How To Get A Job You Want

Recently I posted What To Do When You Lose Your Job, I wanted to follow that post up with what, for most people, would be the next step: Applying for, and getting, the job you want.

I'm going to start now by saying that I am in no way a recruitment professional, I have just got some experience, so if you are really struggling to get yourself a job please get advice from a recruitment agency or the Job Centre, both can be really helpful tools!

When you find yourself in the position of needing a job STAT! it's hard not to lose sight of your long term goals and whilst applying for anything and everything is a good strategy to employ you do need to take the bigger picture into to account. It's all about balance. These suggestion are for those in between jobs either, this covers everyone looking to make a fresh start or those taking the first step.

 We spend a quarter of our lives at work (rough calculations!) it's important to enjoy what you do otherwise life is going to become a chore....and that's just no way to live.

Figure out what you want from a job first

As I mentioned here before taking the next step on your career ladder, whether that's due to job loss or because you really need to move on, you need to figure out what you want to do next. I don't necessarily mean that you need a concrete, lifelong decision, but you need to know what avenue you're going to venture down next. I once met a man who started his working career in IT, he then moved on to being a Law Secretary, then a Social Worker, he moved on from that into car sales, briefly stopping off to be a teacher before I met him as a wedding planner. He had no plan for what he wanted to do with his life or any sense of what he wanted from his job, he was just trying out all the options, and this is a great thing to do if you're not sure.

Research the job.

Once you've figured out what you want to do you’ll need to figure out how you can do it. Dependent on what you decide to do you may need to do some training, research what – if any – you need to do and do it! If you don’t need to retrain your next step is finding out what skills the role needs and comparing them to what you have. If your situation allows consider doing some voluntary work experience to get a proper understanding of what the job is like. This has the added bonus of giving your CV a shiny new experience point!


This is the fun bit! Not.

Applying for a job, no matter how exciting it is, is without fail a chore. The first thing I do is find out as much as I can about what kind of candidate they are looking for. With most jobs you tend to find that there is a Person Specification and Job Description. Print these off and annotate! Sit with a pen and go through each and every point on the person spec and job description, noting what you've got. Think of examples you can give that prove you can do it. With the points you think you have no experience; break it down. For example, if a job asks for CRM experience and you think “I've never even heard of that”……that system you update with customer details or that you update with returned stock? That’s a Customer Relationship Management. Hey presto, there’s your CRM experience! 

Sometimes you need to be creative in proving you have the right skills. I once attended an employment workshop at a place I used to and part of the workshop focused on applying for jobs. The department’s manager told us about an employee, that was in the room incidentally, had managed to get a job despite having no experience in the field. In fact, said employee was applying for the job after spending 10 years as a stay at home mum so had very little work experience at all. The reason she got the job was because she put some thought into her application and matched the skills and experience required to the skills she needed to have to be a mum, and it worked.

 Different jobs use different application processes, some want a CV whereas others want a full blown application form filling out. Both have pro’s and con’s. The plus side to an application is that, 9 times out of 10, they tell you what they want to know. The application form will have questions on it asking you how you can prove you have experience in specific areas. The trick with application forms is predicting the things they haven’t told you what you want to know. The “Supporting or Additional Information” section is your friend in this situation! Use it as an opportunity to tell them how much you match their person spec as you can. If you get daunted by the idea of writing an essay of self-publicity then break it down into bullet points and expand on the bullet points, then all you have to do is tidy it up at the end. The best format to follow is: Tell them what you’re about to tell them, Tell them, Then Tell Them What You Told Them. Be concise, for example if they want customer service experience:

In my previous role as circus ringmaster it was my responsibility to act as first point of contact for customers. In dealing with customers on a face to face basis, as well as through other channels such as email, I gained valuable experience in answering general enquiries and problem solving as well as handling customer complaints. This has given me outstanding customer service experience and has enabled me to develop strong customer service skills.

Bish Bash Bosh. You even told them you have problem solving and complaint handling skills too. No rambling required! And if you really struggle with the cringeworthy self-promotion just try and imagine that you are writing about someone else. Although don’t go all Beyonce about it…..they do not need to meet your Sasha Fierce.

CVs are completely different. Whatever you do, do not send in your CV as it stands. It will sound generic. It will be riddled with information pointless to the role and it will probably just get chucked in the bin. Put the same amount of effort into writing your CV as you would the supporting information bit of an application form. If you’re worried about the template I found The Guardian’s guide really useful, however do format it a little differently. I tend to follow the following format:

Whatever way you're applying make sure you match yourself up to as many points in the job advert as possible, tell them how you match, and then tell them how this may benefit their company.

Make sure your Social Media channels are……..tidy

Massively important. Firstly, make sure you’re LinkedIn is up to date and relevant to the role you are applying for. Make sure your connections are diverse and don’t just include your mum. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your secondary application because people do check it.

Clean up your Twitter. Anything that might reflect badly on you needs to go. I’m not talking about the tweet about your lazy day in bed, everyone has those, I’m talking about the tweet in which you are ranting about the stupid **** in Nandos that was ******* eating like a right ******** beast. Get rid. It makes you look childish, rude and undesirable. The same goes for your Facebook. If all else fails make them private and make sure your profile picture isn’t of you making guns and drinking beer.

Your Instagram needs to be censored too…..anything potentially offensive needs to go. Beware of provocative images too.

Just remember that these people have never met you and are only going by what they can see and read of you.

Have confidence

The last step of getting the job you want is having the confidence that you can do it. Ever heard the phrase “Say yes, then figure out how to do it later”? Completely applicable. Your application reflects your self-belief and if you don’t believe you can do it, it will show in your application.
Follow up

This bit can sometimes make or break an application. Send your application/CV in and then follow up it up with a call. If you’re nervous about talking on the phone use this:

“Good Morning/Afternoon, can I speak with Mr Blobby, please?

This is he.

Hi, Mr Blobby, my name is Becki, I’m just calling to confirm that you received my application for Chief Trapeze Artist.

Wait, let me see. Oh yes, we did.

Ah, that’s excellent! I’m really excited by the role and I wanted to ensure its safe arrival with yourselves. Thank you very much for your time Mr Blobby, and I hope to speak with you soon.

Oh, brilliant, yes it arrived, thank you.

Brilliant, thank you. Have a great day and thank you for your time. Take care, bye bye.”

Attention gained, good impression given, proactivity noted.

Nail The Interview

I’ll be doing a post on what not to do at an interview but the usual tips apply;

  • Dress appropriately, if all else fails smart shoes, black trousers, a smart white top/shirt and neat hair (up if you have long hair).
  • Be polite, courteous and honest (being honest can get you a long way…..just do it professionally!)
  • Be yourself
  • Prepare by researching the company
  • Prepare questions
Once you’ve applied and gone through the processes all you can do is wait. I hate waiting, but it’s just a fact of life. If you don’t get an interview ask for feedback then use it to develop. Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get an interview; you don’t know the circumstances. They could already have had a candidate in mind, naughty – and slightly illegal – but happens. They may have decided to withdraw the role. Or maybe, just maybe, they just don’t know something good when they see it, right? Right.

If you get the job and decide a few months in it’s not for you then start the process again, but do it in the knowledge and confidence that you gave it a go and it just didn’t work for you.


  1. Weirdly, I find writing CVs and cover letters to be quite fun :) I actually wrote a cover letter for my colleague last week, to apply for a law job haha. I think I'm quite good at it :)

    1. I agree....when you haven't GOT to do it though!

      It's one of those things that you've either got a knack for you don't. I do wonder if our odd sense of enjoyment is purely because we are writing something! Once a blogger always a blogger!!!

      B x

  2. Such a great post hun, I recently wrote my tips for a successful job interview after landing what I really think is my new long term job. My CV is all over the place at the moment and it doesn't look fab long term so I think it's important to stick a job out for 6 months to a year. I also always follow up an interview (so long as it's not through an agency) with an email to whoever interviewed me to thank them for their time and not to hesitate if they have any questions. It's about making yourself stand out for all of the right reasons. I also totally agree on social media, so many people don't realise just how easy you are to find and how many companies DO look at it. I try and make an effort to portray myself the way I want to be seen by everyone on all of my social media channels, you never know whose watching! xxx

    1. Thanks Becka :-)

      Balancing social life and professionalism over social media is a minefield!

      B x


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