Finding a job can take time and many people find it difficult to keep motivated. It can often feel like a full-time occupation in itself, but with perseverance your hard work will pay off. To keep on track and keep motivated, think about setting yourself a plan. This will help you to focus your goals, see your progress and, if you get stuck or need inspiration, you'll already have ideas of what you can do next.
Here are ten steps that can help you develop your own plan for your job-hunting success.
You should begin by being clear on the type of role, or roles, you are looking for and the location you would like to work in. Don’t be too narrow as you might not be leaving yourself with many options, and if you look too broadly you could become overwhelmed. It’s important to give yourself enough time to spend on each application.
Think about where you could work – do you know which local and national companies offer the types of jobs you are interested in? You can research organisations online or ask friends, family or teachers/tutors for their thoughts. However, remember to stay realistic – you might have to start out doing something else before moving on to what you really want to do.
Make a list of ten organisations and start a spreadsheet to help you keep track. Find out if any of the ten organisations you have identified have any job opportunities that would be suitable for you. You can then choose the vacancies you want to apply for. If this is your first job, you are going to be looking for an entry-level role – without experience, you will be wasting your time if you apply for a managerial role.
There are a massive range of job titles in use so you may not understand what level the position is and what experience is required until you read the full job description. Look out for job titles that include words such as ‘Assistant’, ‘Co-ordinator’, or ‘Administrator’.
Make sure you read a job advert properly; make a note of important information such as the company name, contact details and application deadline, as these will come in handy later on.
Now you can start applying for the vacancies – start with the ones that have the nearest closing dates so you can get your application in on time. Keep copies of your application/CV/cover letter on file so you have something to refer to if called for an interview.
Make sure your application is tailored to every role – some of the content (such as education) will be repeated, but read the job description carefully and make your application relevant. Don’t forget to check every application for spelling and grammar. More information on applications can be found in the next section.
Remember to keep adding to your list of organisations, as some may not have any vacancies that are right for you. Keep them on your list so you remember where you have applied and then research new ones you can add.
Within a few weeks of the application deadline you should start to hear back from employers if you have made it through to the next stage. Some organisations don’t have time to let unsuccessful applicants know, but you can follow up with them to ask whether the vacancy has been filled and if it is possible to get any feedback on your application.
Be persistent and ask for feedback! If your search is not producing the results that you want, don’t blame yourself. Talk to other people, ask them what they did when looking for work and grab yourself some free advice. If you do get any feedback from an employer, make a note of it and use it constructively to make changes to your future applications. That way you are more likely to get better results next time.
View our other guides
A career in HR and L&D opens doors to a huge variety of roles in every type of business and industry - the world is your oyster! Find out why a career in HR and L&D could be the perfect choice for you
As a member, explore the CIPD Career hub to build your skills, knowledge and experience