Beginning the career searching process can seem daunting and incredibly time-consuming if you don’t know where or how to leapfrog the process. But despite the challenges that many face on their journey to professional development, we have some good news! For most, the benefits of engaging with an executive search firm may not be glaringly obvious – for one, the right recruitment agency will generally have a much stronger and established relationship with the companies you’re wanting to work with. In fact, in most cases – they are probably already working with them, so why not leverage their networks to help you land your dream job?

From AltGen’s perspective, we can help you learn from others’ mistakes. AltGen is niched in the renewables game in Africa – and has been in the last 10 years… ever heard the saying “It’s about WHO WE KNOW and WHAT YOU KNOW”? Well, it is a real thing. Too often we have candidates approach us asking us to represent them on their career journey but to their detriment, they have already applied to the firm and have not showcased themselves accurately. Sadly, for the candidate, recruitment firms can’t represent a person if they have applied to the company themselves. The best thing you can do for yourself is find an executive search company like AltGen to showcase you in the best light possible in the renewable energy job market or the relevant industry you are wanting to enter.

This leads us onto the next hot point – identifying your next ideal employer. The job search process is more than just looking for employment and/or sending your CV to a recruitment firm. You need to make sure you’re well suited for your upcoming career move (be pragmatic – make your goals achievable). Furthermore, you need to know how to effectively attract a recruiter’s attention – highlighting how well positioned you are to take on the role and hit the ground running, and should they respond, that you are thoroughly prepared for a screening interview.

Here are some aspects to keep in mind when conducting your job search:

  1. Know your career goals. It is very important to map your next career steps and long-term career goal before beginning the search (do yourself the favour, it will save you a lot of time). Ask yourself, which or what type of company do I want to work for (additionally, ask yourself why – is it a technical and/or cultural reason?). Make sure you have a realistic career trajectory planned out and that you isolate your target company… there are thousands of renewable companies out there – focus on quality over quantity.

Next, once you know who you want to work for and why, find the person whose job you want. Conduct a benchmarking exercise (or matrix) to see what someone in your ideal position has in terms of experience, skills, and qualifications in order for you to become aware of what you need to have under your belt, or at least be close to. Use the tools you have at hand, go onto LinkedIn, you will be surprised how much information you can learn from a person!

  1. Plan ahead and consider your timelines. While your recruiter will be handling the job search on your behalf, it is still a good idea for you to create a job alert (using keywords of interest) with the recruitment company so that if new jobs pop up, you will be notified and can chat to your recruiter about your interest in this position. It is vital to ensure the CV you present to your recruiter is up-to-date and formatted correctly (follow us to stay informed through our next post where we will be discussing your CV) It is also important to remember to create milestones for yourself, keeping in mind your current notice period, and if you are currently involved in projects – you don’t want to change jobs at the wrong time and end up jeopardizing your reputation. Planning helps you know when to focus on engaging with recruiters, perhaps give your recruiter a heads up that you will be looking in the next quarter, etc.
  2. Use multiple job-research platforms. Pnet, LinkedIn, and Indeed (amongst others) are great platforms to search for jobs as well as connect with recruiters who are actively looking for talent. For a recruitment company like AltGen, 87% of our monthly applicants come from LinkedIn, which shows that it is a valuable platform to be a part of, not only for jobs, but for live content and info. We also recommend keeping an eye on other job boards for new jobs that are posted (and creating that alert we spoke about!). Last but not least, we would suggest following your preferred brands so that when you see a role you would like to apply for, you can touch base with your recruiter regarding this vacancy.

Since job searching isn’t always a quick process, you need to remind yourself to not get disheartened easily, sometimes the right job for you is only ready for you later on (job hoppers be warned). You need to manage your expectations and realise that there’s a chance you won’t always hear back from every firm you’ve applied to. However, with AltGen representing you on your job search, our recruiters have your best intentions at heart and they will provide you with as much feedback as possible throughout the process. It’s also important that you remember to protect your image – before starting this process, go through your online profiles and make sure that you remove anything that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to discover. Make sure you are contactable, so update your details across your preferred platforms for a recruiter to be able to get ahold of you if need be.

Keep posted for the next installment, where we will discuss what is involved in a cover note and elaborate on the CV writing process. We will provide you with ways to better improve your resume as well as inform you what you should and shouldn’t have in your CV and intro message in order to make the best first impression possible – that is what your CV is all about!