12 days of Christmas Part 2


part 2To celebrate the festive season, we presented a series of Christmas videos. Some of our Career Coaches have given their responses to 12 of our most asked questions and we have collected them into 3 articles, inviting you to enjoy, be inspired, and learn from Renovo’s 12 Days of Christmas.

I am spending hours looking at online job boards, how can I make sure my job search is effective?
By Charlie Ashley-Roberts

Spending hours online every week isn't effective, and it tends to make you feel more discouraged as you see the same old jobs each time you look. That's when I hear people say that there's nothing out there. Instead, I would encourage you to spend no more than one to two hours per week online looking. This way you will ensure the time you spend online is focused. Most jobs are advertised for a couple of weeks and so you will see them if your search is set up right - think about where you want to work, how much you want to earn and the kinds of skills you want to use. Use this information to tailor your job search really clearly.  

In addition to online searching, I would encourage you to speak to recruitment agencies and most importantly, to your network. Think about who might be able to help you - not necessarily to give you a job but to perhaps give you information about a company, a sector or a what it's like to work in a job role. Take a friend for coffee, reach out for introductions on LinkedIn and tell people what you're looking for at the school gates! If no-one knows, they can't help, and most people are willing to help if you only ask.

You may benefit by creating a weekly timetable and pencilling specific times to network, look online or register with recruitment agencies. This will also help you to stay motivated and productive.

Finally, keep track of your job search. Make a note of the applications you have made, set up a folder in your emails or create a spreadsheet so you can see your activity at a glance. By being organised and keeping a record of the applications you have made, will support you in executing an effective job search strategy. 

What is the hidden job market and how can I access it?
By Mark Walters

Network creatively - Don't bank on tapping into the hidden job market by simply networking through LinkedIn or only attending local events.

Get to know recruiters - recruiters and hiring managers can be highly elusive and difficult to contact. However, with a little sleuthing you can learn more about them and reach out through email or social media.

Contact employers of interest - if there are particular companies you are interested in working for, don't wait for them to post job openings. Reach out by either visiting, making a cold call or sending an email/letter of interest.

Get active on social media - many companies are active on multiple social media platforms. Check out their sites to see where they maintain accounts and make sure to connect/follow them.

Subscribe to news alerts - you'll be made aware when big changes are being made by companies. Whist the alerts won't necessarily be about jobs, you can learn more about their market and find the jobs from there.

Go to conferences - although this may incur some cost there is potential to find hidden jobs. Not only are you there and able to connect with others and grow your network, you are also learning and developing professionally which can impress prospective employers.

Check your professional/alumni association - this is an often-overlooked resource but by connecting to other experienced professionals having the ability to interact with employers interested or associated with the institution can open doors to find hidden roles.

Practice your elevator pitch - Ensure you are able to concisely summarise your experience, skills and strengths. How are you articulating what you want from your next role/career?

The hidden job market isn't necessarily secretive, it’s more like a game of hide and seek. Time taken to explore the different avenues to find the hidden jobs, grow your network, and use the resources available to uncover what has been there all along, will often pay off.

I am new to networking, what advice can you offer?
By Steve Lugg

A natural reluctance exists for many people around talking about themselves but there’s no need to be put off by the word ‘networking’ itself. 70% of jobs are secured through networking and/or a direct approach. Networking doesn't necessarily involve blowing your own trumpet and it's not about asking for a favour either. It actually only really means talking to people (anyone) who might be useful to you in your job search in or in your career.

Connecting with others is how humans are wired to behave. Wherever you are, strive to make connections by striking up a conversation with those around you. It can be easier than you might initially think. Start by getting into the right frame of mind, reminding yourself that you've got a lot to offer and learn to articulate your key skills in a concise message.

 If you can aim to communicate to anyone you come across in one way or another, it's quite possible that someone you know, or someone else they know, may have heard of an opening that might just be a good match for what you're looking for. And an introduction from a known and trusted person, first, second or even third hand, can go a long way to getting you a foot in the door.

What is a SWOT Analysis and how can it be used for an interview?
 By Robert Webb

The SWOT analysis model can be extremely useful when preparing for an interview. The SWOT analysis is an excellent framework to analyse your strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats you may face in the interview.


  • What skills or competencies do I do well that will enhance me for this position?
  • What elements from my key achievements can I use for this position?
  • What advantages do I have that others don’t for this position?

     What evidence can I provide to prove that I can do the above?


  • What areas could undermine me for this position?
  • What elements of the job description could expose me for this role?
  • Do I have any personality traits that might hold me back?

      How can I reduce these exposures?


  • What areas of this role that will able me to use my unique selling points (USPs) to their full advantage?
  • Which USPs could open up many opportunities in this role?
  • What trends do I see in the company and how can I take advantage of them

      How can I convey the above critical information during the interview       with examples?


  • What obstacles could undermine me to be accepted for this position?
  • Could any of my weaknesses threaten my overall success for the position?
  • Have I fallen behind in knowledge, skills or technological requirements for this role?

     What can I do to eliminate these obstacles?

The Interview SWOT analysis is a critical part of your interview preparation and I advise that you carry out this exercise during the preparation phase and spend time on each element. 

Click here for Part 1 

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