Top 10 mistakes job seekers make
- May 09, 2017
- By Ruairi Spillane
There are many simple mistakes job seekers make, which can be easily avoided. Outpost Recruitment founder, Ruairi Spillane, explains how.
Over five years of working in recruitment, Outpost has gathered lots of anecdotal evidence on what works and what doesn’t when searching for a job. Do you have to use a recruiter? Absolutely not! But while most candidates may be excellent in their specific area of construction, many lack expertise in defining their strengths, managing their job search and their ability to communicate to employers.
1. A weak resume
If you cannot demonstrate your value on paper, then how can you communicate it to an employer in person? I wish I could stress this point enough as failing to put your best foot forward will delay your career progression. Outpost’s core competence in terms of consulting is to help a candidate discover their strengths and communicate them on paper.
2. Applying online
Applying online is a waste of time, there is always a better way! If you are a job hunter, you need to realize that you can network your way to find a useful contact with almost any company you wish. Use a recommended recruiter or LinkedIn to get to the decision maker instead of your resume being one of 200 on a pile. Seek to differentiate yourself!
See online job postings as the tip of the iceberg. Not all open opportunities get posted. You are missing a trick if you relying on the front door along with the crowds. Companies post roles when they can’t find good people via internal means. Being first is everything in your job search so network a better way.
3. Spray and pray
Be selective in where you send your resume. Document each application on a spreadsheet and control where you resume goes i.e. ask your recruiter to seek permission before presenting your resume. Canadian markets are pretty small, so employers talk. Focus on quality not quantity when making job applications. Believing that job hunting is a numbers game creates the wrong set of behaviours as you dismiss negative results or lack of results.
4. Misguided expectations
Nobody knows it all. It never hurts to chat to an industry peer to ensure your expectations are in check. Communicate your plans and ask a colleague, industry contact or a recruiter for their candid advice. Ensure you audit your job search tools (resume, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and your role and salary expectations before you start.
5. General job applications
While being a potential jack-of-all-trades is attractive when you are a junior / graduate keen to make a breakthrough, being undecided on your best role or potentially desperate is not. General job applications are a giveaway sign that you have not performed your research or you are not confident in your skillset. Be specific about what you feel you best role is and target this. Leave it to an employer to ask if you are flexible.
6. One resume fits all – Wrong!
Failing to adapt your resume to different regions, different industries and job titles is one of the most critical mistakes job seekers make. Do you want to look like a lazy job hunter or do you want your future employer to feel that you have taken the time to understand the region, industry and job title that you are targeting? Always adapt your resume every time you send it, so it meets the expectations of the specific job posting you’re applying to.
7. Punching too far above your weight
By all means, be daring and ambitious but also be realistic in terms of applying for jobs you are not qualified to do. Be aware of the difference between being ambitious and grossly under qualified for a role. Applying for roles beyond your skill set and experience will not help morale and the trade off is to spend more time applying for roles that you are qualified for.
8. Not following up!
“I sent him / her an email and he never responded” – Classic job hunters excuse when given a lead for help. Someone has created an obstacle in my path! Understand that your job search is your priority. Take responsibility for the outcome. Ensure you have a way to follow up and get it done. Seek to get a Yes/No from each employer instead of embracing the unknown.
9. Ignoring help/advice
Take all advice on board and seek to understand where it is coming from. Your attitude to critical feedback has a huge determination on the success of your job search and your overall career. Seek feedback and ways to improve your process.
10. Immigration bubble
If a job is posted within Canada and does not welcome international applicants , then it’s fair to assume your chances of success as an applicant without a valid work permit are limited. Ensure you focus your time and energy of researching how to gain a work permit first instead of looking for the needle in the haystack role that can sponsor you. Become your own immigration expert and then you will impress a future employer.
Find out more
You now know how to avoid the most common mistakes job seekers make. Continue reading our series of blogs, to help you prepare for your career in Canada. Explore our articles now.