6 mistakes to avoid during your job search

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

​The job search journey is individual, what takes you two weeks might take me three months and the next two days. I find the concept of finding a job interesting, not just because it is my role in life to support others here but because the whole idea of searching for a job intrigues me.

I genuinely believe we expect too much of ourselves, especially early on in our careers.

Think logically, when was the last time you needed to showcase research skills whilst selling yourself, whilst showing your coding/design abilities whilst listening and asking thought-provoking questions.

Chances are, very infrequently but we expect perfection from the off whenever we are looking for a job and we become frustrated with ourselves, with recruiters and with companies when we ‘fail’.

Mistakes happen in life, and they happen a hell of a lot in recruiting processes. Some on your part and others not. What we wanted to do with this article was explain 6 mistakes that are relatively common, shed light on them allowing you to identify if you’re falling into their trap. We have also created solutions under each, allowing you to pivot away from any that you recognise in your own process.

No 1. Applying to Everything

It can be very difficult and especially when you need to find a job as soon as possible due to situations out of your control (visa deadlines for example) to simply default and apply to everything you see online or that lands in your inbox.

Often people believe recruitment is a numbers game, the more output the more input (the more applications, the more interviews).

Generally speaking, this does work but what you might find is that your time and energy are spent on roles that are not right for you (or vice versa) and when it comes to speaking with the companies you truly want, your performance is sub-par.

Solution

To avoid wasting time and energy with opportunities that really are not right, spend time firstly understanding what you NEED and WANT from your next role.

This includes environment, position, responsibility, salary etc.

Once you know this, research industries and companies that pique your interest and focus on these first.

Connect with hiring managers, recruiters or even peers in the company to gain knowledge and look for a referral instead of just an application, this will increase your chances of securing that first meeting.

With more energy, you can prepare correctly and hopefully put your skills across better than if they were the 5th interview in 2 days.

No 2. Using Simple Apply

Supporting No 1., avoid using the ‘Apply Now’ buttons you find on popular job board platforms. Although they can be tempting as a quick and easy way to increase your application total, the results you gain from them might be far less than the more targeted and personal approach.

Solution

Expanding from the previous solution, tailor your approaches based on the company and individual. This doesn’t mean you need to craft custom CVs (but it can be good) but when you reach out, express why you are intrigued by that opportunity/company and try to bridge a connection with them.

No 3. Over Shooting

I am very much in support of pushing your career as much as possible, growing with each new position that you take and looking for ways to take on further responsibility if this is what you want.

What we are referring to here is when individuals, and you might be guilty of this, inflate skills and responsibilities to impress during a meeting.

This might work with a few but can be soon unravelled with a simple reference check.

Shoot for the moon with what opening but stay grounded with what skills you are able to truly bring and let the company make a well-rounded, informed decision.

Solution

If you have created a Career Plan in the past then I would recommend referring to what is required in your next step before actively looking for it, this will ensure you cover as much as possible and have a greater chance of success.

If you have not created one, then identify what position you would like to obtain and understand (backed with examples) what you have done in recent years that correlate directly to the skills required and what you still need to learn.

Present yourself clearly during a meeting so as to not miss lead and miss sell yourself.

No 4. Getting Angry

Every rejection can feel like a stab at your skills and thus your ego. Do your best to not let your ego take over in any situation, no matter how much you might disagree with the reasoning and use every rejection as a driver to find the right company for you.

This also is true if you are not receiving any feedback whatsoever. This can be even harder to stay positive within but just consider this… every company missed get you closer to the right one that will hire you, where you will do amazing things.

Solution

Stay focused, stay true to yourself. Stick to your own journey, seek guidance and stay humble.

No 5. Ignoring Feedback

One of the biggest mistakes made time and time again. Every piece of feedback be it positive or negative is important. Some will help you, others will not but every piece deserves some attention even if no action.

Ignoring feedback will only re-enforce negative behaviours you might have that you cannot see. And behaviours that are tweaked could be the difference between securing a job and not.

Solution

With every process that concludes seek out feedback. Store this feedback in a single folder, read it, digest and decide do you need to action off the back of it.

If an action is required, create and then close the folder.

If no action is required, store it and then close the folder.

Keep the feedback as a reminder whenever you wish to return to see how you performed during the job search, it will help you get into the right frame of mind quicker for the next.

Some people delete the feedback altogether once actioned, this is also possible but we like reflecting so the preference is yours.

No 6. Giving Up

It doesn’t matter if this is your first job search or your tenth, as mentioned at the beginning your journey is unique to you.

It can be hard at times to stay hopeful and focused when you have been hit with rejection after rejection but putting your best self out each time and not giving up will be felt in every meeting/message you send.

You can often tell by someone’s deminer, questions, style etc. if they are energised or deflated, the non-verbal language will speak volumes.

Solution

Give yourself a break, don’t expect too much too quick when this is not something you usually do. Take pride in your work, learn where improvements are needed and focus on your own journey.

Mistakes are just that, miss takes. You can go again, you can apply to another company, you can have another CV and you can find another opening. Don’t let these mistakes stop you from doing great things in your career. Share with anyone you feel might be interested and let’s collectively bring simplicity to the chaos of recruitment.

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Eden Whitcomb

Bringing simplicity to the chaos of recruitment, one educational post at a time.