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The Grand National 2015: Win the job hunt race
Forget the horses, the Grand National job hunt is the most hotly contested race of the year with candidates constantly jostling for position to be the first to cross the 'you're hired' finish line.
Whether you're a fresh faced foal or a veteran runner, read our top race tips to improve your odds of making that final hurdle.
Don't be afraid to start from the back
If you're a senior professional whose entering the job hunt race for the first time, you'd be forgiven for wanting to immediately take up a place at the front of the pack. You'll soon find that some hurdles lie between you and the final furlong though so it occasionally pays to start from the back and overtake your competitors in a sprint finish.
Not all candidates can expect to take on the same level role from whence they came, so considering taking a few steps down the ladder could present the best chance of getting back into work. Temp, freelance and part-time roles might seem like a backwards move now, but may quickly propel you to a top level position whilst your job hunting competitors are still on the track.
Stand out from the crowd
You know how choosing your Grand National winner often comes down to little more than the colour of the jersey? Well job seekers need to make just as much of an effort to stand out or risk getting lost amidst the trailing peloton (wait.wrong sport).
The job market is as competitive as ever and applicants can easily become forgettable entities as employers try to wade through the flood of CVs, personal statements and LinkedIn invites. Candidates need to break the mould (within reason) to get noticed and should aim to combine job advert relevancy, company / industry knowledge and personal branding to rise to the top of the 'must contact' pile. Standing out is key to landing your next job, but perhaps leave the polka dot jersey at home if you get called in for an interview.
Play the odds
Just because you place a bet on half of the runners doesn't mean that you're more likely to win than those who make one carefully calculated stake. Putting all your effort into supporting just the one favourite will usually prove to be more fruitful than backing an array of poorly suited options who will barely make it out of the blocks.
So what does this mean in non-horsey terms? Well simply put, focussing your job search on positions that you're actually qualified/appropriate for will increase your chances of getting hired. You may think that applying for EVERY vacancy you come across will heighten your response rate, but this tactic built on quantity usually only sees a rise in the number of rejections as you fail to tailor your applications for all these jobs that you're completely unsuited to. This is ultimately a waste of time, a waste of effort and totally demoralising. Start to refine your search for roles that you're perfect for and the chances are that the employer will agree.
If you find that you're constantly being overtaken by competitors with a little more in their arsenal, then maybe it's time to address the gaps in your skillset. Unfortunately, sometimes personality and foundation credentials just aren't enough and candidates might be encouraged to acquire further training or qualifications to pull away from the chasing pack.
The internet (the source of all knowledge) is a great educational resource that allows candidates to pick up new skills providing they're willing to put in the time. Online courses or even a return to more conventional learning institutions can seem a lesser priority if you're on the ciabatta bread line, but those newly acquired accreditations could be enough to fast track you to the final jump.
The job market is as competitive as ever and candidates are forever tripping over themselves to get first to the photo finish. While there might not be a shortcut to the front of the race, our Grand National job hunt tips might just give you a head start over the other runners.