Ten ways to improve your job prospects in a recession

Julie Howell, founder of new business Giraffe Sense Mentoring, offers her tips on how to approach job seeking in a recession

Many businesses are restructuring in the recession to make themselves leaner and more profitable. New opportunities could arise, so keep an eye on companies you want to work for.

Don’t be afraid to pitch a job idea to an employer. If you meet a company recruiter who has no current vacancies, see if you can persuade them that they need a person with your skills on their team, and show them what you could achieve.

With so many people out of work, recruitment agencies have much less time to get to know you well. Send them your CV with a strong covering letter, but be prepared to write to organisations speculatively and reply to job ads as well.

Professional networking site LinkedIn is free at the basic level and is fast becoming a crucial tool for employers who prefer to headhunt.

Free industry seminars are a great opportunity to network with potential employers. Why not ask a question during the Q&A? This will draw attention to yourself in a positive way, and you may be sought out later. See what’s on at your local college, on websites like trainingindustry.com or on other websites connected to sectors you’re interested in.

Volunteering can be a great idea if you want to pick up new skills, but you should set yourself objectives, so it helps build your CV in a meaningful way. Check out do-it.org.uk for local opportunities, or helpx.net which offers short term work in return for food and lodgings.

Showcase what you know and build your profile as a specialist via a blog. Promoting your posts through Twitter should drive traffic to your blog.

Read a company’s annual report – it will give you clues on what will impress them.

If you haven’t attended an interview for a while, approach a company that can give you interview practice. This is good even if you currently have a job you’ve been in for a while.

Be prepared to make a presentation at an interview, but don’t rely too heavily on technology that might let you down. A confident, personable speaker who displays innovative and well-defined ideas will always impress.