JAMES WATT COLLEGE
Job Seeking Skills:
FINDING JOB VACANCIES
WHERE TO LOOK FOR JOB VACANCIES
EMPLOYMENT SERVICE / JOB CENTRES
Many employers in the local area will advertise their job vacancies through the job centre. The job centre
will also have details of vacancies in other areas and abroad stored in their computer system. It is
worthwhile asking about these vacancies if there is nothing of interest on the display board.
NATIONAL AND LOCAL NEWSPAPERS
All the main national newspapers carry job advertisements often on specific days of the week.
Local newspapers also carry job advertisements for your area.
There are also some publications dedicated entirely to job vacancies such as Scottish Recruitment and
Scottish Jobs, which are available from newsagents.
Newspapers can also be a very useful source of general information for the job hunter. Look at the
adverts and you may find useful names and contacts, or information about new employers moving into a
particular area that you can write to ‘on spec’ to ask if they need your skills.
SPECIALIST MAGAZINES / PROFESSIONAL JOURNALS
Specialist magazines and professional journals are useful as a source of vacancies and to update you on
current developments in your occupation. Publications such as the Hotel and Caterer and the Nursing
Times are a couple of examples of journals that carry job advertisements.
WORD OF MOUTH
If any of your relatives or friends do the type of work that interests you, ask them to keep you in mind if a
job comes up with their company. Often an employer does not advertise a job, but asks his/her
employees if they know of anyone suitable.
Agencies can be a useful source of vacancies. Some agencies have a single function, ie deal in a
particular kind of employment area such as clerical or engineering. It is important to know what types of
jobs the agency you are registering with offers in order that you choose the right agency to help you sell
your skills. Some agencies check apprenticeship papers, HGV licence, etc. See Yellow Pages for
details of recruitment agencies in your area.
TV / RADIO
Some companies advertise through the radio. However these adverts are unlikely to be part of any
specific programme and you should be prepared therefore to complete an application form or send a CV
to companies spontaneously, whenever you hear such an advert.
Teletext also carries job vacancies.
Scottish TV has a programme called Jobfinder, which could be a useful source of vacancy information.
The UK Job Market
Only 35% of Vacancies in the UK are advertised, either directly or through agencies
65% of Vacancies are never advertised.
Why are so many jobs never advertised?
Advertising is costly
Advertising is time consuming
The company may not want competitors to know it has a key vacancy
The company may always have been able to recruit without advertising
If 65% of vacancies never get advertised, a useful way of spending your job search time is on ‘on spec’
applications and telephone calls. If vacancies are not advertised there will be much less competition and
potentially a better chance of getting an interview.
It is important that you think about the transferable skills you have to offer an employer and do some
research into any company that interests you prior to approaching that organisation.
It is also important to contact the person who has the authority to hire you for the position you are
interested in. Do not always assume the Personnel Department have knowledge about vacancies; often
they may not get details of vacancies except when they are about to be advertised.
Always send your CV and a covering letter to a named contact in the department you want to work in to
ensure it is targeted at the right person.
You should follow up your CV and letter with a telephone call to ensure it has arrived and to indicate your
YELLOW PAGES / THOMSON’S LOCAL DIRECTORY
The Yellow Pages and Thomson’s Local Directory can be helpful in identifying companies in a particular
field that you can contact ‘on spec’. You will be able to obtain an address to write to or at the very least a
telephone number to make initial contact, either to ask about vacancies directly or to obtain a contact to
send an ‘on spec’ application or CV.
The Internet is a very powerful job search tool. There are literally hundreds of thousands of jobs listed on
thousands of different sites – from employers own web sites to recruitment agencies and newspaper
It is also a useful research tool – it can be used to find out about employers, specific industries, job types,
related organisations – such as Employment Services and Careers Offices – and job searching itself.
Things to watch out for
Information overload – being swamped by too much information
Being distracted by completely unrelated sites
Protecting your own personal information
Charges or fees for services on commercial sites
First Things First!
1. Getting access to the Internet – if you do not have ready access to the Net at home. Ideally try to
find out where you can get free access. Try asking at your local Job Centre, Careers Office,
library, Unemployed Workers Centre – even if they don’t provide free access they might point you
in the right direction.
2. Plan your search before you go online. Write down the names of the jobs or type of job you are
looking for, the industries you want to focus on, the level of entry you want (some sites are geared
towards graduates, technicians, professionals or specialists in certain industries). Are you looking
locally or are you prepared to move to a new area? If so, which areas would you consider? Think
before you surf – it saves times and energy!
3. Do not give out personal or confidential information about yourself (your address, telephone
number or National Insurance number) – unless you are absolutely certain that the information will
be secure. Some recruitment sites offer a ‘post your CV’ service allowing you to put your CV into
an electronic ‘Situations Wanted’ or ‘Job Matching’ service. Check who will have access and how
this is monitored. Also check if there is a charge for the service. Normally this information is on
the web site but you can always e-mail them for further information.
4. Remember to add useful sites to your ‘favourites’ or ‘bookmarks’.
There are already hundreds of UK vacancy information sites. The list below is not intended to
recommend particular sites or to be a full list of available sites – there are simply too many to make this
practical – but it will give some potential starting points.
Finally, you will probably use one or more of the ‘search engines’ available online to do your search e.g.
Excite, Lycos or Yahoo. Using more than one will give you better results. Try to think about keywords
you want to use for your search before you start and read their ‘How to Search’ or ‘Help’ advice before
you begin if you are new to the Internet.
SITE NAME WEB ADDRESS
Job Centre Plus www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk
Job Search www.jobsearch.co.uk
Monster Scotland www.recruitmentscotland.co.uk
Monster UK www.monster.co.uk
S1 Jobs www.s1jobs.com
Scottish Appointments www.scottishappointments.com
Scottish Jobs www.scottishjobs.com
Total Jobs www.totaljobs.com
Looking for general careers and learning information before you go any further? Try using the PlanIT
database on the Internet at http://www.planitplus.net. It also has lots of useful background information
and links to other sites.