2016 is a whole 24 hours longer than 2015. Being a leap year we get to enjoy the elusive 29 February.
Traditionally the day when a women was able to ask the man of her dreams to marry her, employment experts, Prospects, think it’s a great day to find the perfect job: Nicola Squibb, Director at Prospects, who works with thousands of people looking to improve their job prospects, says: “Good luck to anyone taking the plunge and asking their loved one to marry them today, but the rest of us can also make the most of the extra day and propose to a new boss if we want to make a fresh start.”
Waiting around to see if your perfect job ever gets advertised is hit and miss, only around 15% of jobs ever get advertised traditionally, so you need to take control and enter the hidden jobs market if you want your dream job.
Like choosing what to wear before a date, you want to make sure you’re as attractive as possible to potential new employers, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Nicola recommends: “First of all, think about what you have to offer. One quick way is to use the Skills Health Check tool available on the National Careers Service website, nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk. This will help you identify your strengths so you can be at your best, it also has hints to improve your skills to make you a better catch.”
Once you know what you are good at and have an idea about the type of work you want to do, you need to think about the type of company you want to work for. Do you want an outdoor, rugged type? Or a sharp suited city type? Everyone is different so one girl’s choice might be one boy’s nightmare, whatever you choose, it’s got to be right for you.
Once you’ve decided the type of match you want to make, you need to narrow it down, choosing a few companies that could offer you happiness – you could pick just one, but companies, like dates, don’t always work out first time round. The easiest way is to search the net.
Steve Huntley, job coach with Prospects, the employment, education and skills company, suggests: “There are some search tips that can help you. If you want to work for a fashion retailer find one with a website, like www.topshop.com. Once you know the web address you can Google “related:www.topshop.com” and all similar websites will come up, giving you more potential employers, and might include that special one.”
Now you know who you want to meet, you need to get hold of their telephone number. When you first look at a website it’s often hard to get past the national numbers or faceless contact pages and if you’re looking for that perfect boss in Bradford, it’s no good calling head office miles away. You want to get up close and personal with your new boss, not an automated telephone system. Steve recommends you: “Go online again, this time type the name of the company, a plus sign and the local area dialling code in speech marks. Want to work for JD Wetherspoon in Bristol? type “Wetherspoon”+“0117” into Google and the local branches, with their phone numbers, will appear.”
Now you have decided who you are going to propose to, you need to get prepared. It’s no good just ringing someone up out of the blue and declaring your love. You need a strategy and a game plan if you are going to crack the hidden jobs market. When you call the first thing you will have to do is get past the gatekeeper. Like the over protective parent, the gatekeeper isn’t going to let you speak to the right person until they know your intentions are honourable.
The best way to get past the gatekeeper is to be polite, friendly and honest. Use a direct statement, giving them all the information they need, to know you mean business. Try “Hello, my name is …, I’m calling to find out about the vacancies you have, can I speak to the manager please?”
If you get a ‘they’re not here at the moment’ response, don’t be put off, just ask for the manager’s name and say you’ll call back. Next time you call you will know who you want to speak to, and it should make it easier. The course of true love doesn’t always run smooth so don’t be put off at the first hurdle, be persistent, call back. Soon you will get to speak to the right person and when you do you can win them over.
The secret to securing success is to ask open questions when you get to speak to the one. Ask questions that need more than a yes or no answer. Try ‘what vacancies do you have?’ ‘when will new vacancies come up?’ ‘which parts of the business are you recruiting for?’ and ‘how would you like me to apply?’ Some future bosses will want to hang up on you, they’re probably busy, to give them the perfect opportunity ask the one closed question that will get you a positive response ‘can I send you my CV?’. Keen to end the call, this gives them the perfect opening, but it also gives you the perfect reason to call them back, to find out if they received your CV.
In most cases when you call back, the manager will have received your CV, but by calling to check you are putting your name at the forefront of their mind and your CV on the top of the pile. Keep in touch regularly and you’ll be the first to know when that vacancy comes up.
If the manager doesn’t think they have received it, Steve suggests this is your golden opportunity: “offer to hand-deliver a copy of your CV, ask what time would be convenient to drop by and book an appointment. That’s the easiest way to book your own interview.”
Good luck with your first date, hopefully this February 29 will be the day that changes your life forever.
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Notes to Editor
Alona de Havilland
PR Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
07790 803882 or 01823 362804