If you’ve been looking for jobs for a while but haven’t had as much success as you’d like, it’s easy to feel demotivated and frustrated. This might sound obvious, but if your current approach isn’t working, it’s high time to change it up and explore alternative avenues.
It also helps to take a step back to reflect on your job search process. Are you guilty of any of these job hunting mistakes?
1. Play the blame game
Don’t blame the economy, employers, or bad luck for your job hunting woes. Be accountable and take control of the situation. If your job hunting efforts aren’t getting anywhere, reflect on what you’re doing wrong. Being a pessimist doesn’t help. Having the right mindset makes a world of difference. While it’s true that some things are beyond our control, we can decide how it affects us and how we respond to it.
2. Let rejection get you down
Job hunting is not unlike finding a compatible match on dating sites. There needs to be a mutual connection and a good cultural fit between the organisation and the candidate. Don’t take rejection personally. You will be much happier working for a company that values what you have to offer.
3. Use the same resume and cover letter for all applications
Using a generic resume and cover letter says that you just can’t be bothered to put in the effort. Hiring managers can easily tell how much time and thought you’ve put into crafting your resume and cover letter. The more genuine and personalised it is to that job application, the higher your chances of standing out and getting on the shortlist.
4. Do what everyone else does
Most people will be job hunting through the same recruitment channels, which makes it harder to stand out. To increase your chances of success, it’s important to explore unconventional avenues as well as the conventional ones. Whether it’s creating an online resume that’s the mirror image of your dream company’s website, or blogging your way to your dream job, don’t limit yourself to the standard approaches. That said, it’s equally important to weigh the pros and cons before committing to a creative job application as these unconventional applications usually require a lot more effort and time.
5. Apply for any job you can find
No, job hunting is not a numbers game. You’ll be wasting your time and energy by applying for jobs you’re not qualified for, or jobs you’re not passionate about. A focused approach will yield more quality results than a ‘throw it against the wall and see if it sticks’ approach.
6. Have unrealistic expectations
It’s not necessarily bad to have high expectations, but you need to look at the market situation and get real about the competition. Don’t expect to make the same as someone with twice your experience, or expect the same kind of perks offered by Fortune 500 companies for a job at an SME, for example.
7. Keep it a secret
Tell as many people as you can that you’re on the market for a new job. You need to get the word out so people can recommend you for suitable job openings. You never know how far your social and professional network extends.
8. Apply for a job just to get a job
You need to have a clear focus and objective in your job hunt that is not solely money-driven or just to satisfy the status quo. Don’t give generic responses such as, ‘I’m applying for this job for career advancement’ or ‘Because this job offers a higher pay.’ These responses say you don’t actually care about the job and that you’re there mainly for your own benefit. The employer needs to be convinced that you will be an asset to the organisation first and foremost.
9. A resume and/or cover letter with way too much information
Employers don’t want (or have the time) to read your life story. Keep the facts simple, concise and relevant, but personal. Your application needs to resonate with hiring managers and show them your personal side as well as why you’re the best person for the job.
10. Trying too hard
Trying to sound smart by using bombastic jargon or pretentious language makes you look desperate, insecure, and artificial. You might really want the job but you need to stay relaxed, confident, and natural. If you don’t think you’re good enough for the job, the hiring manager will pick up on your insecurities and have a less than favourable impression of you.
Any of the above sound familiar? The next time you catch yourself making one of these mistakes, hit pause and take a breath. Productive job hunting starts with the right mindset and approach. You might be surprised with the results!
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