[image: Shutterstock]

Tackling the Job Market | Part 1: The Search

With the rate of unemployment at its highest for the past five years, I decided to create a three-part series on Tackling the Job Market. Job hunting is a full time job. It can be overwhelming and often gruelling. The purpose of this series is to help you find your way, particularly today, with the increase in applicant competition. This is the first of the three-part series.

Good luck to all currently job searching at this time.

Sidenote: I recommend having a quick read of an article I published in January, Recruitment in a Pan(dem)ic. It’s a great starting point to this conversation.

As Spring approaches, the job market is blossoming, and the increase in vacancies will certainly increase the confidence of those looking for a new role and the opportunity to evolve.

You may have the overpowering urge to run at these roles as I do to milk bottle sweets, but before you do, consider the following three steps: Stop, Look, Listen.


✋ Hold your horses! Don’t rush into the battleground. Be mindful and have a strategy.

Job boards

Build a list of general and specialist job boards, ideally you will have a solid three or four. Speak to friends, current and past colleagues to find out their preferred job boards.

[source: MedBroadcast.com]

Recruitment agencies

Ask people in the same field which recruitment agencies they have worked well with in the past, and connect with the agencies directly or apply for a role they may have published on a job board. This will lead to a conversation you are more than likely to learn something from. A good recruitment contact can increase your success. Even if they don’t connect you with the right job, they will be able to give you:

  • a good understanding of the current landscape
  • tips on your CV
  • tips on your interview technique
  • insider tips / “cheatsheets” for interviews


Are there specific or dream companies you’d like to work for? Target them by applying for a job as close to one you would want as possible. Some companies will have an Open Application job on their career site that you can apply to — this is a great way to apply speculatively.


Is there a specific industry you’re interested in? Research to find as many companies as possible within this industry and apply to roles via their website, or send your CV to their generic jobs or careers email address, or apply speculatively, where possible.


You may have an assumption of the type of roles that would be suitable for you. Perhaps you’re an Office Manager and thinking, “Ah, I simply need to apply for any job with the same job title.” Job searching in this way limits your options and potentially the chance to take on a new type of challenge and grow.

No two roles are the same, Office Manager at one company could be Facilities Manager at another, and Receptionist somewhere else. It is extremely important you take the time to understand how the market currently qualifies roles:

[source: Emerald Works]
  • What job titles are being used?
  • What responsibilities are listed in the job description?
  • What is the current lingo?
  • What skills are required?

As well as searching by job title, I would also recommend doing keyword searches so you are not limited to roles purely on the basis of job title. This means understanding your key skills or skills you wish to acquire and using these words to search for a role. There may be an Executive Assistant position that requires your skillset, but will additionally challenge you and stretch your abilities.

Also consider the type of environments that work best for you. Money is important, but the type of environment you work in and the people you work with are just as important — I would argue, more so. Considering work is where you will have the bulk of your daily interactions, this part should not be underestimated.

Go to the company website, LinkedIn page and any other social sites they may use. Get an understanding of the culture based on what is presented. Glassdoor is also a good indicator of a company’s true strengths and weaknesses. No company is perfect, but don’t go in naively, do some digging before you apply.


“Listen to your heart, you will find…”

Arrrgghhh, Bryan Adams, get out of my head — please!

Ok, back to business. Take the time to ask yourself what you really want. I always ask candidates, “Forget your current situation, push aside the role you’ve applied for… If you could step into your perfect role tomorrow, what would that look like?”

This “perfect role tomorrow” may not yet exist, but it is important to solidify what Utopia is for you. Use this as a baseline to consider your next options if you don’t get this perfect ideal. I would recommend you have a list of three options. At least one of these scenarios should be one step before ideal. For example, you are a Graduate and want to be a Software Architect. The best route may be to first become a Software Engineer role. This will give you the opportunity to:

  • Gain hands-on experience of the fundamentals;
  • Be a much more effective Architect as you’re able to pull from past experiences, and consequently have better quality conversations and solutions.

Your ideal scenario list will help you navigate the job market more constructively. This more targeted, yet open, approach will increase the quality of your applications and interviews, and hopefully, the likelihood of finding your next perfect role.

In Part 2, we tackle… your CV. See you there! 👋🏾

You can find the full catalogue of my articles on my personal website, Medium and LinkedIn.



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Lola Oguntokun

Lola Oguntokun


I help build, shape and champion innovative companies and culture.