Actively looking for jobs can be a tedious and draining process. After sending off what feels like the 50th resume or going to the 4th consecutive interview it can start to feel like you’re on a hamster wheel. You feel like you are doing all the things you are supposed to; organising strong references, preparing for your interviews, diversifying and building your skillset and yet, the job offers aren't flooding your inbox. For those starting to feel stuck or disheartened in their search, we’ve listed a few traits below, which might be hindering progress within your job search. These are small traits you might have previously overlooked or hadn’t even considered, however, when there are a number of strong candidates applying for a role, the final decision can come down to those smaller details.
Looking into and applying some of the tips and tricks below could help you to gain more traction within your job search, stand out against fellow candidates and progress within your career:
Presenting As A Generalist Rather Than A Specialist
While it’s always an asset if you possess a diverse range of skills and knowledge, this can sometimes present as “a jack of all trades, master of none”. Essentially, when trying to list all the skills and experiences you have acquired during your career, you might come across as a generalist, rather than a specialist. While a multitude of skills can demonstrate you’re versatile and adept at many different things, organisations are often looking for a candidate to accomplish a key set of responsibilities – especially if they are advertising for a short-term contract role or the role in question is very specific or niche. These organisations will be looking for someone who can jump into a specific project or team efficiently and perform their dedicated task.
Consequently, the goal when going into any job interview or preparing any resume is to focus on the skills and experience relevant to the role and showcasing how these specific experiences have prepared you to achieve the job’s objectives. For example, if you’re applying for a CRM Specialist role or a Project Manager role, you should be trying to showcase your knowledge and experience around segmentation tools or project cashflow and forecasting first and foremost. Mentioning that you’re also a skilled illustrator or speak another language – while potentially true – won’t be the priority for the prospective employer.
Furthermore, recruiters or HR teams are usually time poor and inundated with resumes when advertising a position. If it is not easy to determine that you meet the requirements for a job because they have to filter through non-relevant information, you might be overlooked or won’t stick in their minds as a prospective candidate.
Expressing Desire For Any Job, Not Necessarily The Job At Hand
During a job interview, the interviewer will usually ask a question along the lines of ‘Why are you looking for a new role?’ or ‘What made you apply for this role?’ Candidates – especially those who have been actively looking for a new role – can focus on themselves rather than the potential job they are being interviewed for. While you might have a strong desire to get out of the current situation you’re in and any job will do, you must always ensure this isn’t conveyed to a potential employer. You can’t assume that because you’re at the interview, it’s assumed you want the job. Instead, you need to express your specific interest in the role and why it stood out to you. Perhaps you feel you align with the organisation’s values or are interested in the innovative technology they use.
Again, demonstrating how well your experiences and knowledge align with the specific job and greater organisation rather than discussing the general qualities that make you a good employee is going to resonate more with a prospective employer.
Asking Too Many People For Advice
Generally, seeking advice is a positive trait. Asking for help is one of the most effective ways to learn and develop your career. However, if you’re seeking advice from too many different sources, you can find yourself more confused or unsure about your job search than when you started! This is especially the case if you’ve received quite a few differing opinions, which is likely when you’re reaching out to everyone you can think of for job advice or trying to search for every job interview question that could come up. You’ll be inundated with information, which will then leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused on whose advice to follow.
An easier strategy is to identify the types of roles and particular industries you’d like to work in first. Being able to outline the key characteristics or traits you’re wanting from your next job, will give you a better idea on who would be best to ask for advice or insight into the job market. For example, a civil engineer might decide they want to focus on roles within stormwater design. By deciding this, they can then identify the people that will have the most relevant intel and consequently the best people to ask for advice, are fellow engineers working in this field, or even a recruiter that works within the specific industry. Narrowing your information pool to the relevant resources and individuals within your network will allow you to focus on the advice and support that will be most effective in helping your job search.
While job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience, organisations will be looking for candidates that come across as confident in their abilities. No one’s going to hire someone that doesn’t appear to believe in themselves and their ability to perform the role. However, confidence can be projected in a number of ways, particularly non-verbally. Things like averting your eyes, slouching, talking in a low voice or fidgeting can be interpreted as lacking confidence and can impact an interviewer’s overall impression of you.
Consequently, before any interview it’s important to not only focus on your answers but your body language and how you present yourself. By doing practice interviews, especially when you record yourself, you can easily become aware of any non-verbal cues that could be negatively impacting the confident impression you’re trying to convey. You can then make a conscious effort to correct these in your practice sessions so that by the main event you come across as confident and capable and make a lasting positive impression on the interviewer.
The hiring process is competitive and sometimes when an employer is faced with a number of strong candidates smaller details that might normally be overlooked, loom large. If you’re finding it difficult to cut through the traffic in your job search or secure a second interview, going through the above points could help to improve your future eligibility.
It’s also important not to become too disheartened during your search and remain positive. Although this is easier said than done, it’s important to remember that not receiving a job offer isn’t a personal reflection of you or your worth.
Public Sector People specialise in helping candidates with their job search and know what clients are looking for when hiring. If you’re wanting to seek advice on how to ‘cut through’ within the current job market, or looking for help in finding and securing new opportunities, reach out to our team of consultants at: firstname.lastname@example.org