The New Year is a classic time for creating new goals (The notorious resolutions!) and looking for a new job might just be one of them.  Here’s the problem with Any Job.

The labour market is rapidly changing not unlike any other sector – we live in a fast changing world (technological advances, demographics, politics, Globalization, etc) and all these changes impact the workplace.

“Living in “uncertain” times is rapidly becoming the ‘norm’.”

Competition is much higher and employers look for already motivated and enthusiastic employees. Employing motivated staff makes the manager’s job much easier.

Hiring people who are already engaged in the job objectives, the sector and the industry are likely to be more productive and are more likely to stay longer term.

I’ve worked with a number of clients recently that are open to lots of different opportunities and of course it’s good to be flexible.

However, here’s the problem – where do you look for ‘any job’, where do you focus your search, how do you tailor your experience and knowledge to match any job or present your transferrable skills to any job?

Motivation & Enthusiasm

Managers want to hire already motivated and enthusiastic people – motivated about their chosen career, sector or discipline as these types of people are so much easier to manage and can work autonomously without being micro-managed.

If you want “any job” then that implies you are not really focused on any particular sector, company or industry and this will show in your tone and body language and the way you communicate throughout an interview – if you’re lucky enough to get an interview.

No Focus

Where do you look for “any job”? Everywhere and anywhere I hear you say!

It might sound like you’ve got so many options – great! However, you could spend hours and hours, days and days, quite possibly weeks and months looking on all the various “high street” generic job boards.

You may have some criteria to tap into the job board filters – location and salary tend to be the main ones but this is likely to generate a high number of results.

For example, I’ve just type in Colchester (10 mile distance) with a minimum salary of £20,000 and it’s produced a result of 3,759 Jobs and that’s just one job board.  The same search in London produced a staggering 63,287 open vacancies!!

This would be very time consuming wading through this little lot and may result in you feeling even more de-motivated.

Networking – Limits options

Often the reason I’m given for not being specific is because they don’t want to limit their options. However, this strategy will have the opposite effect and will make it very difficult for people to help you in your search. It may even result in a huge waste of their time and yours.

You need to make it really easy for someone to help or signpost you in the right direction.  It will help them think of suitable people to introduce you to and organisations they know are looking.  So if you are not specific they may feel you are hard work, put you in the “too difficult tray” or just make their excuses and go talk to someone else instead.

Tailoring Applications

If you don’t know what you are applying for then you’ll not be able to tailor your CV and this is essential even if you tend to apply for similar jobs.

Hiring managers want to see you have taken the time to read the job advertisement and highlighted key information to support your application.

Recruiters and hiring managers want to know you are genuinely interested in their job and their company and if you’ve not demonstrated this in your application then it may well result in you not getting an interview.

Recruiters are very good at spotting the standard application in seconds with its generic and over used terms “Looking for a new challenge”, “Want to work for a Global or International Organisation” etc.

Recruitment Agencies

At some point in your career you may need the help of a specialist recruitment agency.  Hire the professionals to get you that job – after all it’s free!

To get the best possible support from your consultant you’ll need to be specific – “any job” will almost certainly put you at a disadvantage.

I’m sure it’s for positive reasons – you genuinely don’t mind what you do and you are open minded to trying different jobs. At the very least you should narrow down the options with your consultant and meet them half way by describing what you have to offer that particular type of job role.

Most recruitment agencies will have a database of potential candidates and your CV will be “filed” onto this electronic system and every time the agency receive a vacancy from their clients they’ll conduct a key word search to find suitable candidates with those key skills.

So be specific to help them find your CV quickly and make it easier to match your skills, knowledge and experience to appropriate vacancies. They will never search “Any job”.

Employers are often looking for specific skills and experiences and not necessarily as open to looking at transferrable skills and either want candidates that “tick all the boxes” or can “hit the ground running”.

Recruitment consultants aren’t generally career coaches and they won’t have the time to spend managing your career. They work much better if you are able to describe your ideal job.

So you could seriously be putting yourself at a disadvantage in your job search – on-line, applying for vacancies, networking or registering with a recruitment agency.

Sectors & Industries

Here’s a little challenge for you – these are some of the different sectors and industries, can you think of any I’ve missed?

1. Accountancy
2. Law Firms
3. Banking and Financial Services
4. Insurance
5. Private Banks
6. Retail
7. Construction & Trades, Electricians, Plumbing, etc.
8. Property Management
9. Leisure, Sport & Tourism
10. Technology & Communications
11. Information Technology
12. Energy & Utilities
13. Creative Arts & Design
14. Media & TV
15. Journalism
16. Hospitality
17. Medical Profession, Nurses, Doctors, Paramedics, etc.
18. Social Care
19. Environmental & Agriculture
20. Law Enforcement, Police & Security
21. Armed Forces, Army, Navy & Air Force.
22. Marketing, Advertising & PR
23. Teaching & Education
24. Transport & Logistics
25. Charity & Voluntary
26. Pharmaceutical & Science
27. HR & Recruitment
28. Aeronautical

The interview process is challenging enough for some candidates and even if you are really experienced and knowledgeable in your specific sector there’ll be tough questions to answer.

If you get to interview stage, all the questions will seem tough if “any job” will do and you may struggle not just to provide a decent answer but to demonstrate and prove you’re interested.

Plan your Journey

Think of your career like mapping out and planning a journey or trip. If you wanted to go into London, you wouldn’t get on the first bus and hope it took you in the right direction.

Hoping that any job will take your career in the right direction (eventually) is a risky strategy that could take you off in the completely wrong direction.

If you are early on in your career it might be worth spending a few years exploring different sectors and industries. However, even if you have time on your side it is more effective if you narrow down your options and definitely worth selecting a career that firstly, you are interested and secondly, that aligns with your values.  You’ll gain so much more job satisfaction and this in turn will have a positive impact on every other aspect of your life.