Job hunting? 6 ways you can hold yourself back…

Picture of a career woman holding a 'hire me' signIf you’re looking for work right now and finding it hard, take heart – it’s not just you, the market has definitely tightened.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs out there – it just means you need a good job search strategy, and to work smarter.

Take a moment to check in, see how you’re tracking – and identify where you might be getting in your own way.

To help you, these are the top 6 job search mistakes I see in my work…  

Mistake #1: The blanket campaign

If you’ve sent out 50 applications, and had no bites, it’s clearly not working – so stop!  Sending out the same resume to everyone, irrespective of the role, is likely wasting your time. Job search is not a numbers game; churning out more does not up your chances.

A good application is tailor-made to each job, and that takes time and effort – which shows. A generic ‘one size fits all’ resume takes little effort, and to recruiters, that shows too. Specifically, it makes you look lazy and half-hearted. Outcome? No bites.

In a competitive market, you need to stand out – so send fewer applications, and spend your time making them great. Learn more about writing winning resumes here.

Mistake #2: Getting stuck on seek

Spending all day online, waiting for jobs to pop up? If so, you need a new strategy. Most jobs are not advertised; they go internally, by word of mouth or referral… in other words, they go through people. Online, you’re an unknown, competing with everyone else for a small pot of jobs. Convenient, comfortable and easy? Yes. Effective? No.

Mix it up. Sign up for job alerts… and then get out there. Do your research and knock on doors. Talk to recruiters. Tap your networks. Stop waiting and start initiating.

Mistake #3: Withdrawing

If jobs go through people, you have to get – and stay – actively connected. See a job you really want? Call up the recruiter, talk to the employer – make contact any way you can. Be keen, engaged, committed. Make that extra effort and stand out.

Out of your comfort zone? Focus on that job. The more you get out there and talk to people, the easier it gets – and remember, every contact builds your networks. That in itself may open new doors…

Mistake #4: Leaking negativity

How are you feeling? If you’re angry, bitter, anxious or tired, then take a step back – those feelings are natural, but they won’t help you promote yourself effectively. They’ll colour your applications, leak out in interviews… and kill your chances.

You need to keep your energy up and put your best foot forward, so take an hour, a day, a week – do what you need, to refresh, re-group and come back stronger.

Mistake #5: Underselling yourself

I hear so many smart, talented clients underplay their skills – if they see them at all. Recruitment is a sales game, and you can’t sell what you don’t see, know or value. Identify your skills, own them, believe them – be proud of them. And always focus on what you do have, not what you don’t. ‘I don’t have exactly what you want, but…’ only tells me that you’re not what I’m looking for. You lost me at but.

Mistake #6: Holding out for perfect

If you’re in a job now, and starting to seek your next step, then wait for the right move. But if you just need to find work, then be realistic, practical and flexible. Don’t get hung up on titles or rigid about levels.

There is no ladder – nothing’s above or beneath you. Move sideways, backwards or any way you need to, to stay in the game. Accept reality, make the best of it, treat your job as a project and learn everything you can – this isn’t forever, and you never know where things may lead…

Want help to build your brand, and find your next job?

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