Next Job: Clarity and Quick Employment

When looking for a new job, the question that many job seekers face, is what should be their next job? While there are many good tools and techniques for developing personal career plans and visions as to what would suit you long term, the simple need of most job seekers is to find their next job now, and worry about career planning later.

As a recruiter and CV Writer I can not condone this as a great long term career planning. Strategy: simply, you will continually find yourself continually unemployed if you don't have a career plan. However, here are some simple tools and techniques which will help you quickly clarify what HR professionals and recruiters will see as your most credible job application slots, and hence jobs in which you are most likely to quickly get employed in.

Next HR Professionals Job

The job of the Human Resources department is to plan and then manage an organisations pool of people. This generally means that they focus on the internal pool first - known skills and demonstrable loyalty to the organisation - and then only recruit externally when they need a specific skills, which can not be delivered internally in the required time scale.

As a result, they form a set of rules associated with external applicants. These are simply:

  • Skills used in the last 3 years are deployable
  • Skills used in the last 5 years are retrainable
  • Skills used before the last 5 years are interesting job history!

I hence when an HR professional or recruiter reads your Professional CV, their focus mainly on the last 3 years of jobs, and secondly on the last five years of jobs. It therefore always amazes me when reading a job seekers CV, that they put as much balance on the jobs they had ten years ago, as those they are presently doing. Simply, rebalance your Professional CV towards what you have done in the past three years (first half page), and the last 5 years (first page and a half), and summarise the rest.

Next Job Focus?

So if the HR professionals are focusing on most on the last 3years of experience, and then the last 5years, does this restrict your job search? No, and here's why. Your jobs each have two aspects to them:

  • A professionalism/skill: shelf stacker, accountant, director
  • A market: retail, logistics, construction

So if you are presently an account assistant in retail, then you could look at other accounting jobs, or other retail jobs. This same proposition works for any job that you have held in the past five years. The result should be a square matrix, of somewhere between 1 profession by 2 markets, to - the biggest so far - 3 professions by 5 markets. 

Why the limit? If you have turned your career over regularly, or are a contract worker, then there becomes a point where credibility stops in the eyes of the employer that you are applying to. Don't see the matrix as the answer, but as a starting point from which to select at maximum three core job markets. The point of credibility is defined in part by timescale (why have you picked something that you last did 3 to 5 years ago), and in part by passion and forward career planning. There is no point picking something which you didn't like doing.

When I speak to job seekers about this technique, all suddenly find clarity out of their job search fog.

Next Job application adjustment

The final part of this exercise now means market testing both the target markets and yourself.

Firstly the markets, You should have defined by now where you want to work and how much you need to earn, so go to your favourite jobs board and tap in your three core professions/markets and see what appears. If you can find 20+ jobs, then the market is recruiting; if not, extend the geography until you can find 20. Once you have found 20, are these jobs all paying the required amount of money? If the answer to either of these questions is no (at least 20 jobs; minimum required income), then go back and review your matrix for another core job area.

Secondly, yourself. One thing in recruitment that does count, but which does greatly differ between companies, are job titles. Where as one companies director may not manage any people, another's accounts manager may manage a team of over 20 people. Hence title adjustment around your defined core job application areas becomes key to getting employed. While a job title may be nice to talk about in networking meetings and down the pub o a Sunday, its experience gained and wages earnt which are counted in your ability to sustain a career and pay the bills.

These simple techniques, when applied to job application, will both clarify what you want to do and where you should be applying for your next job. This should ensure that you gain employment quickly, by offering the employer what they are looking for.

Good Luck!

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