How to Job Hunt Effectively

Lisa Jones, an OA Career Consultant and former Army officer, shared her top career searching tips with BFBS Radio.

Give yourself time, because it can often take six to eight months to find the right job. If you are a Service leaver, allocate time away from your current role. Create a schedule so you work smartly and maximise your time developing opportunities. Be open with your family about needing to spend an evening or weekend focussing on your job seeking.

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You are more likely to find relevant roles if you know what you want from your new career. Answer the following questions:

  • What are your key strengths?
  • What are your values and priorities?
  • What roles would benefit from your key strengths?
  • Do you want to work for a large corporation, a small business or yourself?
  • Which industries are growing, and therefore actively recruiting?
  • Where would you like to be in a few years’ time?
  • What skills and experiences do you need for your professional development?
  • Your answers will shape your job search. Remember, your next job is a stepping stone in your career, rather than a final destination, so you should regularly re-evaluate your responses.

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There is some luck involved with job seeking, but there are many ways to increase the odds in your favour. Create opportunities by attending career fairs, open/insight days and networking events. Connect with people working in industries that interest you via LinkedIn, and ask to meet for coffee. You are unlikely to find a job just by sitting at home in front of a screen. 70% of people find jobs through networking and at least 50% of jobs are not advertised externally.

The OA has an executive jobs board and network, which includes former officers with successful new careers, who are happy to be contacted. Register with the OA to access these employment services.

The scattergun approach might feel productive, sending the same CV and covering letter to many employers. However, you are more likely to be successful if you take the time to submit well-considered, tailored applications for each role. This is only possible if you properly research the organisation, by visiting their website and social media channels. If you know anyone already working for the company, ask them for help with your application.

The OA runs a full calendar of employment events, which will prepare you for a new career after leaving the Armed Forces.

Get bitesize career advice every week, by listening to the OA podcast for BFBS Radio.