Spring Clean Your Job Search

Mar 3, 2015


If you’ve been on the job market for a while – or even if you’ve only just started looking for a job – why not give your job search a Spring Clean?

It is very easy for your job search to feel stale; always looking at the same job boards; always checking the same websites or always chasing up the same recruiters, but if you’re not getting jobs, or there seems to be a lack of jobs to go for, maybe it is time to give your job search a whole new approach.


When you are Spring Cleaning your home, very often you start at the very beginning and assess what needs to be done. Now is the time to do the same with your job search.

Firstly, examine the type of job you are looking for. Does it exist? Is it called something else? Can you estimate how many people are currently employed in the job that you want to do? In summary, how realistic is your job search? If you’re looking for exactly the same role that you are doing at the moment, or you were doing for your previous employer, you need to think again.  Publishing, even digital publishing, is constantly changing and looking for the same thing is no longer relevant. Look at your skills and see how they match the jobs that are on offer; this should guide you towards the best roles for you.

Now you know what sort of job you are looking for, rewrite your CV / résumé – don’t just update it. It is so easy to ‘add-on’ to a CV: your latest job title; your last role, but again, look at the jobs that are on offer, what skills are they asking for that you can do but you haven’t mentioned? For example, within marketing it was always taken for granted that you would be involved in brand management so you never mentioned it on your CV, but employers are now asking brand management as a skill on its own, so if you have this experience add it in.

Be consistent and ensure whatever skills you have are followed through in your online profiles; for example if you have brand management experience you might have the same avatar or photograph across all the social networks you use, as if this was a brand or logo you were managing.

Make sure your CV doesn’t go over two pages and do proofread it manually – there are so many spelling and grammar mistakes which Spellcheck overlooks.

Review the letter of application that you send with your CV; you might have a formula for writing covering letters but this shouldn’t be obvious to the person recruiting. If you only have one paragraph in the middle that you change and everything else is the same, this is no longer good enough. Publishers want to employ people that want to work for them and you need to demonstrate this throughout your letter, without going over the top.

Look at how you network and who you network with, whether it is online through social networking or in person. For your online networking, review your profiles and update them accordingly; ensure that as well as friends, you are connecting to people who may be able to advance your career, either with information or a potential job role. If you are networking in person, examine what organisations you are networking with and whether the network is helping you meet the ‘right’ people and make the ‘right’ connections. A good connection doesn’t have to be able to offer you a job, but may help you access skills and knowledge, and in this changing world, you need to keep up to date with what is going on. What about your pitch or ‘elevator speech’? Does this need revising and updating? If you are not getting the right responses you can’t be saying the right pitch to the right people. Is your pitch good enough? Who are the right people?

So in summary, as with a Spring Clean: look in every corner of your job search, start at the beginning, review everything you’ve been doing, have you missed anything? Have you overlooked something? Aim to look at things with fresh eyes. Give all the documents you use in your job search a polish and ensure your professional appearance isn’t dusty too.

If you’d like personal help spring cleaning your job search we recommend our training course
How to Job Search in Book Publishing.


A version of this article was originally published in Publishing Talk Magazine