The essential job search guide
Updated 11 May 2023
Searching for a new job is hard work, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way. The resources below will help you find, apply for, interview for, and get the job that’s right for you.
Deciding to make a change
Everyone’s job search begins differently. Some people choose to make a career change, others find themselves looking for a job through no choice of their own. It’s deeply personal and only you can know when it’s the right time to search for your next job.
In a recent survey, 94% of employed adults in the UK said they look at what jobs are available at least a few times a year, so for many people, job searching is a regular activity.¹ Like any activity, you’ll get better with practice. The steps that follow are meant to help you improve your job search skills and land the job you want.
Regardless of the reason your job search has begun, an important first step is considering what you really want to do at work. You may want to progress in the same career or change career paths. You may be unsure of what you want to do next. In all of these cases, you’ll need to make a decision about the types of jobs you’re looking for next. This will help you focus your search and apply for jobs with confidence.
How to get started:
Take stock of what you’ve accomplished in your career so far, your personal aspirations and where you would like to be next.
Think about the skills you feel most confident in and the attributes that make you unique.
If you don’t have much work experience, consider any roles you’ve had in your community or school, volunteer work you’ve done, and other experiences where you’ve applied your skills and interests.
Before you begin your job search, review your social media profiles and check your privacy settings. Potential employers may look at these pages.
Researching jobs and employers
As you begin your job search, you’ll want to learn about the kinds of jobs that are available and how much you can expect to be paid in different jobs or locations. Indeed provides several resources to help you do this.
This tool lets you see the salary trends for specific jobs. Enter the job title you’re interested in learning more about and you’ll see the job’s salary range and the average salary at popular companies. You can see the national trend or select individual towns and cities.
Learning the current market rates for the job you’re interested in will prepare you for conversations with recruiters and hiring managers, who may ask about your salary expectations.
There are a lot of ways to start researching companies that capture your interest. Here are a few:
Create a target list of employers you’d like to work with. Visit their careers page and their Indeed Company Pages to get a wealth of information like reviews, videos and current job openings. From a Company Page, you can choose to “follow” that employer to get email updates when they post new jobs.
Visit a company’s social media pages to learn more about the day-to-day details of their business.
Use a search engine to search for recent news articles about the company so you’re up-to-date on the latest developments.
Reach out to people you know who work at the companies on your target list. In these conversations, be prepared with specific questions. For example:
How did you find your job at this company?
Where can I learn more about what jobs are available and whether I’m a good fit for the company?
Why do you like working there? Is there anything you don’t like?
Do they offer advancement opportunities?
What is your relationship with your supervisor or manager like?
I’ve seen a job that interests me. Are you able to refer me to right person to learn more?
Some important etiquette to keep in mind: Never expect that a contact at a company can guarantee you a job. Put the responsibility on yourself to learn as much as you can from them and to turn the information they give you into action. Thank them for their time. If you’re meeting them in person for coffee or lunch, you should offer to pay. Make sure you also follow up afterwards and update them on your job search.
Searching for jobs
Start your search by creating a free Indeed account. With this account, you can save jobs that you want to apply for later. These jobs will appear on your My Jobs page so you can return to them when you’re ready to apply. Once you’ve applied for a job, you’ll be able to track your status from the same page. It’s the easiest way to keep track of all of the opportunities that catch your eye.
Next, set up job alerts as you explore different roles. Job alerts are regular email updates about new jobs that fit the criteria you’re interested in. It’s a convenient way to see new job postings as soon as employers post them.
You can create an unlimited number of job alerts to be sent to you either daily or weekly. From your Indeed account, you can manage alerts by selecting how often you’d like to receive email updates and pausing or deleting alerts.
Third, use advanced search techniques to narrow in on the right jobs. You can search for specific companies or job titles by adding “company:” or “title:” to your search.
You can also use filters to refine your search. If you’re using the Indeed Job Search app, enter the job you’re looking for and then select “Find Jobs.” Your job search results will display on the following page. To add filters, select the “Filter” button. From there, you can set your search distance, job type (full-time, part-time, contract etc.), and experience level. Select “Update” to save your filters. You can update these settings at any time during your search.
If you’re searching on a desktop, filters will appear on the left side of your search results page.
Be on the lookout for suspicious jobs
At Indeed, we work to proactively identify and remove predatory content from search results. For your safety, review these guidelines for a safe job search. Above all, protect your personal information, never accept money for work you have not done, and do not perform any financial transactions on behalf of a potential employer.
If you find a job posting that you believe is fraudulent, contact Indeed immediately to report the listing.
Writing your CV
The next step in your job search is to create or update your CV. The purpose of a CV is to present your most relevant experiences and qualifications in an easy-to-digest format.
Read more: 6 Universal Rules for Writing Your CV
Indeed CV is a flexible CV template that lets you fill in your relevant experiences and skills. There are 100 million CVs on Indeed and employers search this database for candidates with the skills and experience that match their job descriptions.
With Indeed CV, you can set your CV to “Public,” which enables employers to contact you about new jobs (although your name and other personal information will not be visible). Or, you can set your CV to “Private,” if you’d prefer not to be contacted by employers.
You can also choose to upload an existing CV or create one directly on Indeed. If you upload your own CV, you’ll want to review the formatting to make sure your information has been entered correctly. Indeed CV will format your CV so that it can be shared with employers on mobile, tablets and desktops.
You can download this document once you save it on Indeed. And, you can use your CV to apply for many jobs on mobile and desktop.
You won’t be prompted to apply for every job with your Indeed CV. But because you can download it as a file, you can print it or attach it to job applications that allow attachments.
How to get started
Create your CV using Indeed CV.
Enter past work experience, skills, relevant education and certifications.
Set your CV to “Public” if you want to be contacted by employers searching for people like you. Your personal information will not be shown.
Download this document as a file and print it if you need a hard copy.
Writing a cover letter
Including a cover letter is a traditional part of a job application that is not always necessary these days. As you go through your search, evaluate each job individually to determine if you need a cover letter.
In most cases, the purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to a potential employer. You can use a cover letter to call out significant achievements, address gaps in your CV, or explain why you’re attracted to the job and organisation.
Sometimes employers may ask you to answer a specific question in a cover letter. Employers include these kinds of requests to assess your attention to detail and written communication skills, so make sure you follow their instructions.
Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter
Applying for jobs
Before you apply for any job, give your CV a final review. At this stage, you want to make sure it’s the best representation of you and doesn’t contain any typing mistakes or misspellings. You may want to ask a friend or family member to do a final review for you.
Apply on any device
Today, mobile job applications are the norm. With Indeed, you can search and apply for jobs on any device.
Job applications may look different for each potential employer. Follow the application instructions within the job description you’ve clicked on. For some jobs, you’ll be able to attach your Indeed CV and for others, you’ll be prompted to upload your own CV as an attachment.
Some employers do not have mobile-friendly applications but if you’re logged in to your Indeed account, you can save a job from your phone and apply to it on a desktop or laptop computer later. You can see your saved jobs by going to your My Jobs page within your account.
Submitting your application
Once you’ve filled in an application, submit it. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to edit your job application once it has been submitted, so be sure that you’ve completed it to your satisfaction before taking that final step.
An important part of a successful job search is casting a wide net. It’s helpful to set goals for yourself—how many jobs do you want to apply for each day or week? As you meet your application goals, think of a way to reward yourself.
Your Indeed account is a hub for your entire job search. You can refer back to the jobs you’ve saved and keep tabs on the status of each job you’ve applied for. You can also see recommended next steps for your applications.
Waiting for a response
An inevitable part of any job search is waiting for employers to get back to you. Some employers may send you an email confirming that they have received your application and will be in touch if they want to move forward. Others may not get back to you at all.
How long should you wait to hear back before moving on? There is no standard answer to this question. The amount of time it takes to review a job application varies for each job and company.
While you’re waiting to hear back, it’s important to continue your job search. Keep researching new opportunities and applying for other jobs. Set up job alerts and follow your dream employer’s Company Page to get updates when new jobs are posted. And don’t forget the power of face-to-face interactions: Take a friend, mentor, or family member to coffee and ask them about their career path—you might be surprised by what you learn and how it inspires you. Stay active in your community and make new connections.
The interview and hiring process is handled differently at different companies. Sometimes you may not have direct contact with anyone before your interview. That’s okay, there are ways to prepare on your own. Visit the Q&A section of the organisation’s Company Page to learn about other job seekers’ interview experiences. You can also research common interview questions in your industry and practice your answers.
If you are communicating with a recruiter before your interview, you can ask them questions that will help you prepare. Here are some examples of questions to ask:
What is the dress code like in your office?
You want to look your best at an interview and knowing what the environment is like at this company will give you some ideas of what to wear.
In addition to my CV, is there anything else I should bring to the interview?
For some jobs, employers may want to see examples of your past work. The answer to this question will help you determine what to bring.
How many people will I be interviewing with, and what are their names and titles?
Sometimes it will be just one person or you might talk to several people, one at a time. Other interviews might be conducted by a panel. Knowing their positions will help you prepare well because the questions a supervisor would have for you could differ from those a peer might have.
Why is the position available?
This question will give you insight into the reason they need to fill this job and how soon. It will also tell you about the history of the position and the company’s culture. For example, if the job has been vacated by someone who was promoted, that could indicate they like to promote from within. If the job is newly created, that might mean you’ll be helping to define the job more clearly once hired.
In a recent survey of 1,000 hiring managers in the UK, we asked them to list the most important attributes of top performers at their company. The top five attributes they named were problem-solving, passion, strategic thinking, self-direction and drive² As you prepare for your interviews, think of examples from your work experience that embody these attributes and be ready with relevant anecdotes and short stories to share. Pairing your experience with what managers care about the most is a great way to make an impression.
Go into interview discussions with confidence by preparing yourself with the latest salary data for your industry, role, and location. Visit indeed.co.uk/salaries to start your search. When you receive a job offer, you can use this information to negotiate your salary or pay rate.
How to get started:
If you are speaking with a recruiter, ask them about what to expect.
Pair examples from your past experience with the traits that matter most to hiring managers:problem-solving, passion, strategic thinking, self-direction and drive.
Review salary data beforehand so you’re prepared to talk about compensation.
Starting a new job
You’ve made it through the search and landed the job, congratulations! We’d love to hear your story—share it on I Got a Job.
What to expect on your first day will vary from company to company. At this stage, you should have a line of communication open with your new employer and should ask any questions you have about the job.
For many people, keeping an eye on new job opportunities is a part of continuous career development, even once you’ve found a new job. In fact, 95% of top performers say they search for jobs at least a few times each year.³ Remember that you can continue to manage your email job alerts from your Indeed account, pausing them or changing how often you receive them.
¹Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed, n=3,076
²Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed, n=1,000
³Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed, n=1,823
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