Some Job Searching Hints Beyond Your CV

Positivity in your demeanour can make you stand out to anyone in a hiring capacity.
Positivity in your demeanour can make you stand out to anyone in a hiring capacity.

At Arras People we have been running our JobSearch Support Service for Newly Unemployed Professionals in conjunction with the DWP since the beginning of April. We provide a tailored approach to the job search process for each individual, looking at issues as varied as job search techniques to CV reviews and successful interviewing, focusing in greater detail on those areas that may need more attention than others.

Since beginning the service I have seen a number of enquires relating to how best to approach agencies and on what basis. Considering that agencies are more often than not the first bridge that candidates have to pass to secure the job, what is the best manner in which to effectively engage with them?

I always try and stress to candidates that as soon you submit your CV for a role, you are effectively being assessed in terms of your eligibility in everything you do from there, whether it be a quick follow-up call to chase your application or a more formal telephone interview. The best piece of advice I can give to candidates is to maintain an air of professionalism at all times. This in many cases means doing the little things right. If possible make sure you find out the name of the person you wish to correspond with, along with the reference for any role you may wish to / have applied for.

When you phone the agency, make sure you have a quiet space with no distractions. Perhaps most importantly, be bright and positive on the phone. If you are up against 20-30 competitors, you will stand out from the masses if you can make your personality shine under these circumstances. A tough task at times, I know, but if you consider that the fundamentals of Project Management are organisation and communication, this should be a doddle for an experienced project professional. A recruiter is much more likely to put you in front of their client if they are confident in you as a person as opposed to basing their confidence on the quality of your CV alone.

Following on from this, we come to courtesy calls. Should candidates follow up an application with a courtesy call to touch base with the recruiter? An interesting question, this one. If as a candidate you have specific questions about the role that haven’t been answered by the job spec, then I would always recommend phoning to gain some clarification. It is a good way to highlight not only your level of interest but also your knowledge of the sector / potential role and its issues, which can be no bad thing in the eyes of the recruiter. Likewise, if you haven’t had any feedback on an application after 2-3 days, I would always recommend some form of contact to chase its progress, whether this be a phone call or email.

If you are currently unemployed and registered with JobCentre Plus, please follow our DWP web pages link for more details on the scheme.

Image © Reenie-Just Reenie and used with permission.


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  1. Gary, excellent post! When I was working on getting my latest engagement, I followed several of your recommendations. When I telephoned, I made sure I was at a quiet location with no distractions. I smiled when I talked. It sounds crazy but I think it will translate in your speech. Immediately after, and I mean seconds after hanging up the telephone, I wrote a thank you correspondence. It was nothing more then a thank you note. (A direct and sincere thank you note) People can see right through BS if you say thank you merely as a lead to ask for something.

    Even if things go badly, I believe it’s important to thank people for being gracious with their time. You may not get the job but you may be remembered as the really polite guy or gal. What else is free for you but can carry so much value to others?

    .-= Derek Huether´s last blog ..THE most important thing is the customer =-.

  2. Hi Derek,
    Thanks for the feedback, glad to hear it’s been useful.
    The little things really do make a difference in my opinion when talking to candidates, after all your CV is only half the battle – employers place just as much importance on personality and soft skills. When you think about it these skills are in fact the hallmark of an effective PM, so to not demonstrate them when talking to agencies is to pretty much shoot yourself in the foot.

    Still, smiling on the phone whilst talking must’ve been a tough task. 🙂


  3. I think it’s good solid advice for Project Managers. I’ve often found that you do have to telephone recruiters to get the “personal” aspect across otherwise you’re just a another CV sitting in an inbox. I’ve often got roles by calling up the consultant and talking through relevant skills this then makes the CV more real…

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