Belfast Telegraph

More than one path to new a career

Question: I have sent out a lot of speculative job applications with no success, what should my next step be?

Kim Johnston from Kim Johnston Executive Search

In the current climate job prospects can seem bleak, especially for those looking to take the first step on the career ladder by obtaining an entry level job. A lack of advertised posts means that sending speculative job applications sometimes appears to be the only option.

However, there are several other tactics I recommend in order to boost your chances of gaining employment.

The old adage 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' often comes into play so I would strongly encourage anyone having difficulty getting a job to seek the support and advice of a mentor - someone you look up to or admire in your chosen field.

Something as simple as having coffee or lunch with an industry insider can provide a wealth of advice and feedback that would otherwise be impossible to come by.

Similarly, working with a recruitment expert can help open doors that otherwise wouldn't exist. A strong network of contacts, coupled with a knowledge of who's who in local organisations, means they are perfectly placed to match your skills and experience with an opening or opportunity where they will be best utilised.

Attending networking events, advancing your training, volunteering in a relevant area or pursuing opportunities to become a well-rounded individual may all seem clichéd, but might just provide you with the extra ounce of ammunition needed to secure employment once an opportunity arises.

You could also consider becoming your own boss, i.e. create a job for yourself if it doesn't seem to exist elsewhere. Believe it or not, a recession can actually be a good time to start a business.

It is important not to waste time and become solely reliant on speculative applications. At some point the time and energy used on these would be better spent elsewhere.