Online Job Searching

Within the current climate of slowing economic growth and increased geopolitical risk, it is no surprise that employers operating within the Food & Drink sector are displaying caution with regard to headcount and recruitment. Within this challenging environment, Job seekers need to be proactive and utilise the free online resources available to them, over and above the usual job boards. This article discusses some of these resources.

Before commencing your online job search, the starting point for any job seeker is to think about what you really want. Make a check list covering key factors such as: What type of job are you seeking? What level of salary is appropriate? How far are you prepared to commute? Is relocation an option? Are you prepared to work shifts or weekends? Is there a particular sector of the Food industry you want to work within? Is there a sector of the Food industry that you want to avoid? Are you better suited to a corporate culture or do you prefer working for smaller family-type enterprises? What type of work do you enjoy? What type of work are you truly gifted at? What are your work capabilities and limitations?

Being clear on what you are seeking from your next role will stop you applying for online vacancies that you only have a passing interest in. Online applications can be made in a couple of clicks in seconds and there is a temptation to apply ‘far and wide’ for jobs. This approach is not recommended. You will send out confusing messages to recruiters if you apply for a £50k job one day and a £30k job the next. Likewise, if you apply for a vacancy online and are selected for an interview but decline due to the salary / location / type of company, you will leave the recruiter perplexed and wondering why you applied for the job in the first place. Have a list of absolute requirements and clear job searching strategy to help you focus on what you really want and reduce the likelihood of applying the ‘scatter gun’ approach to job searching.

As a Food industry job seeker you need to be proactive and it is important you get yourself on the radar of recruiting managers. Networking used to take place on the golf course or at breakfast meetings, but the internet has opened it up to all. A basic account with LinkedIn is free and if used correctly can be a powerful weapon in your job searching arsenal. You can add contacts such as current and past work colleagues and ask your contacts to write recommendation for you or introduce you to their connections.

With LinkedIn you can seek out hiring managers and even add a PowerPoint presentation to your Profile detailing a project you have successfully completed or perhaps some other document that demonstrates your skills in a previous role. LinkedIn Groups are a good place to engage with like-minded individuals and share ideas and experiences. Some groups will cover your job discipline, alumni, and company groups for current and ex-employees.

Being proactive and maintaining a positive online identify is increasingly important and time invested in LinkedIn developing your online persona, sharing experiences and contributing to discussions will be time well spent, as employers latch on to the benefits of social media as a cost-effective candidate engagement tool.

Another tool at your disposable and available for free is Twitter. Job seekers can quickly set up a profile and can use keywords within their profile that will have relevance to their past experience, type of job they are seeking, previous job title, and other buzz words that will help them get noticed. As with any social media, you need to commit to make regular tweets and keep your tweets Food related if you are using it to connect with other food professionals. Tweets focused on news and developments and other useful snippets relevant to the sector will encourage others to retweet your messages, opening them up to a wider audience. A good tip that will help put you in the right place is to follow people on Twitter who work in your sector, follow companies within your sector and stay active to let key influencers know that you are available for a career opportunity.

Developing a Blog is another way to demonstrate your intellect, insightfulness and knowledge of the Food industry. There are a number of websites where you can sign up to a free blog and share your thoughts with industry professionals and other likeminded individuals. You may even gain blog followers who could be potential employers. You can also link your blog to your LinkedIn profile. Another idea is to follow the blogs of employees of companies where you would like to work. Post comments to them and invite them to follow your blog. You can also use Twitter to promote your blog and gain more blog followers. Followers of blogs thirst for content so try and update your blog on a weekly basis. Stick with it, as blogs with regularly updated content tend to retain their followers. Your blog is your shop window to a prospective employer so keep it positive and humorous.

Although it takes effort, creating a blog will separate you from the uninspired job seeker and you’ll be seen as a ‘thought leader’, someone knowledgeable enough to voice their opinion and stimulate discussion on your field of expertise. 

Although this article covers some of the online resources available to job seekers, don’t get so immersed in social media that you negate traditional lines of communication. A successful job searching plan will incorporate a number of methods, so think about making a call rather than writing an email, go and visit their ex-colleague you said you would keep in touch with when you left your last company, take up that offer of lunch and don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation or lead. It may take time to see the fruits of your job searching labour and building relationships and developing your network is a gradual investment of your time, but an investment worth making.


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