If you’re feeling frustrated in your job search, it’s easy to blame it on the poor job market or the fact that employers are inundated with resumes. But if you really take a look at how you’re job searching, you might realize you can make certain changes to yield better results.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
1. You’re job searching not company searching
Do you find yourself typing in your ideal position into job boards and aggregators, only to discover you’re not really finding the listings you’d like? Searching for a position, such as Sales Manager, instead of targeting specific companies, can make for an unfocused job search—and you’ll waste a lot of time looking at jobs you’re not interested in.
What to do instead: Do your research to discover the places you’d really like to work. Then, target five to ten ideal companies and focus your job search efforts on those organizations.
2. Neglecting your online presence
Maybe you have a Facebook profile that’s public, which lets employers see your unprofessional Wall posts and photo albums. It could be that your Google presence is nonexistent, making employers wonder why they can’t find information about you online. Whatever the case, you need to be aware that employers are looking at your online presence—and you need to take charge of it yourself.
What to do instead: Set up a professional portfolio, website, Twitter, or Google profile, anything you’ll use for promoting yourself professionally. Then look at what might negatively affect your job search and try to remove it.
3. Applying for jobs you’re not qualified for
While you should work toward attaining your dream job, that dream also needs to be realistic in terms of skills, qualifications, and experience. You’re wasting your time if you don’t meet the minimum qualifications for the job opening.
What to do instead: Look for jobs where you meet the minimum qualifications. Or, if you’re set on a specific type of position that you’re unqualified for, consider additional education or skills training to meet those requirements.
4. Acting beaten down or depressed
No one will argue with you that a job search is tough stuff. It’s stressful, time-consuming and energy draining. But it’s a Catch-22: If you start acting negative or beaten down, you’ll probably start to see less results, and you might not land a job for several more months. A positive attitude can be the key to standing out in the screening and hiring process.
What to do instead: Find a source of support to vent your job-search frustrations and get advice. Talk with a friend or family member, join an online group, chat or community, or enlist a career coach. You might also consider taking up a hobby you enjoy or exercising to keep your motivation up.
5. You’re prepared to take any job at this point
No one likes desperation—especially hiring managers. Failing to have a focused, specific job-search strategy can actually hurt your chances of landing a new job. It also confuses your personal and professional network, and those folks are often the key to learning about unadvertised job openings and receiving referrals.
What to do instead: Be specific in your job hunt. Take some time to research positions you’d enjoy working in and organizations that fit with your values and interests. By being specific, you can more easily build your personal brand and leverage your existing network.