The Ultimate Jobseeker Guide

Hunting for a job isn’t easy – while you might hear stories about friends getting their dream job straight out of university, or getting picked up by a headhunter before they even left their current job, there’s probably been a lot of work put in behind the scenes to make those applications happen. In the end, any job search comes down to the same things: Planning and perseverance.Maybe you’re thinking of a career change, looking for your first post graduate job, or after a step up in your career. Whatever your aim, starting your search with a well structured plan will go a long way to making your job hunt more focused, and more successful.

This Ultimate Jobseeker Guide has been created with just that in mind – follow these seven steps to prepare your search, make use of all the resources here at JobLookup (which you can find in our Jobseeker Guides section), and you’ll be well equipped to dive into the metaphorical ocean of jobs, and pick out your ideal role.

Jobseeker Guide


1: What Career, and Where?

Before you even start thinking about job hunting, it’s good to take a moment to be clear about what you’re looking for. If you’re planning a new career path, have you got all the qualifications you need to get a foot in the door? Are you looking for a part time job while studying, or seeking something temporary. How far are you willing to travel for work ideally, and what location are you focusing your search in? These are just a few of the questions that are worth asking before you get your actual search underway.

If this is your very first time looking for work, or you’re not really sure what kind of job you want, then you should definitely do some research at this stage. A good place to start is our career index, where you can find a list and overview of all kinds of jobs, as well as the requirements you need to kick off a career in your chosen profession. Start thinking about what skills you have, and what profession they’re going to be best suited to as well.

Overall then, the important things to think about before starting any job search are:

1: The industry, sector, or profession you want to work in.
2: Your most up to date skills and experience.
3: Where you want to work in terms of location.
4: How long you’re willing to commute, if applicable.
5: Whether you’re looking for full time, part time, etc.


2: Your CV

Probably one of the most important tools for any jobseeker, your CV is what will make you stand out from the crowd. Spending the necessary time to get it right is well worth it. Don’t worry though, we’ve got everything you need to get started on the path to creating a slick, concise CV in no time at all. Just follow these simple steps below, and make sure to read our guide on creating a top notch CV too:

A person starts creating a new CV for their job search


  Step 1: Information

Make sure you’ve got all the relevant information ready. If you’ve got an old CV, don’t just use it as it is – take a few minutes to read through it. Are all of your skills represented and up to date? Have you listed all your most recent experience? Start removing any excessive or outdated information too, if applicable. Double checking your contact details are all correct, like address, phone number and email, is also important.


  Step 2: Keywords

Ensuring your CV is visible to employer and recruiter search engines is pretty much essential these days. You can upload your CV here at JobLookup, meaning any potential employers can find you easily using a CV search. It’s well worth doing, as it can widen the scope of your job hunt as potential employers can spot you quickly. Before you do that however, you’ll want to make sure your CV is as searchable as possible to get you the maximum exposure. Read our guide on making your CV search friendly, as this will help you decide what keywords to use, and how often to use them CV.


  Step 3: Design

When coming up with your CV layout, it’s best to keep things simple and easy to read. Ideally, you don’t want your CV to be more than two pages long either, so make sure that all your key information is in short and snappy segments that contain all the important details. If you don’t already have a CV template, or simply want to design a new one for your most recent job search, then try out the JobLookup CV Wizard (you can learn how to use it with our handy CV Wizard guide).


  Step 4: Upload and Save

Now your CV is ready to go, upload and save it. You can also upload as many additional CVs as you like – useful when you want to make adjustments for different roles – and save them to your profile. If you’ve used our CV Wizard, then you can also download a PDF copy of your creation.


Remember to fine tune your CV every time you apply for a new role. This will help you stand out at the early stages of an application, and increases your chances of landing an interview.


3: Setting up Email Alerts

Time is at a premium for all of us these days. Having a roundup of the latest relevant jobs available delivered straight to your inbox can be a huge timesaver. When used alongside an uploaded CV, regular job searching (both on and offline), and registering with agencies and websites, you’ll have even more chance of finding the job you’re after.

An additional advantage of email alerts is the fact that you’re less likely to miss out on jobs, because you’ll get notified about new roles that fit your preferences straight away if you choose. This can be very useful, because being one of the first applicants for a role can make you get noticed quickly.

Setting up an email alert is very similar to doing a job search. You can read the basics in our email alert FAQ. You can even choose to set up multiple alerts for different roles (useful if you and a friend are both looking for different jobs, for example), or make the alert more focused on specific area. Read more in our advanced email alert guide.

A laptop, notepad, phone and coffee - everything needed to start a morning job search


4: Searching for Jobs

Now you know what you’re going to look for, your CV is primed and ready to go, and your email alerts are set up, it’s time to start actually searching for jobs. To get the best results from your job search here at JobLookup, we recommend that you register and create an account. That way, our site can remember the kinds of roles you’re looking for, and give you an overview of the most applicable jobs every time you login.


  Basic Search

Basic searches on JobLookup let you choose the keyword (sales person or administrator for example) and the location (Manchester, Liverpool, etc). This kind of search is great for temporary roles, as well as jobs with fairly simply titles. Searching for ‘Marketing Manager’ or ‘HGV Driver’, for example, will normally net you good results. If you’re still not finding the kinds of jobs you want, then you can try an advanced search instead.


  Advanced Search

For more detailed results, you can use JobLookup’s advanced search (learn more about how to use it in our advanced search guide). This tool lets you be much more specific with your keywords and location, so is a good option if you’re looking for a specialised role – you can search for industry specific keywords, which is one way of getting more accurate results.


  Other Resources

Don’t limit your search just to websites though – it’s always worth looking up recruitment agencies directly and registering with them too. The more places you can upload your CV, the better, and not only that: Once you get on a recruiter’s radar, they may well start getting in touch with you directly for roles that they think you’re suitable for.

Take a little time to find out what an agency does. Some specialise in media, some in the temp field, and so on. Signing up with the right kind of agency will instantly expose you to the right kinds of roles. Depending on what you’re looking for, it can also be worth checking the local and national papers. A number of broadsheets papers have their own printed jobs sections, and even local papers still usually have some area specific jobs listed.


5: Applying for a Job

You’re certain to have found a few jobs on JobLookup that have caught your eye by now, especially if you’ve followed all the above steps. Make sure to save the jobs you’re interested in, so you can apply later if there are more than one.

Whether the application asks for it or not, you should definitely include a cover letter. This is essentially a summary of why you think you’re a good fit for the role, and can be very useful for strengthening your application. If you haven’t written a cover letter before (and even if you have), then have a look at our guide on crafting a compelling cover letter.

Once you’re ready to apply to a role, go through this checklist step by step:


  • Pick out any skills, qualifications and experience that are essential for the job as described in the job post.
  • Make sure your CV and cover letter do everything possible to highlight why you’re the best choice for the role. This generally means tweaking your CV content to make it as relevant to the job as possible, and you should do this for every application you make.
  • Double check everything! One typo or spelling mistake could lose you the chance to interview.


Keep in mind that while you should apply for as many jobs as you can, it’s better to take time and care over each individual application. Sending ten applications off in one day might seem like a good idea, but speed often comes at the expense of quality. Any applications with mistakes will, in most cases, instantly cost you the opportunity, so it’s much better to send fewer thoroughly checked applications as a result.


6: The Interview

Interviews are rarely easy – you’re on the spot, probably nervous, and really have to sell yourself to the interview panel. Being prepared for an interview is half the battle though, and you’ll instantly take some of the pressure off if you have some idea of what’s ahead. As soon as you know you’ve got an interview, start thinking about things like outfit and research. Doing your homework on the company so you’ve got a good understanding of what they do is pretty much a must, and will give you plenty of inspiration for interview questions too.

Given the current lockdown situation, video interviews are becoming the norm. Have a read through our guide on how to handle a video interview for some additional tips and things you’ll need to consider.

A female candidate shakes hands with an interviewer

Interview Questions

One aspect that many people understandably worry about during an interview is the question and answer phase. How you answer interview questions can tell a potential employer a lot about you as a candidate. Making sure you’re ready to answer the most common interview questions, and ask intelligent questions yourself, can make a massive difference. Find out how to handle this part of the interview in our guide to interview questions.


Interview Followup

A common mistake that a lot of applicants make is failing to follow up after an interview. Whether you think things went well or not, you should always thank the company for giving you the opportunity to be interviewed.

If you don’t get the job this time around, then ask for feedback from the interviewers. Anything they have to say can be very valuable – you’ll know if there are any problem areas you need to work on.

Perhaps they didn’t feel you had enough experience for example. In that case, you can look for roles that might fit your experience range a bit better, or find ways of highlighting skills that could make up for perceived lack of experience. Maybe nerves got the better of you on this occasion, and the interviewers thought you weren’t enthusiastic enough. If so, you know you just need to practice your interview technique more, and spend even more time preparing next time.


7: Refining Your Search and Staying Positive

It only takes one rejection to make your job search feel like it’s never going to end, but the reality is you will find the job you’re looking for sooner or later, especially if you follow all the steps in this guide to maximise your chances. Staying positive will also help, and there are a few ways you can do this:

  1. Structure your job search. Set aside a certain amount of time per day to search, apply and research. Stick to this plan closely, and follow it every day. The clear routine will help keep your search consistent and productive.
  2. Go back to step one of this guide from time to time during your search, and make sure that you’re actively applying feedback from recruiters and employers where possible, as well as constantly optimising your CV
  3. Do some additional training while you have the time. It might not be possible, depending on your situation, but short courses or qualifications gained while you’re looking for a job could add that extra bit of oomph to your CV.
  4. Make sure you’re getting all the financial support you can from the DWP and any other sources that are available – ensuring your basic living costs are covered while you’re looking for work can take a huge amount of stress off your shoulders.
  5. Keep up with employment trends and recent news – you might spot opportunities by staying informed.

Now you’re as prepared as you can be, finding the role you deserve should only be a matter of time. Remember to check back here often, as we’re always updating this guide with new information as it becomes relevant. In the meantime, make sure you’re registered with us, or sign in and get job searching. Good luck!

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