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To apply or not to apply?

What to consider when thinking about a job change and how to optimise your time when indeed applying.

To apply or not to apply?

The summer dip

There are two times in the year where recruitment is usually in a dip and that is over the summer holidays and at the end of the year. Yes, as the ultimate people business, it makes absolute sense that hiring managers don’t list recruitment as their top priority when trying to wrap things up before the holidays or when catching up on things after returning to the office. The same obviously applies to candidates as well. Add to that, the typical slow response times due to numerous absences over the summer months and the budget checks at year end and anyone can make sense of the reason for these two little dips.

Time to look for something new

Candidates can however be proactive during these quiet periods. Take advantage of these moments to reflect on your career.
To help figure out whether you should indeed put yourself on the job market, first ask yourself these three critical questions:

  • Do you see opportunity for growth in your current position?
  • Are you happy with the relationship that you have with your management or superiors?
  • Is your career path clear and does it align with your current role?

If any of the answers is negative, would a conversation with your line manager or HR team help? If that’s a negative as well, it is probably time to start job hunting.

Starting point

As for all things professional, doing research is essential! Know where to find job postings for the company or the law firm that you’re aiming for and consider making good use of the services from specialised recruitment companies. Social media and professional online platforms can also be a great source of information for your research, so don’t overlook these.
As a candidate, a complete LinkedIn profile is the basis for any job search. When updating your CV and cover letter, also think about reviewing your online profile(s). Any experienced recruiter will take a look at your online activities to get a feel of you as a person, your track record and your interests.

Besides that, optimise your chances and don’t waste time on applications where you clearly don’t meet the criteria. For example, if the job ad requires someone that is perfectly bilingual and you are far from that, chances are slim to zero that you would end up getting the job anyway, even if you would make the first cut. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to be the perfect match either. Recruitment agencies tend to think outside of the box and look for transferrable skills, while many firms do also appreciate the opportunity to train associates as they see fit, especially at entry level.

Moving forward

To increase your chances of getting invited for an interview, don’t be scared to pick up the phone! If you did not receive any response within a few days of sending your resume, a personal follow-up call will make you stand out from the crowd and it allows you to establish a first personal contact with the recruiter, which can work wonders.
If you should not get shortlisted for your dream job though, do not despair! It is important to not lose confidence. If one door doesn’t open, another one eventually will. For this reason it’s important to send your resume to recruitment agencies, as they have a variety of positions to fill at all times. Also remember that the interview is not only for the hiring company to see how you could fit the job, it is equally important for you to evaluate the company as a match for you.

Of course, it helps if you are not in a hurry to start something new. Taking the time to explore several opportunities, compare your options and negotiate the conditions will usually pay off.