I can think of a thousand ways to have fun…
Looking for a new job is not in my top 10.
Of course, it’s an experience; of course, the process comes with positives, new connections, new information;
It remains that job hunting (what a word, by the way, do you hunt a job or do you seek one?!) can at times feel like climbing an uphill mountain, with high heels and a ton of bricks on the shoulders.
I am being dramatic on purpose!
Searching for a job is not an easy task; it requires grit, resilience, persistence, and consistency.
It also helps when you have a strategy in place, know a few tips, and find a way to make it as efficient as possible for yourself.
Starting by keeping in mind this one principle: hiring managers receive hundreds of applications for any given job.
Their aim number 1?
Eliminate as many as possible to focus on the ones that count…those same ones that will go into round 2 (and possibly more) of filtering until the holy grail of the first interview.
Staying focused, knowing how to target … and avoiding those common pitfalls.
Pitfall 1: thinking that one size fits all…
Automation can apply to many tasks. It doesn’t and cannot apply to your job search.
I get it! For the sake of efficiency, you copy and paste the same cover, the same email and off you are done with it, one more on the list of applications.
Let’s examine the initial process of recruitment: in today’s world with everything online, many of the postings will receive hundreds of applications.
The main purpose of filtering whether it’s an automated process, outsourced or done in-house, is to eliminate anything not relevant to the job.
Then comes the decision to invite applicants for interviews.
What does it mean for the serial all-automated job poster?
That unless your resume and cover letter hit the right points, they will be dismissed as missing the must-haves of the job requirement.
Same treatment, if your resume omitted certain keywords.
So do yourself a favor. Don’t waste your precious time on inefficient tasks.
Hold off on the automatic sending.
Pitfall 2: Firing at all cylinders
A close cousin to the one size fits all, applying for every job on the market with the same title as your current will backfire…badly.
Certain companies will require specific expertise in their own sector or industry.
While it is true that many skills (and tasks) are transferrable, don’t expect recruiters to have any patience to find the relevance between your job as a marketer in a bank, and the vacancy in their healthcare company.
Probability of your resume getting ‘no’? quite high
Pitfall 3: You already know everything you think you need to know
Or in another word: not doing your research. Some companies make headlines regularly, but for most of the ones you want to apply for, you will need to do a bit of digging.
For several reasons:
1/ Know what you are getting yourself into. If the latest headlines from said Company conflict with your own values, is it really worth pursuing?
2/ Latest news, relevant facts and the likes can provide you with meaningful data points to tweak your resume with, and further customize your cover letter.
What to do instead? Read the papers, look into the Company’s Linkedin profile, and contact people you know who work there to get more information straight from the source.
Pitfall 4: Playing hermit
Network, network, network!
But don’t network only because this person works at a company you are eyeing; connect to build longer-term professional relationships, and to keep current on the industry, the sector and what’s happening.
It still amazes me what a small world it is out there.
Nurturing your network is not only for the short-term goal of finding a job; rather, see it as a reaching out to a community of like-minded people, a sort of trade cooperative of people sharing parallel and somehow similar circumstances.
It creates connections, more trust and a better outcome for your job search when you have been referred by someone.
Pitfall 5: Drawing inside the lines
Meaning: only looking at jobs that are exact copies of the one you want.
My suggestion: look also at the position above and the one below too.
What are their requirements? Where do you see gaps with your skills and experience? What can you acquire (as experience, training, e-learning, etc) to bridge said gap, and that you can put on your resume?
Bottom line, even if you have 100% of the job requirements, it never hurts to add more value to what you are bringing to a Company.
Pitfall 6: Wanting to play in your same old, same old sandbox
So you’ve been employed in the same sector your whole life. You know everything you need to know about the job and the sector. It feels comfortable, … and limited (or limiting?).
What if you also took the search as an opportunity to broaden your horizons?
Chances are, you are now talking to many different people, from family to friends, to recruiters, to colleagues and a broader network of professionals.
Why not explore what’s also available out there, beyond your current scope?
Volunteer work, consulting jobs and other in-between outplacements can bring you a valuable experience and can, at some point, be relevant for your resume If you were envisaging to change careers for example.
And so is taking on new classes and certifications if you can, time and financially-wise.
Your redeeming grace: get clear on what you are looking for
The number one time-waster for any job seeker is not knowing what they are looking for, and so go randomly on a job shopping spree.
Because motivation and energy can easily deplete, especially as time goes by.
To keep your motivation up, be clear on what you are looking for, list your must-haves and your would be nice, as well as your non-negotiables.
This will allow you to be selective on where you apply, and to stay flexible and open to new opportunities.