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There are hundreds of reasons why a JobSeeker may not be hired for a role they believe they are perfect for, and unfortunately we don’t have all of the answers there. But there are some consistent mistakes that we at WorkMonger see JobSeekers make, and changing just one of these things could unlock your perfect next role. Whether you’re holding yourself back from getting the interview, or your struggles are more around closing the perfect role, every JobSeeker has something to learn.
Limiting where you apply:
There are many ways that JobSeekers unnecessarily narrow their field of search, such as only applying to roles posted online or only focusing on one or two potential aspects of a role when figuring out where to apply. While we understand that not all JobSeekers have the time to devote to a broader search, it’s important to cast a wide net and be open to opportunities that are slightly different than what you think your ideal role is – you never know what great opportunities might exist out there.
We’ve written before on a good exercise to do when evaluating your priorities in your job search, but the upshot is that your perfect role might exist in a different city or with slightly different work responsibilities, but you won’t know unless you give it a shot! The same can be said for seeking out roles that aren’t posted online; networking is crucial to finding out about these. For example, if you learn of an opportunity from a friend, you might be able to submit your application before the organization even has an opportunity to post their role online. Now you’ve given yourself an advantage. But you won’t find out about these roles by aimlessly searching job boards online – you have to proactively work within your network.
Submitting your resume into the void:
If you’re just sending your resume or application into an online system and then sitting back and waiting to see what happens, you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. Hiring managers may receive hundreds of applications; even if you’re a great fit for the role, your resume may get lost amongst the masses.
There are two techniques you can try to make sure hiring managers actually read your resume. The first is actively leveraging your network for a connection at that organization. If you can get one person to put in a word for you with the hiring manager, your resume will at least get more than a cursory glance, plus hopefully now they have some positive information to associate with your name. The second thing you can try is finding the email of a person who works in HR and sending them a note about how excited you are about the role and why you’re a good fit. Of course, this won’t work if you’re applying directly to the hiring manager, but this is a trick for any of those mass application systems. If you do this, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, make sure you’re specific about why you’re the right fit for this specific role, don’t just send a generic message about yourself to every organization. Second, don’t be overeager. You’re just trying to get your foot in the door after all; you don’t want to seem desperate. For the easiest way to get that “in”, become a WorkMonger JobSeeker and we’ll get you directly in front of the employer!
Spending too little time on your resume:
Let’s be frank – while those of us at WorkMonger know that you’re so much more than your resume, the recruiting process is still largely driven by resumes. Resumes are often the only thing a hiring manager will review before making a decision on whether to give you an interview. Using the techniques above are one tool, but you should also make sure to have a flawless resume. Have a friend look over your resume to make sure you don’t have any typos and that your formatting isn’t confusing. When you’re only given that limited space, one little thing can rub the hiring manager the wrong way and your application is all for naught.
When given the opportunity, it’s also a good idea to tailor your resume to the specific role. This is especially true for two groups of people – teachers and more experienced professionals. For teachers, if you’re applying for a role outside of the classroom, you should highlight the aspects of your teaching that translate to that role because the responsibilities of the new role will be so different than what is required of a teacher day-to-day. For that second group of more experienced professionals, you might have enough work experience to fill pages. But is all of it relevant to this role? Likely not. For the sake of brevity, only detail the roles that explain why you’re the right fit for this specific position.
Failing to prepare for the interview:
Practicing for an interview is important no matter where you are in your career! Sometimes we see our more experienced JobSeekers wing interviews without realizing how rusty their interview skills are. Plus, make sure you’re properly researching the organization and role before the interview. As some of our other tips suggest, specificity is super important and hiring managers are interested in people who demonstrate their passion for their organization and mission, not just an applicant who wants any job.
Not treating your job search like a job:
Job searches take work; very few people randomly stumble into the perfect role for them. Always put your best foot forward by making sure to respond promptly and professionally even if it feels like the other side isn’t. Unfortunately, some hiring processes will have a bunch of hoops you’ll have to jump through and some hiring managers might take awhile to respond to you. But remember – you’re not too good for this process. If you’re not hearing back, be proactive and send a follow-up email. This is yet another opportunity for you to plug why you’re the right fit for this role and demonstrate your excitement for the position.
Know your worth. JobSeekers like you are not a dime a dozen! Too often we see our JobSeekers cede all control to the hiring manager and think that the interview process is all about selling themselves. It’s not. Yes, the interview process is for the employer to vet your candidacy but it’s also an opportunity for you to vet the employer and the role. Use the interview to decide if the organization and role are truly a great fit for you, not just to explain why you’re the right candidate. And along those lines, make sure you’re vetting the employer on the right things – think less about salary and title and more about whether you’d thrive and enjoy working there.
If you do have concerns about the role, bring those up early. When the appropriate time is to bring up salary is a big question for many people – see more of our advice on that here – and if you have flexibility it’s probably best not to broach the topic too early. But if salary is important to you and it’s not clear from the job description, ask early on (I recommend second interview) so that you’re not wasting your time or that of the employer. If the employer is turned off by that (or any other questions you might want to get answers to early on) they’re probably not the right organization for you anyway.
Waiting until you need a job to start jobseeking:
The best time to start looking for a job is when you don’t need one! If you wait until right before you need a new role, you might end up having to accept a role that isn’t right for you just because you need the income. But if you’ve been in a role for a little while and could see a move coming sometime in the next year or so, get started feeling things out early. That way, if the perfect job comes along you can make the jump, but if not, you still get a chance to explore what you’re interested in before the need truly comes. If you’re not already passively jobseeking, the best way to get started is by creating your WorkMonger JobSeeker profile.
Hopefully reading about these mistakes has spurred a concrete change you can make in your jobseeking approach. But no matter what, don’t get discouraged! As said from the beginning, there are plenty of reasons you may not have found that right role, and lots of them are out of your control. Stay positive, because hiring managers can often hear that negativity in your voice and it certainly doesn’t help. Rest assured – the right role will come, and we’re here to help!