Five tips to help you clinch a job before Christmas

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Job hunting in this market takes a little extra effort. Here's how to stand out.

1) Get networking

By being well-networked, you'll not only be able to tap into the 'hidden' job market; you'll also be giving yourself a real advantage over other candidates, says Andrew Hanson, director, financial services, Robert Walters. "Your network should include anyone who can assist you with a job search or career move - from past and present co-workers and bosses, to colleagues from business associations, and friends. Attend industry events or special networking sessions and use social media to expand your network."

2) A CV is a sales document, not a list

Make sure your CV is a sales document designed to get you an interview, says Hanson. "You need to sell the benefits to the employer of hiring you as an employee, e.g. where you can add value."

Allira Salem, director, financial services, Marks Sattin, adds: "Candidates need to remember that their resume is the first sales pitch they can make to an employer. This document is a representation of them and should be taken as such. Sales people would not go to see a client without being prepared or looking the part, and a resume should be no different."

3) Showcase your achievements

"For sales-orientated people, the resume should focus on achievements made, as this is what will get them over the line against competition. Firms are constantly asking us 'what can candidates bring to the table?' and a resume needs to highlight selected achievements over the course of employment," says Salem.

4) Don't be afraid of the follow-up

Warwick Peel, director, pb Human Capital, advises job seekers to follow up their applications with a phone call. "There's too much reliance by candidates on waiting for an online-application response. Be proactive, and co-operate with your recruiter."

5) Know your industry and sort out your attitude

Preparation prior to interviews is crucial. "Candidates need to ensure they understand the company, market conditions and any industry changes that pertain to their job. It is not enough anymore to just be good at your job, you need to understand the industry or demonstrate areas that you know require improvement and how you intend on doing so," says Salem.

Hanson adds: "Show an interest in the organisation you are applying to, so you come across motivated and enthusiastic. Have questions - and not just about holidays and salary. Employers are focusing more and more on the attitude of the applicant."

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