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How to Manage Your Job Search

It’s a pretty challenging time to be looking for a job, with UK vacancies soaring to record highs in August, but many companies still experiencing pandemic-related disruption. While top-quality employees have never been in such demand, it can also be overwhelming trying to sort through which roles are worth applying for, especially when some job boards are notorious for sending out emails containing dozens of irrelevant jobs. Here’s some tips on sorting through the noise, keeping track of what you apply for, and ensuring you aren’t wasting your time on inappropriate applications.

Keep a Spreadsheet of your applications

A simple spreadsheet is a good way to see where you’re up to with each application. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but columns for the company name, job title, contact email, application deadline, CV submission date, interview date, status and notes will give you an easy way to make sure you can keep track of multiple applications at once. You’ll be able to sort and filter your list by each of these fields, allowing you to easily see what you’ve got coming up and what you need to act on.

Create a list of keywords

It’s worth spending a few minutes coming up with a list of keywords that are relevant to your search. Industry specialities and job titles are a good place to start, but you can also search most job sites by key skills and requirements, so you don’t necessarily need to limit your keyword list to job titles.

Set up custom job alerts

Don’t use the defaults! Most job search sites like Indeed or CV Library will offer you the option ‘send me more jobs like this’ when you view a job listing. While these are convenient to set up, they can often result in a large volume of irrelevant job alerts cluttering up your inbox. Instead, go into your profile for the site, and you should be able to manage your job alerts directly. From here, you can manage keywords in the job title, location, and salary information. It’s a good idea to set up multiple alerts, each very narrowly targeted. For example, if you are looking for sales roles, you might set up one alert for “sales executive” jobs and one for “business development” jobs. You may also want to set different location radiuses, so you have an alert for “easy commute” and a separate one for “long commute” jobs. Most sites let you name your job alerts, so you can easily see which criteria you are looking at.

Quality not Quantity

Keep your job search streamlined by only applying for jobs you’re qualified for, and excited about doing. It’ll be a better use of your time to do proper research on one prospective employer – to try and understand their company culture, their reputation and how they promote themselves – and send a highly tailored application, than to idly send out 10 generic CVs with the ‘apply now’ button. You’re much more likely to progress past the first stage if you demonstrate in your application that you have done your research and seem enthusiastic about working for their company.

Don’t be disheartened by rejection

It can be demoralising when you start receiving rejection emails for jobs you really wanted, especially when they’re automated messages that don’t provide any feedback – or worse: getting no response at all. It’s important not to take this rejection personally; it’s still a highly competitive job market out there, and many employers will be receiving hundreds of applications. Keep searching, and stay focussed on your career goals, and that determination will pay off.

Now all that’s left to do is ace the interview!