The job market is extremely competitive nowadays, and, as women, we are fighting an uphill battle often times with acquiring leadership roles we deserve. Removing gender from the equation, most job seekers, in general, hit many roadblocks during a job search and feel as though they have to settle for the sake of having “something”. According to a study completed by Ranstad in October of 2018, the modern-day job seeker takes five months, on average, to finally land a position. In addition, the same survey revealed 38 percent of respondents say they applied for a job without reading the job description.
With many job seekers feeling urgency to secure a new/different job, one thing this survey shows is that time is of the essence, and a significant amount of job seekers are wasting time applying for roles without reading the job description. In my years of working with hiring managers and helping job seekers secure employment, there are common mistakes and misconceptions that further delays a job search.
Before you start your next job search, consider learning from these top four mistakes made by many other job seekers.
- Unorganized Job Search
Often when I work with job seekers and ask how do they keep track of the jobs they’ve applied to, over 90 percent admit they do not formally keep up with their completed applications. Many rely on email records that confirm the submission of an application if they need to reference the job opening. This usually results in little to no follow up because the job seeker does not have a system that will allow for them to adequately follow up. An effective way to organize your job search is to keep a chart or document that shows the job title, company, date you applied, contact information for someone with decision making power, and any special notes. You can click here to download my free Job Search Organizer.
- Lack of Strategy
The job market is saturated with job seekers. For every one job posted, there is over a hundred applicants on average. It’s important to do more than apply for jobs on third party sites like Indeed or Career Builder. Create a list of companies you’d like to work for and reach out to department heads or human resource managers to express your interest in working for the company. Even if there isn’t an available opening, you can request they keep you in mind when something becomes available. Also, instead of only searching for title variations of the job you desire, include keyword searches. There’s a good chance you’ll find a role with an unfamiliar title that matches the work you’re wanting to do. Lastly, apply for roles you match up with by at least 90 percent to improve your chances of being a top candidate. This means you’ll need to read the job description in order to assess if it is worth your time to apply. You can certainly step out on faith for roles that really resonate with you even if you’re not quite a 90 percent match. But for the most part, I tell my clients to save themselves unnecessary stress and frustration by using the 90 percent match rule as the benchmark for determining if they’ll apply.
- Fear of Networking
Networking is by far one of the most effective job search strategies. People remember how you made them feel which is more effectively achieved when you engage with an individual. Online networking, specifically on LinkedIn, is underused even though 60 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as their top source for finding candidates for vacant roles. On LinkedIn, you can connect directly with a hiring manager or someone of influence at the company you’re interested in working for, and message them to do an informal information call to learn more about their career journey to help you with yours. Now you have an opportunity to make a connection with someone that can possibly get you in the door or connect you to someone at another company.
- Lazy Efforts
Nothing is worse than sending an email with your resume attached just to realize your resume has spelling errors or your email has typos. Small errors like that makes it seem you didn’t care enough to proofread. On the same note, some job seekers don’t even make the effort to follow up after applying for a job which is a big mistake. You increase your chances of an interview and of shortening the timeline for the hiring process by following up.
Ultimately what each of these mistakes allude to is the fact that job seekers need to step out of their comfort zone. There’s too much competition in the job market to do what everyone else is doing. This means a little more work on the jobseeker, but it can also mean securing employment in a reasonable time frame (keeping in mind the average hiring cycle takes at least 84 days in the most optimal circumstances). If you want more information about job search strategies, tips for taking the entrepreneurial leap, and overall career development follow me on LinkedIn: DeAnnah Stinson Reese, and Instagram: @jobsearchjedi.
To request service or to check out products I have to help jobseekers, visit my website: www.stinsonreese.com.