Looking for jobs can be a tough process. Even the most efficient job seeker is bound to make a little mistake here and there, yet there are some major mistakes that may end up really costing you. With the right strategy, looking for a job doesn’t have to feel like being trapped in a minefield. It’s important to apply for jobs in a thoughtful and organised manner, yet in a way that makes you stand out. Below, we reveal the top common job seeker mistakes and how to avoid them.
Applying for every job you see
It’s crucial that you have a focus in your job search. Avoid the temptation to apply for every job you come across. If you have multiple applications for all kinds of companies, you’ll struggle to find the time to research all of them in detail. Consider if you think your next move will be in a larger established company or if you are open to working for a small to medium-sized firm. Nothing puts an employer off more than you not knowing anything about the business, or what the role entails and what is expected of you. Keeping track of so many job applications is an impossible task. Be selective and only apply for jobs that really interest you.
Using the same CV for every application
It may seem like a time-saver to apply for every job with the same CV. This is actually a major error. Your CV should be fine-tuned and tailored towards the specific vacancy. Think about the person who’s going to read your CV. When the employer sees a generic CV that has clearly been used repeatedly, it’s already half way to the bin. You’re marketing yourself, so you should customise the CV with relevant content. You don’t have to make drastic changes every time you apply for a job. Just determine which skills are most important to the employer based on the required skills in the job specification, prioritise and highlight them, removing irrelevant information.
Targeting unrealistic roles
Job seekers, particularly recent graduates often make the mistake of expecting to be able start at the top. It’s good to be ambitious, but you have to apply for jobs that you are suited and qualified for. If you spend your whole time looking for jobs you’re not qualified for, you’ll be lucky to get an interview. Employers don’t want to take risks with candidates who lack the basic skills and experience for the role. In short, be realistic and apply for roles where you stand a good chance of getting an interview.
Relying too heavily on job boards
Never take a reactive job seeking approach. This means simply responding to jobs you see advertised. Job boards are great for discovering various listings, but completely relying on them is not an effective way to land a job. You need to have a proactive search approach and put yourself in the driver’s seat. Why not build a personal brand so jobs come to you, not the other way around? You can do this by connecting with companies that interest you on Twitter and LinkedIn, going to events and seminars and contacting specialist industry recruiters. You could even start up a blog so you have something to show-off to employers. Contact hiring managers either by email or directly by phone. Be persistent and be proactive.
Making your cover letter all about you
In the age of email cover letters have died out but including one at the start of your CV can make you stand out. A cover letter should be about what you can do for the company. Don’t make your cover letter all about you, but instead talk about what you can offer them. The cover letter is all about selling yourself in a way that tells the employer that you can bring value to the company. Avoid bland, generic statements about yourself. Consider the job description and write about how each point relates to your skills and experience. It shouldn’t be too long, certainly no more than a page.
Signing up to job boards’ ‘auto apply’ functions
You should always apply to jobs individually. Some job boards offer an auto apply function which allows you to send a bunch of CVs to multiple jobs that match your interests. If you use this approach, you’re missing out on the chance to craft a unique application that really stands out. You may not have the time to apply to every single job individually, but that’s why you must be selective. Only apply for the jobs that really appeal to you. They also sometimes get it wrong. For example, “project manager” could mean so many different things to different people.
Only using high street recruiters
Although using high street recruiters can be helpful, purely relying on them is a mistake. High street agencies mainly support general and varying levels of skill-based jobs. You will find much more value in using specialist recruitment consultancies. If you ask a recruiter about whether you are paid enough for your level of skills and experience, their answer should soon tell you whether you are talking to a true expert or not. Cobalt specialises in the construction, property, engineering and financial sectors, we can give you expert advice in these areas.
It’s very easy for any job seeker to make these mistakes. By adapting your job search strategy, you can avoid these major pitfalls, your job hunt will be much more proactive and effective. Rectifying these mistakes will produce better, positive results in your job search in no time.
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