London is so competitive – Mediargh recently reported that they receive an average of 600 applicants per internship vacancy that they advertise. However, it’s not all doom and gloom – advertised UK vacancies were reported to hit a 19-month high, according to Adzuna’s UK job market report July 2017, and London’s average pay is on the rise. Following 24 months of stagnation, average salaries in London now sit at £39,232, with 265,568 advertised vacancies available.
Tackling the gargantuan list of vacancies and landing the perfect role can be hard, so here’s some tips from our team to help you out.
Creating the perfect CV
According to recent studies, recruiters only spend about seven seconds looking at a CV before making a verdict. In a competitive job market where so much hinges on such a short space of time, your CV must make a good impression.
A CV should be easy to read, so avoid busy layouts and complex wording. Your goal should be to put across as much relevant information to a recruiter as possible, in the fewest words – effective communication is about getting your point across succinctly and in plain English.
CV’s should generally follow the layout of your name and contact details, followed by a short profile, relevant experience, and educational background. It can be easy to get carried away writing all this, so when you’ve finished updating it, be sure to check that your CV is free of grammatical errors and spans a maximum of two A4 pages.
“It may seem like an obvious one, but we spot typos in job applications all the time. Ask a friend to look over your CV and print out the hard copy to proof too – it often reveals formatting inconsistencies and errors. We once spotted an applicant who had misspelled their own nationality and used the word ‘great’ three times in two sentences, which was impossible to overlook.” – Paul, Account Director
When talking about your skills and experience, don’t be modest. Use active language to describe yourself; the employment history section of your CV should be a compilation of achievements and contributions you’ve made to workplaces rather than a boring list of tasks. Use passive or bland language and an application could easily wind up blending in with the masses!
If you’re having trouble writing a CV or resume, Monster has an excellent and free downloadable template that you can use.
Cleaning up your social media and online presence
Along with a tailored CV, social media plays a key role in recruitment. Most employers will look at public social media profiles of anyone they’re looking to interview, so how you leverage those search results could make or break your application.
Before reaching out to any potential employers, you’ll want to screen all your public profiles. If a recruiter’s first impression comes from your rants on Twitter or embarrassing Facebook posts this will hurt their image of you. Maximise your visibility in the communications sector in a positive way; doing so is as easy as regularly making a few industry related posts and status updates or creating a blog.
“Social media is not broadcast media, it’s about being part of a community and engaging in a real way – you should show your personality but keep it professional. When you’re starting out in your chosen career, your social media posts are a fantastic way to display your passion, expertise, and understanding, which could lead to job offers in itself.” – Karina, Head of Digital
Nailing down the details in an application
Even with a perfect CV and spotless online persona, being one in hundreds of applicants can make it difficult to stand out. To avoid being quickly sidelined, apply with a respectable email address and correctly named CV (i.e. no ‘version 2.0’ or ‘July 2017’ labels).
“firstname.lastname@example.org just applied to your vacancy – good luck with the job search Stevie, what a simple mistake to correct. It’s hard to separate emails and social media handles like this from a formal career application.” – Cathy, Digital Marketing Executive
In addition, your LinkedIn profile should be complete with up-to-date work experience, education history, noteworthy projects and a professional picture, ready to be seen by recruiters.
“I’ve asked my referees to publicly review me on my LinkedIn profile to show off the relationships I’ve built in professional parameters as well as the fantastic work I did while employed.” – Dimeji, Digital Content Assistant
Searching and applying for jobs the smart way
With some sites claiming to add over 200,000 job listings in a week, hunting for a first job can be daunting. Defaulting to mass job sites might not give you the results you’re looking for, so to ensure your skills and experience in media are noticed by employers that appreciate them, focus on searching industry specific job boards like Campaign, The Drum, and Gorkana.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the careers pages, LinkedIn updates and social media profiles of any companies you’re interested in working for; gaining responses is more likely when the search plays to your strengths and interests.
“When a candidate has applied through an industry specific platform like Gorkana, I instantly understand that they have a special interest and passion to excel in PR and that they are likely to be applying exclusively for roles like the one I am advertising, rather than random application send-offs for multiple different fields.” – Jake, Account Manager
Connect and be social
Having the right connections can also make a significant difference to your job search, so don’t be afraid to let contacts know you’re looking for a communications role. If you lack connections, then take advantage of industry aligned groups on LinkedIn, London Meetups and events like Social Media Week London to expand your network. Effective networking can help establish you as someone who is both passionate and knowledgeable in their field.
“Don’t forget about word of mouth. Keep in touch with friends and colleagues and don’t be afraid to send them a quick message to ask if they’ve heard of any attractive vacancies recently, or if they can bring you along to an upcoming industry event.” – Darius, Account Manager
We hope you have gained a better understanding of how to optimise and tailor your CV and social media profiles for future job applications. If you are nailing these key actions, we're sure you will land yourself an interview at an awesome communications agency (like ours!) in no time.
Best of luck with your search,