Creative Job Hunting
Methods of approach
- Put your covering letter as the body of your email and send the CV as an attachment
- Your email address should make the right impression when it appears in the employer’s inbox, so make sure it is professional. Use the format NameSurname@email.com
- Follow up with a phone call if you haven’t heard back in a week.
An example email could look like:
Dear Mr. Smith,
My name is [your name] and I received your contact information through your company web site. I am interested in applying for a position in your Accounts department, and currently have over two years of experience in this area.
Please find attached to this e-mail a copy of my CV that details my past experience.
I will follow up with you during the week to confirm that you have received this e-mail. I look forward to speaking with you.
The quickest method: if you reach the right person, you will know within minutes, but getting past the secretaries/receptionists to the right person can be a challenge. If you use this method, think through your phone call carefully in advance, and plan what you are going to say.
Your first few words may be missed so write down your opening words: say who you are and what the purpose of the call is:
‘‘Good morning, this is Kate Jones speaking. I am ringing about....’’.
Prepare a brief statement to introduce yourself and outline what you are looking for. You can write it down to remind yourself, but try to sound natural and not as though you are reading aloud.
Be prepared for your contact to ask questions, or even to react in a negative manner:
“This is nothing to do with me—I’m not the right person for you to talk to” (Ask who is the right person and note down their contact details.)
“We don’t have anything available right now” (Ask if they may have anything in the future. When would be a good time for you to call again?)
“You don’t have the experience/qualifications that we need” (Try and find out more—what are they looking for? Are their requirements the standard for this business? Are there any postgraduate qualifications that would be valuable?)
Be pleasant and polite to the secretaries/receptionists. They may try to protect their bosses from unwanted intrusions, but if you are friendly and confident, they may be willing to help you.
"This is Sarah Jones calling to speak to Mr Smith" (may be more effective than "Is Mr Smith available?" - it suggests he is expecting your call)
"He's in a meeting/not in the office right now" (ask when he will be back, or if there is anyone else in his department who you could speak to.)
Prepare a message to leave on voicemails or answering machines - keep it brief and sound calm and professional.
Connecting on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social network, but used in business. It’s the modern version of collecting contacts’ business cards! It allows you to keep track of the business connections and relationships that you have built, and to easily contact these people.
- Set up a profile. Input information from your CV, including work history, current position with description, education, some of your skills, a profile photo, a summary about yourself and what you are looking for, work samples or projects, and voluntary experience.
- Start connecting with people you know only; connect with lecturers, colleagues from your part-time job, people you meet at conferences/networking events/employers you speak to. The more connections you have, the more potential for you to learn from others and find out about the industry you are interested in. When asking to connect make the message personal, research shows people are less likely to accept with a generic message.
- Click on the “People you may know” page. LinkedIn will connect to your email address book and find people that you already know. It will also suggest fellow Kent students, lecturers and people you may know.
- Join groups. This is a fantastic way to find out about the sorts of jobs that are available, what topics are discussed in the world of work, and to show your knowledge to potential employers.
- View companies’ pages in order to research their industry, competitors, products and see vacancies that might be advertised.
- Don’t be surprised if people you don’t know try to connect with you. Lots of people are headhunted by recruiters on LinkedIn – this is a fantastic way to find work that isn’t advertised anywhere else! Completing your profile fully, and selling yourself well will help to promote “brand you” – what it is that you are selling to employers!
- Connect your Twitter, Flickr, Slideshare, Wordpress and other accounts – if they are professional! This is a great way to showcase your skills, work, and abilities.
- Take a look at our handy LinkedIn hand out.
- Dress smartly.
- Focus your walk-ins on the HR department or the main reception desk. Leave a CV, covering letter, and your contact details.
- Consider mapping a route round several employers using an A to Z.
- Always follow up with a phone call about a week later.
The 30-second CV or “elevator pitch”
When meeting someone new or speaking to them on the phone, it's a good idea to have your pitch ready. This is a brief description of who you are, what you do and if relevant, why you are seeing or phoning them. Include your three most important selling points. It can also be used at Careers Fairs and other situations where you have to introduce yourself. It should be clear and succinct.
State the positives from your education, skills, and work experience. Show the employer that you are a good match for their requirements. You need to make a good impression and say why you are of value to them. Write out your introduction, and practise saying it out loud and keep rewriting it until it's concise and smooth. Make sure you smile and make eye contact and be prepared to shake hands.
"Hello I'm Debbie Smith and I've just graduated from the University of Kent with a degree in English. I'm really keen to enter a career in journalism and have lots of relevant experience working for the university newspaper. I'd be really grateful for a few minutes of your time ..."