Job hunting – a practical guide (Part 2)

By Jeremy Wilson February 03, 2014 Industry News

So you’re looking to improve your situation, you’ve got your three Ps sorted – Presentation, Preparation and Passion (see the last issue!) – and you’re ready to hit the market. Let’s have a look at your strategy.


Think very carefully about your key offering to the market. What are you superb at? In other words, where has your success come from? This may require some honest self-analysis and navel gazing.

Every role has a set of specifics which transcend the job title. The title may not mean it’s the right role for you, even if it matches what is currently on your business card.

You will then look to match your key offering(s) to job advertisements or employer discussions. Applying for every role that has the same title as your current role will only dilute your personal brand and potentially frustrate you if you’re not gaining interviews.



There’s a tendency for candidates to think “I’ve sent out 10 CVs this week, I’m doing a great job!” only to get 10 reject letters or no response at all, leading to a negative attitude to the whole process which carries over into interviewing.

The aim here is to get in front of people, so the quality of your CV and subsequent follow-up is paramount. Knocking together a word document, not using spell check and neglecting to discuss achievements or giving any insights into your successes is ill-advised.

Your CV should be eloquent and to the point and factually highlight your career and subsequent achievements over the last 10 years. Any history prior to this should simply be bullet pointed. Any particular personal achievements should be mentioned, such as sporting achievements or educational pursuits undertaken.

It may even be a good idea to visit a CV designer to help your application stand out. The point of your CV is to make someone who has never met you want to spend an hour and a half or so with you so it’s the most important piece of marketing collateral you will potentially ever work on.

After you send an application, wait three days and then make a follow up call to ensure your application has been received and to assess the receiving party’s thoughts. If possible at this point why not ask for a meeting?

Make appointments with market specific recruiters and work closely with them. Find out who is active in your market and has a good reputation and request a coffee meet. This will give you an opportunity to gauge opportunities, salaries, discuss employers of note and spend time with someone who will normally only engage formally.

Here’s a key reality about recruiters from the lion’s mouth. At any given stage a recruiter could be working on say, 9 roles. If they have on average 40 applicants for each role then that person is working with 360 people who all want some form of communication or time from them over a 5-6 week period. Therefore, use polite and persistent communication and keep yourself top of mind. Recruiters are human too!



Here’s an interesting thought: which companies (i.e. potential employers) would be interested in what you know? I’m not talking immediate competitors but rather companies operating in similar channels or selling to the same client base.

Have a look around and find out who is doing great things and who isn’t doing so well and could do with a hand! Who would love to have your relationships? Whose products turn you on? Are these companies you’ve heard great things about in your market segment? A good industry recruiter could help with this, or alternatively put a call into the GM of the business.



Think about what the next 3-5 years look like for you. What’s your goal for this period? For example, if you were a Key Accounts Manager and were looking to move into National Sales Management, then the existing company structure needs to support this move.

Also, look to combine studies with your career goals – doing a couple of management papers is going to help you advance and show an employer you have buy-in to advancing with them. It’s really not enough to point at the GM and say “I want your job!” when asked about your career goals.

Show a potential employer that you have goals and a plan on how to get there.



It’s safe to assume that any employer will take a look at you online. Is your Facebook page full of pictures of you in dubious situations? If you’re job hunting then do make sure you look as good online as you do in person! 


Jeremy Wilson is General Manager of BuildPeople, a search recruitment and sales training business specialising in the hardware, building and construction marketplace. Call 021 732 788 or visit for more informati

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