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Tips for applying for a new job

Many people use the start of the new year as momentum to find a new job. But finding a new job isn’t always easy – especially with the added pressures of the pandemic making job security scarce and salaries less competitive as companies struggle under the weight of potential lockdowns and restrictions. It does sound gloomy, but it’s never impossible to change jobs, industries or even just your role within your workplace. Whatever you’re looking to do, try some tips below to help you apply for that new job.

Draft a CV

Your CV is usually the first thing potential employers read about you, so it needs to stand-out. You need to say why you should be hired and why the prospective company will benefit from employing you. It’s not an easy task and unfortunately most CVs will need to be edited for each job you apply for as a generic sounding CV won’t attract the attention of hiring managers. Your CV should include:

Once you have a basic draft, you can look online for free templates so that it looks a little more professional. Ask anyone you know in a similar industry to check your CV for you – you can also ask friends and family but be mindful that their advice may not be relevant to your role or industry.

You can also check different job listings or professional profiles for people who already do what you’re looking to apply for. Note the language and vocabulary associated with these roles and try to pick a few keywords to use in your own CV. This will help your CV stand-out as it’s skim-read in the first stages of application.

Applying for a job

In an ideal world, you would find the job of your dreams and receive an offer straightaway. Unfortunately, for the majority of job-seekers, it doesn’t happen this way. The best thing you can do is apply to as many jobs as possible. Even if you’re not sure you want a particular job, going through the application process is good practice for when the job you do want comes around. You will probably receive a few rejections and may not even hear back from some applications. This is all part-and-parcel of finding a new job and you can’t take it personally – it’s also why it’s so important to submit so many applications. Some companies may offer feedback about your CV, and you should take this onboard to help you with the next application.

Preparing for an interview

Once you do receive a positive response to your CV, you should start doing a little research. Review the company’s website if you haven’t already and find any associated social media pages. Familiarise yourself with mission of the company, including what they do and why, and anything you can find out about their business culture. This will help you seem well-informed for any follow-up questions or interviews. When you do get offered an interview, make sure it’s at a time that suits you so you’re not stressed or panicked before the interview has even started, but be mindful that you are probably one of several candidates and the hiring managers will have their own schedules.

If you’re not sure what to wear, it’s always better to go with a formal or smart dress code – some shops will allow you to hire a suit for just 24 hours to help you dress appropriately for a prospective job. If your interview is over a webchat, you still need to dress smartly.

Don’t be late: aim to get there 5-10 minutes before your interview time. This may mean getting a train 30 minutes earlier than you need to in order to avoid delays making you late. When you’re in the interview, try to sit comfortably so you’re relaxed and ready to answer their questions and try to maintain eye contact with the interviewers. Be as enthusiastic as possible to show you have a positive attitude and that you’re excited for the opportunity and ask questions when the opportunity comes up to show that you’re inquisitive and genuine about the role. Some examples could be:

Remember that as much as you might need a job, you still need to make sure it’s right for you, so ask as many questions as you need so that you can understand the role properly and what will be required of you.

Some companies may ask for multiple interviews, projects or even tests as part of their application process. The process will vary depending on the role you’re applying for and the company itself, so don’t be put off if you’re being asked to do tasks or attend multiple interviews – each new stage means you’ve passed a previous stage. There is also no pressure to accept a job offer if you have multiple job interviews going on – you can explain to the prospective employer that you’re waiting to hear back from other interviews, and you’ll give them an answer as soon as possible.

Your finances in the meantime…

If you’re lucky enough to be moving jobs because you want to, then you probably won’t see much of an impact on your finances during the job search as you’ll still be receiving income from your current job. You may want to make small adjustments to your budget to prepare for a gap in pay between leaving your current job and starting a new one, or even just in case you need to buy new suits or a slightly more expensive season train ticket. If everything is moving quite quickly, you may even look to a short term line of credit to help you manage your money while finding a new position.

If you’re looking for a new role because your current job has ended, it can be a much scarier time for your finances, increasing your stress levels which might make it harder to find a new job. Hopefully, you’ve had some warning that you will need to find other work – use this time to save as much as you can and start looking for something new as soon as possible. If you can get your CV done and submit some job applications straightaway, you’ll have less time with no work before securing that new job. You may need to consider a bigger adjustment to your budget though, including reducing your invisible spending and non-essential purchases until your new income is secured. It’s not a nice prospect, but it should help you maintain your priority bills like rent and food while you’re searching for new work.

More Information

Seven New Year’s Resolutions for Financial Health

A guide to managing your money: Saving

Can I use a credit line to pay my rent?

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