July 1, 2008

ROUTE to the Top


When it comes to moving up a step in your career search, the online path has a lot to offer, says JULIA BREEN

STRAIGHTEN your tie, polish your shoes. Don't overdo the make- up. Job hunting is a delicate discipline. One false move and you're off the radar.

At least the days of printing off dozens of copies of covering letters and CVs, scouring the trade magazines and sticking stamps on letters are nearly over. These days, both the hunter and the hunted rely on the internet.

Job sites such as monster. co. uk, reed. co. uk, and fish4jobs have revolutionised the way we look for work. Searching online can be overwhelming as dozens of job sites have sprung up on the Internet. The big job boards are the best place to start as they offer a wider range, but it is also worth checking out smaller niche sites.

Job hunting, of course, is dependent on your career. If you have a very specialised job in a niche area, it's probably better to search specialist sites.

However, if your skills and experience are suited to a wide range of jobs, go for the larger job sites where you can search hundreds of disciplines.

Sarah Drew, general manager of TheLadders.co. uk, which specialises in jobs paying [pounds]50,000 and more, says: "The response time to hear back from a recruiter or a company varies wildly, from a few days to over a month. While there's nothing you can do to change a recruiter's personal style, there are a number of things you can do to make sure that your CV gets to the right place at the right time, and on top of the pile."

She says a killer CV is the most important tool, and most job sites offer good advice, including tailoring it to each individual job that you apply for. TheLadders. co. uk also offers a free CV critique to its premium members.

"Second, network, " says Sarah. "There's no substitute for old fashioned personal-professional networking; most of our subscribers who use the product to its best possible outcomes have approached the hiring process by attacking from multiple angles. Call your friends, get out your address book, and use any contacts or acquaintances to ensure your application gets in front of the hiring manager's eyes.

"Third, follow-up. Don't be shy about calling or emailing to follow-up one week after you first submit your CV and cover letter. Ask if the position is still open and let them know that you are still interested. " Other useful tips are to search recruitment websites to find companies that are hiring. Even if they are not offering a position that suits you, it's useful to email a CV for future reference.

Do an internet search for companies you would like to work for, and look at their latest vacancies section. It can also be worth emailing your CV speculatively to these employers.

The most crucial thing is to check spellings and grammar - it's too easy to press send without reading everything at least three times.

The internet can also have its disadvantages.

Your potential employer may "Google" you or type your name into networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook - so make sure there's nothing you wouldn't want them to see.

Climbing by Ladders

TheLadders. co. uk was launched in Britain in January and already has 72,000 users.

The company has become the UK's leading search and selection website for senior executives looking for their next career move. Instead of going through a headhunter, or networking to get their next job, TheLadders. co. uk offers a different way into the top positions in top sectors.

What's different is that the jobseeker pays a subscription, which acts as a natural vetting procedure for serious candidates of a certain calibre - great news for large employers/corporations and recruiters looking for quality candidates.

TheLadders. com, its US sister site has been operating successfully since 2003, and has 1.7 million users.

Stuart Jolly, a development director from Darlington, registered on the UK site after its launch in January and used its CV critique service. He was unhappy in his job and wanted to move and had tried sites such as Monster. co. uk but found there weren't enough jobs of the calibre he needed.

He says: "TheLadders gave me a very honest appraisal of my CV. I could have dismissed it and said, they know nothing about this field, but I realised I just wasn't selling myself.

"So I paid about [pounds]400 for their CV service, which I felt was worth it, and filled out some forms and got back this CV which was amazing. I couldn't believe it. It was punchy and really sold my talents and I posted it straight on to the website.

"The next day the phone didn't stop ringing. I had so many interviews I had to start a notebook to keep track of who had called, and I was offered three jobs."

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