This is going to sound harsh, but it’s true: a lot of people do themselves a disservice with how they go about looking for jobs. There are common mistakes that many jobseekers make again and again, which are easy to correct.
As someone who comes into contact with job hunters every single day, I see some serious extremes. I see people pulling out all the stops to uncover opportunities, impress potential employers and put their best foot forward. Then, on the other hand, I also see people with unrealistic goals, a lazy attitude toward finding work and a sense of entitlement that’s sure to let them down.
In this article, I want to discuss five mistakes I see job hunters make repeatedly. Avoiding these mistakes can drastically increase your chances of landing a desirable and engaging role.
Failing to customise applications
There are plenty of statistics regarding how many applications you may need to fire off to land a job, or even just an interview. Typically, recruiters receive hundreds of applications for each role. Most of them don’t even make it past the first sift.
Despite this, I still see people firing off bulk applications to numerous different jobs. They don’t take time to see how suitable the role is, write a custom cover letter, or tailor their resumé to fit in with what the company is looking for.
While applying for jobs is undoubtedly a numbers game, it’s not one you’ll ever win by firing off “boilerplate” applications. It makes far more sense to send out half as many applications and actually make sure they are good enough to stand out.
Going “off grid”
You’d think that people applying for jobs would go out of their way to make sure they communicated effectively with prospective employers. In my experience, that’s not always the case.
If you email an application and get a reply back, you should be jumping on that reply and responding professionally – and quickly. Yet time after time, I see people failing to manage their email inboxes or answer their phones. This is potentially the first opportunity to impress a future employer – so don’t throw it away. That goes for recruiters too though. When dealing with other people, be it to hire or to get hired, it’s important to be efficient and responsive.
Forgetting basic courtesies
It no longer surprises me, but every day I receive emails containing spelling mistakes and poor punctuation. It’s also very common to see emails from people barking out what they want without including so much as a “Hi…..” or a “Regards.”
Basic manners may have gone out the window a little these days thanks to instant messaging and chat apps. However, that doesn’t mean that being brusque and rude will endear you to people you want to help you or give you a job. An email is often the first impression someone has of you – so ensure that impression is good. If you need help with grammar, there are different online tools, which can correct your e-mails. Another option is looking for inspiration on job boards, which offer cover letter and CV templates.
On a similar note, putting across an arrogant attitude in early professional communications won’t win you any friends. I remain taken aback when people get in touch reeling off all the qualifications they have, bragging about their “top level” experience, or aggressively listing all the things they’re not willing to do.
It’s worth remembering that when you’re job hunting, you’re contacting people wanting THEM to do something for YOU. As such, a bit of humility goes a long way. If you seem like a suitable candidate, you’ll have a chance to show what you after to offer during an interview. Don’t alienate them before you get to that point!
Giving up too soon
I specialise in providing advice to people looking for remote working jobs. Time after time I hear from individuals who seem utterly convinced there are no decent opportunities out there. However, it didn’t take us that long to uncover 50 companies that offer remote work – including some serious household names. There are plenty more too.
I somehow doubt that these demotivated people have worked their way through all the valid companies, and fired off lots of well-crafted applications. The likelihood is that scoring your dream job will involve dozens of applications and several interviews.
Good things don’t (often) just fall into your lap. One thing you can be sure of is that there are people out there with the drive and tenacity to stick with it while others falter. You have to decide which category you want to be in.
We would like to thank Ben Taylor for this contribution. Ben is the Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – an advice portal for home workers and freelancers. He also coaches writers and bloggers at WriteBlogEarn.com.
Author: Ali Neill
As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.
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