Once my clients get through the process of self-exploration, block busting, and researching their options, it's time to start looking for a job they will love. Here are some of the most common tendencies I've noticed that need correcting.
1. Looking for a job the same way you look at a menu.
Most people will check what's available online before figuring out what they want, in the hopes of finding something that will tell them what they want. This is backwards. When you're really young and don't have a great sense of where you want your career to go, this could be okay. But when you're mid-career it's time to take stock of what you really want, what lights you up, what kind of people you want to be around, and what sides of yourself you want to be able to express at work. It's okay to do a little soul searching in order to figure out your next move, versus taking whatever is available.
2. Not tailoring the resume to each position.
This one surprises me, but a lot of people still submit the same resume to each job, even though the key words in the postings are different. You have to include key words from each posting in your resume and cover letter in order to be found by resume scanning software. You also need to be a clear choice when a human looks at your resume, and putting buzz words from that company and/or that job opening will help you look like you fit the role.
3. Not having anyone proofread the resume.
I have yet to see a resume with no mistakes, even if the mistake is simply being too wordy, or not giving yourself enough credit for your accomplishments. Seriously, you've got to have fresh (type A, anal) eyes take a look at it. Things like inconsistent tense (writing some bullets in past tense and some in present), an ill-placed comma that makes your grammar sound weird, and spelling errors don't make you look good. Yes, you've looked it over 14 times. No, you didn't see that you spelled teacher 'taecher'. You're human, it happens.
4. Writing cover letters that describe why you want the job, instead of what you can do for the company.
It's not about you, in their eyes. Your resume's objective and cover letter should be about what you can offer the employer and why (prove it!), rather than why this is a good fit for you/your family/your schedule.
5. Not doing research to see if the place you are interviewing is somewhere you really want to work.
This one is particularly heartbreaking, because if you get the job and then hate it, all that work will have been for nothing, and you'll be back job hunting again. By doing informational interviews, stopping by a place to feel out its energy, and taking a look at what the company has been doing online, you can get a feel for how it will be to work there.
6. Not practicing the answers to common interview questions.
Do you know the answer to “Tell us about yourself”? No one does. It's important to take some time to not only think of what to say for common questions, but also to hear yourself say your answers out loud. That way you can self-correct before you're in front of the people who decide if you get the job or not. What's your greatest weakness? Tell us about a time you had a difficult co-worker. What are your salary expectations ? Why should we hire you? Think about it.
7. Not applying to something you want because you assume you aren't qualified.
This one kills me! I can't tell you how many times in previous jobs that I ended up hiring someone who didn't have all the skills I was looking for. You simply don't find the unicorn every time. Usually when hiring managers are crafting job postings, they put everything they want, kind of like a dream candidate. They don't necessarily all think they're going to find that person. Even when you don't have all of the 'required' skills or experience, if you really want the job and meet many of the requirements, go for it anyway. You simply never know.
8. Turning networking into a big stressful event, instead of a chance to be curious about what one person does for 10-15 minutes.
If you're on Linkedin you have many connections- why not reach out to one of them to ask if you can have a short phone call to learn about their company or field? A targeted approach that's one person at a time where you can focus and not worry about a public speaking situation is easier for most people. Take the time to find the right couple of people who can actually give you more information about a career or company of interest versus blocking out entire evenings for networking events. You'll save time, gas, and the hassle of having to talk to any and everyone who shows up. If you're not on Linkedin or it's not useful for your industry, you can contact employees of a company of interest directly with a kind, short message explaining that you'd love to learn a little about what they do. Many people are flattered or will pass you on to someone even better.
There are so many ways to go about a job hunt. Why make it harder than necessary? If you have any favorite job hunting techniques I'd love to hear them.
Life Purpose and Career Coach
Career Clarity Now