When thinking about finding a job nowadays in the UK, the Internet is definitely the number one communication tool to use. There still are other ways to do it but the Internet is the most comfortable and effective one. But electronic communication in England has its specifics and it can be tricky to be actually able to engage somebody’s attention merely by sending an e-mail when he or she receives tens or even hundreds of messages every day. So, here we bring some tips to follow if you are looking for a job using internet sources.
Look and check
You may find many interesting job offers on the Internet, but at first, you don’t really know anything about these employers because (almost) the only thing you know is their name (which even doesn’t have to be a real one). When you are looking around, you should already roughly know what position you are looking for. There are many sites you can use, from the big ones to some local UK webs. Make a good use of the filters (a location, a type of position, a salary, part/full time etc.) to get only those matches that are closest to your initial idea. When responding to an offer, there are usually two ways – directly via the website or via e-mail and both allow you to attach your CV or other documents.
When responding to any advertisement, try to research the advertiser a little. You can try to search the company web or to find the company in the commercial register where you might be able to find some basic information about it.
Beware of the red flags
Your excitement about coming across exactly the offer you have been imagining the whole time should not make you completely blind to warning signs. Generally, there likely isn’t a very big risk if you research the company web, but if the company/employer:
- emphasizes the need to see your photos (if it is not e.g. a modelling, hostessing or similar spot) or
- wants to meet you outside their premises/on a secluded place or
- is not willing to reveal important details about the position or the company when asked or
- writes/talks about the job in very vague terms,
be cautious. It might not be important and the job might be completely fine but if your gut tells you there is something strange about those people, make sure you are safe when meeting them. You can ask your friend or a family member to go with you and wait nearby or ask them to call you if you do not contact them at a certain time on the day of the interview etc. Just implement some safety mechanisms.
Learn to write interesting messages
These days, employers in the United Kingdom receive many and many messages every day, especially if they are actively looking for new employees. Whether you contact them via e-mail or a direct answer to an ad, you can never be really sure they will even see it (usually
their secretary or assistant filters out the unsuitable ones). So, to ensure you won’t be overlooked, you should pay attention not only to your CV but also to your accompanying message, letter of motivation.
Read through some helpful webs on this topic and dedicate a few hours to creating a really good letter of motivation because that is the first thing the receiving person will see. You can also contact some friends of whom you know got their job easily and read their letters (e-mails) for inspiration. You don’t have to be just one of many people using the same master found on the Internet, you definitely can add something that is yours or alter it a little bit. But remember not to overdo it and that there are certain rules that should be followed in this area.
Also, send the message from an e-mail address with your name in it, do not use some shady-looking e-mail address you set up for random registrations or subscriptions.
Have a CV prepared
And of course, a CV. You probably already know how to create one and all the dos and don’ts you can find. So we won’t repeat every well-known rule and detail about this topic but we would like to emphasize some important things anyway, especially in connection to the communication via Internet:
1. A simple CV goes a long way. A lot of text can be quite boring and wearing to read for a person who reads tens of CVs every day. Your future employer needs to know basic facts only, you won’t win the position by writing a three-page CV including every little detail about you.
2. Check your CV (and also your motivational letter) at least twice for any typos or mistakes. You can also ask somebody to proofread it because after a while of working on it and looking at it, you won’t be able to see your own mistakes.
3. Work on your formatting. Your CV should be also visually pleasing and tasteful. No striking fonts, no colours and think a little bit about your photo. Do you want to include it or not (because you don’t have to)? Do you have a recent one suitable for this purpose?
4. Convert the final version of your CV to PDF so there is no risk of the text scattering or disappearing. Sometimes it can happen when sending a DOC document via e-mail because it still can be edited, it is not fixated.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are not sure how your CV could come across, ask some people to read it. It can also help (especially if you’re naturally shy) to shake off some of the nervousness.
Don’t get discouraged
If you don’t receive any response to your e-mail and CV or if you receive a negative one, don’t feel offended or unhappy about that. It is not right to leave you hanging and it should be normal to send at least a confirmation of receiving your e-mail but that doesn’t happen every time. So don’t count on every offer and hope for the best.
How to write a CV
Writing a CV is definitely one of those very important skills that should be taught at school but unfortunately they (in most cases) are not. However there are many UK internet sites that can help you a lot because they include long lists of useful tips both from theory and practice. So we would like to add our knowledge and experience, hoping to share a few of our favourite tips on how to write a perfect CV that can really convince an employer in the United Kingdom to (at least) invite you for a job interview.
We have already mentioned this tip in the lead paragraph – you should know what you are writing but also why and how you should do it to make the best impression even though the person reading it hasn’t met you (yet). To some, writing a really good CV can come naturally, some of us have to work on it a little harder. But everyone undoubtedly needs to learn a few basic rules about writing a CV, such as:
- try to adjust your CV to a particular offer (so you probably will have a few versions of it)
- a CV should be well written, you should strike as a smart and cultivated person so informal or even vulgar vocabulary should be out of question
- keep it short, informative and tasteful – you don’t want an employer to feel bored, overwhelmed or weary while reading your CV
- don’t use vague and overused phrases because that suggests you haven’t thought of this very much and haven’t given it much time and effort, try to use more sophisticated language and avoid clichés
- don’t be afraid to include some personal information but don’t mention every irrelevant detail and don’t embarrass yourself by being tactless
- decide whether to include a photo – you don’t necessarily have to and sometimes it is even better not to do it because the employer then will focus on your professional qualities only
Think and write
Create a simple CV following some good template you found on the Internet when you did your research. Then add interesting and personal elements, such as a good and apt description of your previous job(s), your additional education (special courses, seminars, language courses, even on-line education), your (relevant) interests and hobbies and for example some attractive skills. Your CV should be well arranged and impeccable, so take your time to balance it really well because then you can use it anytime in the future again (with some minor editing and adjustments).
When the first rough version is done, focus on formatting which may seem less important but it is quite essential. Formatting texts is often a required skill for many (especially office) jobs
so your CV can be your first chance to prove this skill. Definitely don’t underestimate that - and also the first impression that it makes.
An accompanying e-mail – a letter of motivation - is also quite important so don’t forget to follow similar steps when writing it. There you can highlight important points from your CV and introduce yourself a little more, be sure to interconnect your CV and letter of motivation as much as you can – it will help the reading person get to know you a little.
Ask for help and feedback
You may think you don’t need any help with writing a CV because you studied a lot of UK webs and worked on it for several hours. We recommend you ask for help anyway because somebody else’s point of view can be a real game changer. The problem is, after a while of working on something we do not see our own mistakes anymore and also, we never know for sure how our presentation looks to an outsider. So don’t be afraid to show your CV and maybe even your letter of motivation to a few friends, ideally to friends who have some experience with looking for a job in the United Kingdom. There is no need to be shy or nervous of their evaluation because it is for sure better to correct your mistakes now than to hear about them from your potential boss.
You also can contact some kind of professional in this area or at least pay someone for proofreading and correction.
Polish your CV
If you haven’t asked a professional for help, then after consulting the CV with your friends you are going to have to think about their feedback and edit it if need be. Some comments and observations might seem unhelpful or even wrong to you but some of them might help to really open your eyes. Think about it and include the useful ones to the final version of your CV.
Then, read it for the last time and convert it to an unalterable format, for example to PDF. Then you can be pretty sure nothing will disappear or scatter when sent via e-mail or other way of electronic communication.
Press “send” and wait
You did it. You have written your own (maybe even your first) CV. Now all you have to do is to send the right version of it in response to job advertisements in the United Kingdom that caught your attention. Be precise and focus even on this final task. But after that – don’t stress and don’t overthink something you cannot change in that moment. Your part has been done and you will need to gather some patience for the following days. If you are nervous what the answer will be and whether you will get that promising interview, try to distract yourself with activities you really like and to relax. This is not the only chance you are ever going to get. Don’t check your phone and your e-mail every five minutes and believe in yourself.
And also remember you have just learned to write a really solid CV and that is a skill that won’t be lost.