The notion of a job being for life, which was the goal of both my parents and grandparent’s generation, has become obsolete and no longer exists today. With opportunity more freely available, companies going to “war for talent,” and the movement of labor, today, across all age groups, the average tenure of a worker is 4.6 years. Which also means that each worker will change jobs roughly five to seven times over the course of their career.
While searching for a job is extremely active during unemployment, it can also be a passive activity for the currently employed. Regardless of employment status though, many jobseekers repeatedly make the same mistakes when searching for their next opportunity. The following are the top five.
Thinking Resumes Are One Size Fits All:
Many jobseekers only have one or two iterations of their resume. The simplest way to decide if this is the right move, is to ask yourself: How many times have you seen an identical job description? Exactly.
There are two ways in which this will negatively impact your job search. First of all, artificial intelligence is only looking for the best matching resume to the job description in order to shortlist the most relevant applicants. Secondly, if a human does happen to look at your resume, the most experienced recruiters will spend no more than seven seconds on it before moving on to the next applicant if they cannot immediately find relevant experience. Therefore, in order to maximize your chances, you want to highlight as much relevant experience as you have to the job at hand as possible.
Old School Resumes:
We have all done it: written resumes in the structure and fashion that our career advisors in college taught us was correct. The problem is that AI reads resumes differently than humans do, so that way of writing resumes is no longer necessarily the correct or most effective way to write them. For example, writing 20 years’ worth of experience is not only not needed, but if you include too much past experience, the AI will deem you to be more junior and less experienced than you actually are. Also, if you are applying for a job in a new field or a more senior position than your current role, even as a natural progression in your career, you must include aspirational language in your resume. This allows the AI to see the relevance in your experience.
Not Keeping Track of Applications:
No matter if you are browsing leisurely or searching desperately for a new job, one thing that should be commonplace is keeping track of what jobs you applied for—both the when and the where. All too often, jobseekers serially apply, uploading their resume as frequently as possible in the hopes of hearing back from the recruiter or hiring manager. The problem with this is, if the where and the when are not tracked, it can result in low quality exchanges between you and a potential employer. You need to make the best possible impression at every step of the hiring process and having a clear vision of what you have applied for and why will help you be ready when that call comes from the potential hirer.
Not Doing Research Before Applying:
It is unbelievable the number of candidates I have personally interviewed over the years that arrived at the first interview without any real knowledge of the company. This is so important since it shows that you have a real interest in working for that company and an understanding of where and how you would fit in the organization with the value you would be bringing.
Perhaps even more importantly, if you haven’t researched the company, how do you know that it is one that you would want to even work for? What does the market say about it on review sites? Your time and energy are valuable too and you don’t want to find out shortly after being hired that you do not fit in well with the company’s core values or that their way of operating isn’t what you expected.
Do plenty of research for yourself so you can make an informed decision that this is a company you want to work at—before even applying. Then, research information about the business that will be advantageous to bring up in the interview. Has the business publicly achieved something? What are its values and how do they relate to you? Research the management team and learn more about why you believe you are a good fit and asset to their company.
Leaving the Job Market:
You should never consider yourself off the market, no matter how happy or settled you are in your current role. This is the biggest mistake people make when they believe they have found the job they were looking for. Of course, it’s fantastic that you feel settled and content in your role, but it is important to keep an eye on the market and know your worth. Every day, you sacrifice your leisure time and moments spent with loved ones in order to fund your life. That time is extremely valuable and the wisest way to maximize your return is to watch the market.
So even when you land the job you were hoping to get, you should still keep yourself registered on all the job sites and applications that keep you informed about your market worth. You do not need to look at this as looking to leave or find a new job, but just to know whether the compensation package you currently have is market rate. This data can also be used as a bargaining chip when it comes to performance and personal reviews later.
The Bottom Line:
If you are careful not to make the above five mistakes, I can assure not only increased chances of landing a better job, but also an increase in earning potential throughout your career. Job searching can be mundane or stressful depending on the circumstances, but regardless of the situation, it is a time for having a strategic minded head on your shoulders and ensuring you are positioned for the most successful possible outcome.
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