It’s easy to lose hope when every job application you make is met with radio silence. The good news (and yes,there is good news) is that when this happens, the problem is usually down to a couple of small, but crucial, job search mistakes you may be making. If you have no clue where you’re going wrong, read on. We’ve put together a list of six common ways you may be sabotaging your job search.
Submitting your application just before the weekend
If you have a habit of applying for jobs on a Friday night or on the weekend, this is a major job search mistake that is minimising the chances of your application being seen. That’s simply because three days will have passed by the time the recruiter or hiring manager looks at his or her inbox. By then, your email may well be at the bottom of a huge pile of emails.
If you want to make sure your application is seen, always send it during working hours on a weekday.
Applying by methods other than those suggested
You may feel like you’re taking initiative by sending your CV directly to the CEO or by messaging the hiring person via LinkedIn, but your actions will not always be viewed favourably. Some companies and HR teams get annoyed by people who don’t follow rules. Not only are you creating more work for them, you are also showing that (as a rule breaker) you may be hard to manage as an employee.
The take-home message is that if a job advert says that you should apply by emailing a specific person or by using a particular application portal, do not treat this as a suggestion – do exactly as you have been asked.
Not following the full application requirements
A big complaint we hear from HR professionals is that people often apply for jobs without following the full application requirements.
Omitting a cover letter (because your CV says it all… right?), failing to attach a portfolio or links to past work even though this has been expressly requested in the job advert, and not including a LinkedIn URL as requested are top turn-offs.
If you’re guilty of doing this, but you only do so because you legitimately don’t have access to the things requested, there’s only one thing you need to do: go and get that thing before you apply for the job.
Did the employer ask for your LinkedIn URL but you’re not on LinkedIn? Then join LinkedIn.
Did the job advert request a CV and cover letter, but you think your CV is VERY comprehensive? Write a cover letter anyway.
Doing these things may take a little more time, but it’s better to sacrifice that time and maximise your chances of getting an interview than it is to apply and have your application thrown out.
On occasion, it may be impossible to supply everything requested in the job advert (e.g. you won’t have past examples of work if you’re applying for a job in a field you’ve never worked in). If this is the case, it’s always worth getting in touch with the employer prior to sending in your application. This is the only way to know that your application will still be considered.
Applying for jobs without any relevant skills or experience
Here at The Ambition Plan, we’re big fans of aiming high, but we also believe that you need to be somewhat realistic. While you don’t need to satisfy every single criterion listed for a job, it’s crucial that you approach your job search with an awareness of your limitations… if you are to be taken seriously.
Does the job require an essential practical skill that you just don’t have? Then that is going to be a deal breaker, no matter how hard working or enthusiastic you are.
Do you have absolutely none of the skills requested? Do you have zero experience in the role and it’s higher than entry level? Again, this makes it highly unlikely that your application will be seriously considered.
If you are a career changer with no experience, check with the hiring manager that they will consider you based on your potential and on your transferable skills.
Not applying for jobs on a regular basis
Getting a job can often be a numbers game, especially for a career changer who is trying to break into a new field. The truth is that everyone will not be willing to take a chance on you. Why? Because many companies want new employees who can hit the ground running.
This is why it’s so important to increase your chances of success by applying for as many jobs as possible. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should apply for every single job out there, but you will need to get familiar with all the job boards and companies that are likely to have the type of jobs you want and then check them on a daily basis.
Failing to tailor your CV to every job you apply for
Most people take care to write a cover letter that is tailored to the specific job they are applying for; however, few do the same for their CVs.
This is a big job search mistake!
Unless you’re applying for identical jobs, it’s important to adjust your CV to emphasise the skills and experiences you have that are specific to every job you apply for.
Again, this is something that requires a little more effort from you, but it’s worth doing. because it increases your chances of being fairly considered for a job.
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