Tanya Eksteen , director of resourcing for Sage International (Africa, Australia, Middle East, Asia and Brazil), offers some tips for people looking to refresh their careers in 2016.

If you’re feeling in a rut at work, the beginning of a new year is a great time to make a fresh start and begin the hunt for a new job.

Here are five steps you can take to get on the fast-track to the job of your dreams:


Clean up your CV and professional profiles

sageIf you’re serious about getting a new job, begin by thinking about your personal brand and how you will position yourself in the market. Make sure that your CV is concise, up-to-date, and professional. It’s a good idea, when you start applying for jobs, to tailor your CV for each application to show why you’d be a good fit for the role.

Ensure that there are not any spelling or grammatical errors and that your most important experience and qualifications stand out. Also, update your online profile on LinkedIn as well as any personal websites you use to market yourself.


Do your homework

Spend some time thinking about what you’d like to do in your next job, and do some research about the opportunities that fit.

  • Is there a demand for the skills you can offer?
  • Which companies are hiring?
  • What company has the sort of culture and working environment in which you aspire to work?

Some internet research can be quite revealing – for example, look at what customers on social media have to say about a company where you might be interested in working. Reading its financial results can tell you if the company is growing or struggling. A general Google search can help you understand opportunities and challenges in your industry.

If you have any contacts in industries or organisations that have your attention, speak to them and find out what it’s like to work in the company or sector.


Get out there and let people know you’re looking

Once you’ve prepared your CV and researched the opportunities, start letting people know you’re on the job market. It’s a good idea to sign up with an online career portal such as Sage SkillsMap, where you can receive updates for the latest jobs and make your CV searchable for recruiters. You can keep your CV and personal details hidden if you prefer your boss not knowing that you’re job hunting.

  • Speak to trusted people in your professional network and let them know you’re interested in a change.
  • Connect with people in your industry on LinkedIn, send your CV to recruitment agencies that work in your space
  • Email the head of recruitment at companies that recruit people with your skills and profile to find out if they’re recruiting.
  • Apply for relevant jobs when you see them advertised.


Don’t let rejection get you down

It’s painful to hear that the job went to someone else after you thought the interview went so well, and it can be discouraging not to receive any feedback after you apply for a job that seemed like a dream fit. But remember that most people will experience rejection during a search for a new job.

Rather than letting it get you down, learn from each rejection and refine your strategy. In today’s tight economy, it’s also important to be realistic and expect your job hunt to take some time. The time will depend on how much demand there is for your skills and how well your industry and profession are doing.

If you get no replies or outright rejections when you apply for a job, you should ask why. Is it because you’re positioning yourself incorrectly or because you’re not effectively communicating your skills and experience?

Speaking to a recruitment agency may offer you some insight into the mistakes you’re making.

If you get as far as a first or second interview, you may politely ask for feedback about why you weren’t chosen. You can often learn something that will help you impress the next person who interviews you.


Ace the interview

When you get an interview opportunity:

  • Walk in prepared: That means thinking through some of the questions the interviewer may ask and preparing the answers.
  • Be ready to ask some questions of your own to demonstrate your interest in the job.
  • On the day, be sure that you’re dressed neatly and appropriately – and rather risk being overdressed than underdressed.
  • Make sure you know your route, the interview venue and leave early to ensure that you arrive on time.


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