Ready to take on a new opportunity in 2020? We know we provide you plenty of advice on your job search, but before you dive in to looking for new jobs this January, like 78% of automotive professionals told us they will be, here are a few useful tips you might have forgotten about, that we believe are the key to securing a new job.
Identify a clear target
Why are you looking for a new job now? And what sort of job are you looking for? Identifying your reasons for a new role, and what you want from a new one will help you set out a clear idea of what you want before you start searching. This way you can easily shortlist jobs that appeal to you and determine whether it is a realistic opportunity.
Whether you’re a mechanic, an engineer or a salesman you need to put some thought into your career goals and determine what level you are at in terms of your employability. Assess your current abilities and qualifications and talk to friends and colleagues within the automotive industry to help establish realistic career targets.
Aiming for unrealistic senior positions with high salaries could be a waste of time if you are underqualified and inexperienced. It can also damage morale if you fail to hear back from firms you want to work for, putting you off applying for positions at the company in the future. At the same time, it is also easy to undervalue yourself, resulting in interviews for jobs that are no better than the one you currently have.
Plan your search
Before you start your job hunt, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you want a new job?
- What time frame is acceptable in terms of finding a new job?
- What companies do you want to work for?
- When will you search for jobs?
If you plan on doing some networking to get your name known by decision makers at key companies, then you must research relevant events and conferences and try to attend. You can create a plan digitally but a physical plan that you can see on a regular basis may act as a good reminder.
Job searching can be a time consuming process and it can be easy to get discouraged and put it off for periods of time. To keep yourself motivated, set yourself daily goals to ensure you stick at it I.E. finding and saving 2 or 3 jobs or day, or sending one application.
Searching for a job with a clear plan in place gives you a better opportunity to land your ideal job at one of your preferred firms, as your time will be spent more efficiently.
Do your research
Before you begin your application, you should get to know the company by browsing their website and taking notes of interesting information you could use during your application e.g. your cover letter and interview, should you be so lucky
Establish what key services are offered, what makes them one of the best companies in the sector and why it is an attractive place to work. A company blog is a good way to find out more about regular ongoings, culture, charitable work and achievements.
A cover letter sent by a person who has conducted thorough research shows enthusiasm and initiative, setting them apart from less interesting and generic applications.
Once you are comfortable you have sufficient knowledge about the company, you can then look into what the average salary is for your profession, and therefore what you should expect for your role. Knowing what you are worth is very useful when negotiating a salary and shows further insight into the industry. You can find more information on salaries and benefits on our blog.
Determine your key skills
Do not get hung up on searching for jobs with a specific job title!
These titles can vary and change over time. Instead, focus on identifying your key skill set and plan your search based on the desirable skills section of the job post. Focusing on skills rather than the job summary can help identify jobs that may have been missed previously and potentially take you down a new and more interesting career path.
Streamline your CV
If you’ve worked in a variety of companies over a number of years, you’re entire career history could be rather lengthy. Limit your past work experience to a few relevant jobs, preferably ones which are recent and most relevant.
Don’t make the mistake of including decades of jobs that aren’t relevant to the role you’re applying for. Anything that is a stark contrast to your profession should be left out.
Less is more for time-poor recruiters. Give them the information they desire, not a full biography of your career.
Sending an application which is littered with errors is the definition of a bad first impression. The application will likely be dismissed by a lot of recruiters as it shows a lack of effort and no attention to detail.
Errors can be easily avoided by having another person read through your CV and cover letter. A second pair of eyes may even identify room for improvement and provide additional ideas to strengthen your application. An over-reliance on the spelling and grammar checking tool within a word processor is risky as they are not foolproof and can easily miss common mistakes.
Create unique cover letters
A tailored cover letter is your best weapon to land the perfect job. Of course your skills and experience are the main reason a company will hire you, but a cover letter is where you really sell yourself and try to impress your potential employer.
Noone wants to read a cover letter that reads as though it could be sent to a variety of organisations – they want to read why you want a job with them. Be unique, interesting and specific to the company. It is important to clarify why you want to work for that company in particular.
They also want to know what you can bring to the company, in both the short term and the long term. Use the job description to assess what the job role entails and how you can perfectly meet the requirements.
A cover letter must be descriptive, not just a repeat of your CV. Tell them where you found the job, why you want it and what your career goals are. If possible, direct the application to an individual person – you can usually find the relevant person on a company’s LinkedIn page – sometimes a posted application can be much more effective than an email.
Use social media to create a positive personal brand
If you are creating a professional brand using social media, then it is important to have a clear statement across all your accounts to ensure consistency. If you are selling yourself as a top salesman then you need to focus on your impressive results, while a top engineer or mechanic must put across their technical expertise and qualifications.
Do not put all your focus into one platform – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can all be useful tools and allow you to reach a range of people within the automotive industry. Again, be consistent, and use the same profile picture and a similar style. Keep information strictly professional and avoid getting sucked into any heated debates.
Focus on building a strong network, meaning do not just add every person you come across within the sector. Try to interact with thought leaders in the industry and decision makers at leading companies with the aim of one day adding them as a connection, adding a person you don’t know is just bad etiquette.
Transfer your social media brand to your application – your cover letter should be consistent with the style you use when posting online and try to put across the same overall statement.
Create good working relationships
Maintaining strong relationships with current and former colleagues is important, especially if you plan on using these people as a reference. Social media allows you to stay in touch with former bosses and managers very easily with the occasional post comment or message. It takes very little effort, but can go a long way in securing a stronger reference.
Keeping in touch with former workmates can also be beneficial if you are applying for a job at a company they currently work for, having a friend ‘put in a good word’ can’t hurt and could give you the edge over other candidates.
Show an interest in the industry
When working in the automotive sector, it is vital to never stop learning, especially with the introduction of new technologies such as electric and hybrid cars. When searching for a new job, you can severely harm your chances if your knowledge is outdated or you are not aware of new practices.
Fortunately, online resources are plentiful and social media can keep you updated with the latest news. Joining discussion groups can help you become known by key individuals within the industry, which could be handy if you’re ever invited to an interview at their company.
A passion for your job and the sector can be equally as important as having significant experience. Recruiters want candidates who are enthusiastic and have a willingness to improve. They do not want to hire a person who makes very little effort to learn new things and grow their skill set.
We hope the guidance above can be helpful in your search for a new career, the advice in this article is not difficult to put into practice but can boost your prospects significantly.
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