles that explore the emotional and mental aspects of your search.

After all, as Whitehead suggests, job searches can be long and stressful at times. Particularly if you’re searching for roles in a new field or you work within a particularly competitive industry. Yet a little bit of mental prep can help you feel far more in control and may minimise some of the stress along the way.

Prepping for each job search phase…

1. Getting started

This is described as the easiest phase, due to your increased levels of energy and optimism. As Whitehead says, “few things in life will transform your daily experience faster than finding a new job.”

The first phase starts as soon as you’re actively working on your job search, for instance updating your CV and LinkedIn profile.

Your first mental challenge: fighting the urge to procrastinate. Fear of rejection may stop you from getting going as quickly as you could. The advice is to get started ASAP so as not to extend your search. Don’t let your CV efforts delay you either – focus your attention on tailoring your CV to the most appealing roles, as well as checking for errors.

Tip: don’t get too bogged down in how your CV looks either. A clean and classic layout is often far more reader-friendly than a heavily designed format. Visit our downloads page for more straight-forward CV Advice.

2. Finding leads

This is the most time and energy-intensive aspect phase of your job search. It’s now that you’ll be making contact with prospective employers via jobs boards, recruitment agencies, and similar. You may also soon be fielding calls and juggling interview requests.

Your second mental challenge: reaching out to others for help and being prepared for applications and conversations that don’t lead to results. This phase can leave job-seekers feeling ‘vulnerable’, yet it’s also the stage that Whitehead describes as “the bridge between dreaming for a new job and having your chance to sell yourself during an interview.”

She reminds that this is also the longest stage for most job-seekers. Again, the advice here is to prepare for these feelings and press on.

Tip: finding an expert recruitment consultant that you can really trust and open up to may help reduce some of that vulnerability (as well as giving you access to industry insights and some of the best local employers in your field!). The REC member directory is a great place to start, alongside checking Testimonials and Google Reviews.  

3. Converting opportunities

It’s now that you’re attending interviews, which can prove stressful for many candidates.

Your third mental challenge: second-guessing every aspect of your interview performance. This may include replaying your interview questions and answers on repeat in your mind and picking yourself apart for every perceived wrong.

Whitehead suggests that before each of your interviews you “promise yourself that you will do your best and then choose to be satisfied with wherever that leads you.”

Tip: remember, even if you’ve just been rejected from a role, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Seek feedback where you can (your Recruitment Consultant should assist with this) and move on to the next opportunity.

4.  The negotiations

This is the stage where you’ve received a job offer yet may be faced with a negotiation. You’ll see that many job vacancies indicate a salary range as opposed to a single salary figure. The end offer tends to depend on your experience level.

Your fourth mental challenge: facing negotiations when your salary worth perceptions differ from your prospective employer’s. You may feel pressure and anxiety around your abilities to negotiate and/or the fear of losing the opportunity.

Whitehead advises against undervaluing yourself and failing to negotiate at this stage.

Tip: before applying for roles, it’s worth having a really honest discussion with your Recruitment Consultant about your salary expectations. They can advise what’s realistic for your skills and experience to date and will, in many cases, do much of the salary discussion on your behalf, dependent on individual client arrangements.

We hope you already feel better prepared to start your job search. For further advice, catch up with the rest of our January series so far…

Don’t forget to keep popping back to our News page for more tips. You can also connect with us via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and/or register your CV for opportunities



The year of the pay rise!

How and when to ask for a pay rise this year…

If you’ve read any of our January posts so far, you’ll know that we’re dedicating this month to positive and supportive features to help you achieve your career plans.

You can catch up with our previous posts here:

  1. Our introduction to the series and why it’s so necessary
  2. The employee traits that could speed up your job search success
  3. Good news for beating the New Year blues and SAD

If achieving a pay rise is top of your new year plans, then this feature is for you!

Today’s story comes from Adzuna; as published by HR News. Adzuna has shared a four-step plan to help increase your chance of increasing your salary this year!

We’ll also share some tips from other experts on this subject.

Why January could be the best time to ask for a pay rise

The article states that the average 2019 salary actually reached its peak last January. Adzuna reports that salaries almost reached an average of £35,000 per annum during that period and for the only point that year.

For this reason, they suggest that this could be the month for you to get the process started. We’ll return to this topic in one of their steps below.

The four-step plan includes…

  1. Evaluating your performance
  2. Standing out from the crowd
  3. Careful timing
  4. Preparing for a ‘no’

Evaluating your performance:

  • Take the time to evaluate your achievements against your targets and responsibilities.
  • Select examples that clearly demonstrate business benefits.
  • Consider how your examples show that you’ve gone beyond your current role and have truly earned the possibility of a pay increase.

Standing out from the crowd:

  • Essentially, this involves finding ways to accept as many internal opportunities as you can – from training to projects – to show that you are more positive and proactive than your colleagues.
  • Also ensure to highlight your current soft skills and those you’re working on. Even if you’re not actively job searching, you can refer back to our post on these essential skills.

Careful timing:

  • Don’t think you have to wait for your next appraisal to open your salary conversations. Remember, January could be a prime time for such discussions.
  • However, you do want to make sure you’re ready to make a strong case. Aim to follow all of the above advice as thoroughly as you can before speaking to your manager or boss.

Preparing for a ‘no:’

  • As the article suggests, it’s vital to mentally prepare for your request to be rejected. And it doesn’t mean it’s personal if it is! The company may not be in the position to make any increases at this time, may have another date in mind, or may prefer to wait until they can offer pay rises to all team members.
  • Of course, there’s also the chance that your case isn’t quite strong enough right now. Seek out your manager or employer’s feedback.
  • You can always ask when an increase could be more realistic and/or whether there are any alternative rewards that could be negotiated at this time.

Some extra tips…

  • When considering your timing, don’t forget to review your situation so far. Are you new to the company and/or have you already received a pay rise within the past 12 months? One BBC expert recommends holding off if so.
  • Sometimes the biggest pay rises come from new employers. Resolution Foundation has found that employees who remained with their employer (in 2018) could predict a pay rise of ‘0.6% a year after inflation’. Conversely, those who make a job change can expect a typical rise of 4.5% in their first year following the switch – which is seven times the amount.
  • Focus on your productivity and inspire and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Resolution Foundation also found that it’s the times when Britain is performing productively that we receive the greatest pay rises!

Don’t forget to keep an eye on our jobs page so you can benchmark your salary against the latest openings. Regularly reading job descriptions can also help you better understand the skills and expertise that you’ll need to take you to that next salary level!



A year of big change & a positive start!

2020 looks set to be a year of big change for employees and businesses.

We’re dedicating the next month to a number of positive news posts to help inspire your 2020 career plans. We’ll explore everything from personality traits to coping with SAD, pay rises, career changes, and the value of career plans themselves.

Before the series officially launches tomorrow, we’re going to focus on why such a focus is necessary…

Big change is ahead!

The latest findings suggest that:

  • Around 1/2 of British employees plan to change jobs this year.
  • This could come at a cost of approximately £195 to businesses each day.
  • In addition, businesses are already struggling to recruit with unemployment levels remaining exceptionally low.

As for the customer services industry…

  • Almost 40% of customer service professionals intend to find a new role.
  • January is considered the worst month of the year for this group’s happiness levels.
  • As a result, 5% of respondents will leave their customer service job this month alone. This figure may not sound vast, yet could cost UK businesses £201,757,500 in January!

Employers are already worried:

  • Only last month 2/5 of business leaders reported a ‘constant battle’ with staff retention.
  • Almost 1/2 of HR professionals expect to lose 10% of their team during any business year.
  • What’s more, 14% of the nation’s new recruits leave their roles within their first 30 days, and 39% do so within the first six months.

Let’s turn to some positives…

If more professionals make these job moves as planned, more candidates will be available for existing and new job opportunities. This could help to shake up the skills shortage the UK has experienced over recent years.

What’s more, the research data also presents some additional (and valuable!) insights.

  • The study that said 1/2 of British people will change jobs this year also identified the number one employee retention tool – working for a company with a purpose. Or ‘the positive reason the organisation exists, what drives it forward and what it stands for.’
  • A separate study found that 90% of employees working for businesses with ‘clearly defined and motivational purposes’ feel engaged at work. That’s 58% more employee engagement than companies that don’t have clear and positive purposes!
  • On the customer services side, it’s found that employee retention levels can be enhanced through ‘regular and timely feedback, non-financial rewards, and healthcare and flexitime.’ Pay rates also hold influence for 53% of these respondents.

If you’re reading this as a current or prospective job-seeker…

  • This sort of research data has multiple benefits for your job search. Firstly, it’s helpful to know what other employees prioritise as it can help you understand and clarify your own goals.
  • You may also feel it’s time for you to seek out a company with a greater purpose, or you may be looking to work with more likeminded people, increase your salary, and/or seek experience in a new sector. There are no rights and wrongs – these are your career goals!
  • In addition, knowing that application numbers may increase can you help you focus your efforts on those roles you are most interested in.
  • Visit our jobs page to apply for the latest opportunities. You can also upload your CV here.

If you’re reading this as an employer or manager…

  • You can also use this data to your advantage. Even if you know your business serves a positive purpose, you need to find ways to clearly communicate this to your team (and any customers or clients you serve).
  • It’s helpful to review your staff retention levels and strategies as a whole. Ever high or increasing employee turnover levels often indicate something is going wrong – whether that’s down to an unhappy working environment, absent staff retention strategy, or even recruiting the wrong people in the first place.
  • Even businesses used to steady staffing levels will likely see an increase in employee departures if the above stats ring true. This knowledge can help you get prepared and proactive in your recruitment plans.
  • Be sure to find a trusted recruitment partner to support you. For further advice, please call the office on 01225 313130.

We hope you all enjoy this month’s features and it helps you start your own year of big changes!