If your daily search for a retail job involves a quick flick through the local paper while you're watching Jeremy Kyle, it's time for a rethink. With the economy in fluctuation and competition for jobs fierce, creating an effective jobseeking routine and strategy might just provide the route to employment success.
"It's important to have a routine," agrees Ros Toynbee, career coach and managing director of thecareercoach.com. "Particularly if you've been made redundant and you're coming from the structure of a regular job. As human beings we're built for routine, so it's very easy for us to go from feeling motivated and productive to feeling like we're not achieving anything because the structure's no longer in place."
To put it bluntly, long lie-ins, 'just another half-an-hour of TV' and leisurely lunch breaks aren't going to have employers knocking on your door, are they? Treating your job search as a job in itself, however, will give you a head start against your competitors, as well as helping to maintaining a positive mental attitude.
Your first task is to tink up a fulfilling and balanced routine. As most of us start the day feeling focused, get up before 9am, get showered and dressed and begin your daily routine on a positive note.
"Treat your week as a working week," suggests Ros. "Think about your natural body rhythms and what times of the day you're at your most productive and do your toughest work then." Start the day with online research - searching the latest retail jobs, uploading an updated CV and writing job applications. There are plenty of proactive jobseeking tasks you can do and they should take priority.
Ace Research's jobseekers survey for The Guardian discovered that the average jobseeker makes eight applications a month. If you want to get ahead in the hunt for your ideal job in retail, we're afraid you're going to need to top that figure big time.
Get out of the house
Ros also advises that jobseekers should, "allocate two days for networking meetings and, wherever possible, interviews, so at least two days of the week you are out of the house. It's a balance of having a routine at home and getting out to have real conversations with real people."
As well as engaging in some serotonin-boosting exercise to keep your morale up, time between employment can also be an opportunity to polish up your skills. Prove your passion for the retail industry and factor into your weekly timetable some extra training. "Showing that you're doing training keeps your CV up to date and makes you look proactive," confirms Ros.
Sahir Kasiri, a fashion buyer for the Arcadia Group told icould.com how attending evening courses during the final year of her degree helped her secure her first job in retail. "I decided to do two evening courses at the London School of Fashion – just so I could learn the jargon when I went for interviews," Sahir explains. "I approached a very small agency and they could see how enthusiastic and how passionate I was.... They sent me for a job at River Island and I got it on my first interview."
Recruitment sites like RetailChoice.com offer you the quickest way to find out about opportunities by not only being able to search the latest job postings but also receiving job alerts in your inbox matching the search criteria you specify.
Be sure you're doing everying to make each application stand out. Read tips on how to write great cover letters and take time to personalise your CV for the most important applications.
Follow these tips and jobseeking can feel as full and rewarding as an average working day. "It's like being at school." considers Ros "You have your exams and you create a timetable. Print it off, stick it up on the wall and tick off your blocks of time – it will keep you motivated."
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