Moving up the job ladder
Started to outgrow the position of office dogsbody? Here's how to take a step up that ladder.
What to look for
Many careers centres have facilities on the internet that allow you to complete a questionnaire that will help identify the most appropriate types of occupation for you. If you can do this in conjunction with a chat with a careers advisor, all the better.
Look at where you are now, your strengths, weaknesses, achievements, where you want to be in 5 - 10 years and what your development needs are to get there. Talk to people who have already achieved some or all of your goals and find out how they did it. Determine what steps you need to take.
Look at organisations in your chosen field and monitor what's happening in the press, in trade magazines and on the internet. Don't be afraid to pick up the telephone and ask questions.
"At interview stage be bold enough to ask what investments the company will be making over the next five years" says Sofija Curcic, Personal Development Consultant for Alighn. Make sure you walk around the offices and get to speak to existing employees to get a feel for the company ethos and culture.
Job opportunities are often advertised internally. These should be easy to spot and internal candidates have a strong chance of getting to the first stage of the selection process.
Check newspapers, trade journals and internet sites for advertisements and register with two or three reputable recruitment agencies. It may be worth writing to some local companies "on spec". Ring first to get the name, correct spelling and address of the person you are writing to.
Focus your CV
When writing your CV keep in mind that its sole purpose is to get you an interview. It needs to convey the information the interviewer is looking for logically and succinctly. Most employers dislike unexplained gaps as they "expect the worst" says Sofija. Follow instructions on application forms precisely and always write a short covering letter mentioning key facts that equip you for the job.
Selling your skills
Sofija recommends doing a "dummy run" before the interview to make sure you don't irritate the interviewer by arriving late or more than 10 minutes early. Don't allow any aspect of your dress or appearance to detract from your interview performance.
It is well worth swotting up on any good book on interview technique (see your local library). We all know not to offer a limp handshake, but most of us could use some guidance on addressing tough questions.
Success at last
Once you have accepted your dream job, resign, but resist any impulse to criticise your old employer, or shirk your notice period. It's never a good idea to close doors and you never know when you may need a reference.
Written by Julia Walton
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