Updated: Jun 16
You're on the hunt for a new job. What’s the first thing you do?
For most, it would be to hop online and see what relevant jobs are advertised and click ‘Apply’ on a few of them. For others it would be to let there trusted recruiter know that they’re looking for a move and to wait to see what comes back. If this is you, congratulations. You’re normal.
However, normal isn’t always good. In fact, in a competitive environment – and there are few more competitive than the job market – doing things in the ‘normal way’ puts you at a significant disadvantage.
Here are 5 mistakes that normal job seekers make. Try not to make them too…
They put way too much focus on job boards and career pages
Job boards, whether aggregators or company career sites are digital traffic management tools and marketing space.
At best they can tell you who in your area may be hiring and the kind of skills they look for. This is of course good information for your search.
But at worst, they can suck up all of your time and energy and leave you completely depressed in your job search.
If you are spending hours per day sitting in front of the computer applying to job ads, you are wasting a huge amount of time. Limit the time you spend on these sites and set up notifications for relevant jobs so they can come to you and you can focus on more productive job search activities.
They take no time to brand and market themselves
Ok, so let’s say you apply to a ton of jobs on a job board one of the employers or recruiters is quite interested in finding out more about you. What do you think they will do?
Before they pick up the phone or send you a message they will almost certainly check you out online. So they hop onto LinkedIn and find your profile was last updated 3 years ago, you have 32 connections, no recommendations and a profile picture of you clearly cropped out of a group picture taken late on at your mates wedding. They shrug and move on to reviewing the next applicant. You failed to maintain their positive attention.
Before you send out applications, be aware of your online presence and put your best foot forward. Time well spent!
They don’t tap into their network
It’s estimated that, on average, we’ll each meet around 80,000 people in our lives. Since we spend about a third of our life at work, it seem reasonable to assume we’ll meet a large number of these people at or through our jobs.
Most people when looking for a new job underestimate the number of people they have encountered in there careers, either as colleagues, customers or suppliers. They tend to focus on the people they consider to be friends. That’s if they think about their network at all.
A network is not a list of your friends. Think about all the people you’ve worked with in the past. Where are they now? Could any of them possibly be of help in your search? Explore your network. You’ll be amazed by the opportunities that emerge.
They let other people drive the process
If you’re just posting on job boards, you have no control over your job search. Likewise, if you’re just waiting on your recruiter sending you the ‘perfect job’.
Take control of the direction and momentum of your search. Work to develop an Internal Locus of Control. If you’re working with a recruiter, get regular updates. If you’re applying to jobs, follow up your applications. If you’ve polished up your LinkedIn profile, go and connect with relevant people.
You have to affect the change that you want in your life.
They don’t know their own value
If you don’t know your value, you can’t sell your strengths. I’m not talking about the money you earn (though knowing your ‘market value’ is clearly important too), I’m taking about the value you bring to employers.
Most people apply for jobs and highlight the things they’ve done and the skills they’ve learned. Great. At best, assuming you’ve applied to a relevant job, you are now in a category of people who have those skills and experiences.
What does this tell an employer about YOU? Think about those skills and experiences in terms of why they are important. What they have quantifiably achieved. Knowing why you are a valuable employee is infinitely more useful in your search than knowing where you’ve been and what you’ve done. I’m sorry to say, but no body cares too much about that.