Job-Searching 101

Under the current cloud of Covid-19, sourcing and securing employment is a whole new challenge, both in terms of available jobs and the recruitment process per se. The purpose of today’s blog is:

  • to help enhance your approach during the outbreak.
  • prepare you for accessing the labour market for the future…it might not seem like it right now but better times do lay ahead!

I will broadly outline the different types of job-search sources, searching technique and some practical tips on planning…I expect it will be of no surprise to you that our focus will be on online sources.

Treat it like an assessment!

I hear transferable skills thrown around by academics, students and employers without any grounding on a daily basis. However, I do see strong similarities between the skills you use for assessed work at university and in securing employment.

  • The techniques you use to find books, journals and other literature require the same skills as knowing where to access information about employment opportunities.
  • Structuring an argument is synonymous with convincing a recruiter you are the best match for a position.
  • Lastly, a CV, application and interview will be scored using the same techniques as your lecturers use when grading your work.

What job(s) are you looking for?

This is a pivotal question and in the long run will be most effective. Having a specified range of jobs saves time in terms of knowing where to look, what to use and in some cases you can recycle elements of previous research and applications.

The purpose of work is also important. Are you looking for part-time, full-time, casual or temporary? Is it a short-term job while you study, a stepping stone role or a longer-term ‘career job’?

Use more than Indeed!

Searching online

Every job-search engine has its usages, so does Indeed. However, Indeed isn’t a one-stop shop (I’m not convinced that there is one) and shouldn’t be used as one. Below is a list of search-engines alongside how I recommend you use them.

1 General (Sweep) search-engines

Find a job (GOV.UK)



CV Library


Total Jobs

2 Graduate search-engines

My Careers Centre                                                           Prospects


Target Jobs                                                                        Milkround

All About Careers                                                            Rate My Placement

Glassdoor                                                                          The Guardian


3 Bespoke searches

Prospects: job profiles

At the bottom of each job profile you will find direct links to specialist recruitment sites and organisations. This is ideal for somebody with one profession in mind.


Company websites

If you are aware of the type of profession you would like to work in and know some of the leading organisations that recruit them, then this could also be an effective tactic.

Don’t be put off if the job has a slightly different name

Job vacancies can vary in title name and level so don’t limit yourself before you’ve even started. Be creative with your word-searches and keep an open-mind to entry-level and junior roles too – in the long-run this could be the quickest way to your primary goal and further progression.


The Hidden Job Market

Alternatives to search engines

The hidden job market describes recruitment that is typically not advertised and doesn’t usually follow the formal process of cv, application form and interview. Although there isn’t a fixed figure, at least 50% of all appointments to jobs are made this way. That can include:

Internal appointments                                                Friends and acquaintances

Head-hunted                                                                 Promotions

Experience workers                                                    Recruiters

Although I would certainly advocate for search-engines as your primary approach hidden jobs tell us that there are other techniques to consider such as:

Informal conversations and networking                 Incite days

Volunteering and shadowing                                     Training opportunities

Internships and placements                                       Recruiters

Internal jobs

Golden rule: have a clear aim and a plan of action

1. Be clear about the types of jobs that you are looking for. Use the most effective search platform or method for that.

2. Have a list of all possible differences in the job title name to avoid missing out.

3. Keep a job diary – this will come in handy when employers get back in touch with you regarding interviews. This is also a helpful way to determine how suitable you are for a type of job and if you are getting the most out of your CV and application form technique.

4. Maintain a consistent approach to your job search. For example, Monday could be your designated job-search day, Tuesday, networking and experience and the remainder of the week applying for jobs.

5. Make sure that you are suitable for the job you intend to apply for – check the person-specification for this.

6. Save all job descriptions, person specifications and application forms you’ve applied for, for the purpose of interview planning.

We’re still here to help!

As always, the Careers and Employability is here to help, even in these difficult times. You can access us, via emailtelephone or video call by emailing as well as My Careers Centre.

2 Comments on “Job-Searching 101

  1. Pingback: Making the Most of the summer and Keeping busy – Careers and Employability

  2. Pingback: Job Searching Back to Basics: – Careers and Employability

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