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January Jobhunting Tips

18 Jan 2017
written by Ama

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a marvellous Christmas, we certainly had lots of festive fun here at Hachette. Now that the holidays are well and truly over, you’re probably starting to think about the year ahead or setting your New Year resolutions into motion. As part of that you may be keen to kick start your year with a new role, career path, or challenge.

Being part of the HR team me and my HR colleagues see hundreds of applications each year and have the pleasure of meeting many of our applicants at interview stage.  This means that combined, our HR team have tonnes of tips to share with those of you that might be thinking about applying for those exciting opportunities across our business and those  lucky enough to be selected for an interview. So I thought I would start our 2017 blog posts by sharing a few of these tips below. I hope this helps in your job search!

#1 Make your CV stand out
We receive a LOT of CVs.  Make sure yours stands out.  That doesn’t necessarily mean having a funky format or witty comments – we want a clear and concise CV that shows us your experience, personality, and skills.  Use bullet points to make sure all the information we want to see is easy for us to find, and use your cover letter to expand on your CV to show how your experience makes you the perfect candidate for the role.  You don’t need to be repeating these explanations on your CV.  Your CV is also a perfect way to demonstrate your IT and editing skills so it should look professional and make good use of space, without any typos!

#2 Read your application at least twice and then get someone else to read it.
Often we see applications that have not been spell checked, have the wrong job title or sometimes even tell us why they want to work for another company, amongst other errors! This is never a good start and gives the impression that you haven’t made the effort to make sure what you’re submitting is relevant to the job you’re applying for or taken the time to ensure it is accurate (attention to detail is a requirement for many of our roles). So always make sure that you re-read your application and if possible, get it read again by someone else to make sure any errors are spotted by you before we spot them.

#3 When reading your CV and cover letter look at each line and keep asking yourself “so what?”
Whether you’re talking about a gap year, your extra-curricular activities, your time in education or previous work experience, make sure you are telling us how it is relevant to the role you are applying for because that’s what we will be looking for. Tell us what skills, knowledge and experience you will be bringing as a result of your previous experiences. Personally, I also like to see what someone has achieved, especially as I don’t think your application should read like a job description. So make sure you keep asking yourself “so what?”

#4 Make sure your application is specific to the role that you are applying for.
Looking for a new role can feel like having a full-time job in itself so it can be tempting to create a generic CV and cover letter that you can use for all jobs that you apply for. Don’t! We can receive over one hundred applications for some of our roles so you need to make sure yours stands out from the rest. One way of doing that is ensuring that it is relevant to the role you’re applying for and tells us why you’re the best person for that job – using a generic CV and cover letter won’t do that.

#5 Don’t be over familiar or too informal in your application.
We’re a friendly bunch at Hachette but remember, the people shortlisting are not your friends and you still need to maintain a level of professionalism in your application. Don’t use the same language that you would use in a text. We don’t know you yet and you’ll want to make sure you’re giving the best impression to any potential employer and that means getting a balance between being friendly and professional.

#6 Make sure you’ve done your research on Hachette and the division you’re applying for.
This is obvious but some people still get caught off guard! It really helps to make a good impression when you can show that you have taken some time to look at what we do and it will probably also help you to feel more comfortable if you can show off some facts that you may have discovered.

#7 Do your research, part 2
Have a browse on Twitter and social media.  We have lots of accounts for our divisions and specific imprints, (and Hachette Careers, Hachette Hawk…!) so this is often a great way to get up to date with the latest book campaigns and to see what we’re up to.  The publishing/book community is very active on Twitter and exploring the latest industry news and hearing what authors, readers, booksellers are talking about will give you the edge, proving to us that you really know your stuff. You’ll also get a glimpse at what it’s like working at Hachette and see some of the work that goes on behind the scenes.  And if you’re applying for a Marketing or Publicity role, some of what you’ll see is what you’ll be doing once you ace that interview.

#8 Prepare and practice for that all important interview.
I would suggest starting by looking at the job advert and thinking of examples you can give to demonstrate that you have the qualities they are looking for.  For example, if they’re looking for someone who can work well in a team, work to tight deadlines, multi task or communicate well….then prepare examples of how you’ve done those things in a previous life whether it was at school, university, at work, or whilst doing your hobby. This will help take away some of the nerves that come with being asked a question that you might not be able to think of an answer for. Then practice explaining your example out loud, even better if you can practice your answers on somebody else to make sure it’s clear and can be understood. Make sure you also prepare the basics like where you need to go, how long it will take you, how to get there and who you need to ask for when you get there.

#9 What can you expect from us?
Once you submit your application via email, it will go to our recruitment inbox which is where we manage the recruitment for the roles across the business.  You’ll receive an automatic reply from us the first time you apply  explaining our process.  What we then do is forward all applications for a role to the hiring managers.  That team will then sift through all the applications and select the candidates they want to see for first round interviews.  If you live outside of London and can’t make it to interview, don’t forget you can ask for a first round Skype interview or if you can claim back travel expenses. The time it takes for sifting applications can vary, but you should hear within two-three weeks of the closing date if you’ve been selected for interview, and as a general rule, second interviews usually take place the week following first round.

#10 Don’t forget to ask for feedback
If you’ve had an interview with us and haven’t been successful, then do ask for more detailed feedback.  This will hopefully help you to concentrate on any gaps in experience or highlight any interview skills you can work on for next time.  Please be patient with us though, we can’t always respond straight away but we will make sure we get back to you.  We check the recruitment inbox throughout the day, so if you send any emails to recruitment@hachette.co.uk, you know one of the HR team will pick it up.

Searching for a new job can be daunting and a little disheartening, especially if you don’t get the role you’re desperately seeking, but keep trying and keep the faith! We’ve had many people join us who were previously unsuccessful for a different role they applied for here, but perseverance paid off!  Remember, you learn from every interview you have. Good luck and don’t forget to follow us on twitter @hachettecareers to be the first to know about the jobs we have available, and if you want to see a snap shot of what life is like at Hachette then make sure you follow us on our Instagram page at hachettecareers.