I have been conducting a European wide search, a region in the throes of an economic depression. In the middle of a global pandemic unemployment levels are at an all time high, so I anticipated being overwhelmed by significant numbers of on-target job seekers, with difficult selection decisions to make. I was wrong. Despite there being millions of career coaches on the market, plus a mass of free information, elearnings, webinars and podcasts, it seems there is a need for back to basics job search tips
To my astonishment I have found that even the very basics are not being implemented. As with any activity it’s sometimes necessary to re-visit the fundamental tenets simply to get the basics right. Perhaps they were never there to start with, or perhaps for some they have slipped by the wayside.
10 back to basics job search tips
Here are 10 of the most basic tips that seem so obvious that you would think that all job seekers would be doing them. I can assure you they are not!
1. Be visible
A complete online professional profile is mandatory on one of the main international networks: LinkedIn, Viadeo, Xing – or any of the more local ones. This is especially relevant if you are unemployed.
2. Don’t apply for a job if you are not reasonably on target
This can be contentious, but if you are missing critical skills, you are wasting everyone’s time and setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration. If you meet 60% of the requirements that’s fine. Ladies take note.
3. Check who has viewed your profile
If it’s a head hunter or recruiter – contact them if you are looking for a job.
4. Be easily contactable
Make yourself easily reachable with as a minimum an email address on your professional profile. If you are afraid of spammers – open up a separate account for job search. If you want to post a phone number so much the better.
5. Check your mails
If you are looking for a job or are unemployed, you should be checking your emails and InMails multiple times a day even at weekends and holidays. This applies also to your professional profile mail box.
6. Respond promptly
To contact requests. Check your phone regularly for messages and missed calls. I came across a LinkedIn profile that said “looking for new challenge” which is job search speak for unemployed. The individual responded to me after three weeks for reasons which are not clear – but it wasn’t because they had been sick. It was too late.
7. Don’t bench
This is a phrase that has been taken from the dating world which means putting someone on the backburner while you explore other options. It involves giving someone just enough attention to make sure they stay interested in you. Meanwhile, they are dating around and seeing what else is out there.
I engaged with a candidate who sent short messages from time to time, but had no availability to speak. Maybe she had been “benching” me, that is lining up other better options which may have fallen through. When she finally contacted me the search was finished. When I send a message saying “if I haven’t heard from you by x date I will assume you are not interested”, I do mean it.
8. Have a current CV
Your CV should be instantly available to send immediately to any prospective recruiter. If you have to take time to write a CV and you are unemployed or on furlough you are way behind the curve.
9. Be available for an online interview
Or a telephone call. I mean we are in quarantine for most regions and working remotely so it should be much easier than usual. There is no need to sneak off to find an empty conference room with lame excuses to your manager and colleagues. If it’s a problem – flag it up. If you don’t want to be interrupted to engage in a job search process now, you may find that you have even more time to yourself than you would like, or can afford, in the future.
10. Pay it forward
If you are not interested personally share with your network. Do someone else a favour.
If you know any job seekers looking for a new opportunity or unemployed, share this post with them. It might help!
Note: this post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated. Nothing much has changed.
If you need help with your job search – get in touch!