I talk with job seekers often, and usually they are frustrated – having a hard time making progress in their job search. The main problem I see is that job seekers are job hunting using the old methods that worked for their last job search.
Technology has changed many other things in our lives the last few years (used a pay phone or a fold-out map recently?). Isn’t it logical that the process for finding a job has also changed?
3 Bad Assumptions About Job Hunting Today
Your job search will be longer if you are making any of these 3 assumptions:
1. The Internet has made finding a job much easier.
No. It hasn’t. The Internet has actually made job search more challenging, particularly in the last few years with the emergence and widespread use of search engines and social media.
Employers have changed their methods of recruiting with the increase in the numbers of job seekers plus the availability of new technology to handle that volume. Not ALL employers have changed, to be sure, but the majority of large employers are doing things differently. Ignoring those changes makes a job search more difficult.
Job seekers make assumptions about many aspects of their job search that may be wrong (for example, last week’s bad assumptions about job interviews). And making wrong assumptions can mean a longer job search.
Bad Assumptions About Your Resume
Even a fabulous resume won’t land you a job, but a poorly done resume will cost you opportunities.
These are the three worst assumptions I see job seekers making about their resumes, and what you may be able to do instead.
1. Your resume will be seen.
These days many employers use software, known as applicant tracking systems (ATS), to store resumes and job applications. Then, to find the resumes of qualified applicants, recruiters search through the ATS, using keywords appropriate to the job they are filling.
Consequently, if your resume does not contain the keywords used by the person doing the search, it won’t be found or seen. This is why having only one version of your resume handicaps your job search because it may not contain the keywords appropriate for the job you are seeking.
How to overcome -
Analyze the job posting or job description to see the keywords that are used, particularly in the requirements. For example:
Assume that the job description requires “familiarity with office computer software, specifically Word and Excel.” (Keywords bolded.)
Let’s also assume you are very comfortable using Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the main components of Microsoft Office, so your resume mentions only Microsoft Office. Then, your resume would not be found in a search for Word and Excel.
The best approach would be to cover all the options, like this “Skilled in the use of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)…” (Required keywords bolded.)
This also ensures that your resume will be included in searches on “Microsoft Office” and any of the components.
Although all of these statements below will hopefully not be true, depending on the employer and the interviewer, go into the interview expecting that they will apply. Don’t be discouraged by that! Expect these situations to arise and, knowing they might happen, you can be prepared.
Bad Assumptions About Job Interviews
As important as a job interview opportunity is for you, often for the person on the other side of the table interviewing job candidates are interruptions in their day, keeping them from getting their “real” jobs done.
1. The interviewer knows how to interview.
Unfortunately, most often, the people doing the interviewing are not professional interviewers. Interviewing usually comes under the heading of “additional duties as required” – something done only when unavoidable.
How to diagnose: If they spend more time talking about themselves, their job, or the company rather than asking you questions relevant to the job, they don’t know how to conduct an interview.
How to respond: If you let them jabber on uninterrupted, it will be a low stress interview for you, but it probably won’t be a successful one. Without talking with you, they won’t have a sense of your qualifications and your ability to do the job (although they may think you are very agreeable). [Read More...]
In this very competitive job market, job seekers need to stay focused and bring their “A Game” to every opportunity they pursue. If you are in spray-and-pray job application mode, applying for every job you see, you are bringing your “C Game” to each opportunity.
Disconnect from that apply-apply-apply instinct because a job search is not a numbers game.
Before You Apply for a Job
Conserve your “A Game” energy and efforts for jobs that are a good fit for you. Carefully read the job description, and then, ask yourself these 4 questions:
1. Do I want this job?
Yes, a paycheck is VERY important! But, earning that paycheck will mean doing that job. So before you chase and, perhaps, land the wrong job, read the “duties” or “responsibilities” section of the job description very carefully.
Maybe you’ve done this work before, earlier in your career, and, sure, you could do it, but you don’t really want to. Perhaps, the job sounds OK, but the location is a long, expensive commute.
Because there are so many different questions that can be asked in a job interview, it is helpful to have some general guidelines to help you answer any job interview question. Generalizations can be dangerous, but to play any “game” effectively, understanding the “rules” of the game is critical to your success.
These 12 guidelines should give you a good basis for effectively answering interview questions.
Job Interview DO’s:
1.) Listen very carefully.
In your actions during a job interview, you are demonstrating your quality as an employee. Show that you will understand what you are asked to do, if hired.
2.) Answer the question that was asked.
Repeat it back, if you want to be sure. After you have answered the question asked, you can carefully add more information to put your “spin” on the question, following the rest of the guidelines. However, this is not the time to be a politician and answer the question you wish they had asked. [Read More...]
Effective job search strategies began changing in the mid-1990’s with the appearance of the Internet. In the last few years, the widespread use of search engines and the growth of social media have changed recruiting in ways that are transparent to most job seekers. Not understanding those technological changes makes job hunting more challenging (and discouraging).
What Has Changed About Effective Job Search?
Recently, employers have turned to technology to help them manage the increasingly large numbers of applications and resumes they receive, often exceeding several hundred responses for each job posting. That volume of resumes, combined with the more widespread use of search engines and social media, has created technology “traps” that job seekers need to understand in order to avoid them.
New Technology Used by Employers.
Employers are using technology in ways that are transparent to job seekers:
Social media provides “social proof” Employers compare the resumes and applications submitted by job seekers with what social media shows them. Do the dates, employers, job titles, education, etc, agree with the application or not? Applicants who lack online validation of the “facts” on their resumes have a handicap. This is why LinkedIn can be a job seeker’s best friend.
Search engines provide fast/cheap “background checks” A 2010 study by Microsoft revealed that more than 80% of employers used search engines to discover information about job applicants. Beyond “social proof” of the resume or application, this research is a quick and cheap version of a background check. Searching through social media can help a job seeker by impressing the employer with positive information about activities and accomplishments. Or it can hurt the job seeker by uncovering potential problems and bad behavior.
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) manage resumes Resumes submitted to many employers, particularly large employers, are often stored in a database known as an applicant tracking system. Use of an ATS makes the keywords used in resumes even more important than in the past. A resume which doesn’t contain the “correct” keywords (those the recruiter is using to search through the ATS for qualified applicants) will not be displayed to the recruiter by the ATS. Consequently, without the appropriate keywords in your resume, your resume will not be seen, no matter how “perfectly qualified” you are for the job.
A job seeker recently posted his frustration about the current state of job search in a comment here on WorkCoachCafe. He said, “I’ve applied for 11,437 jobs as of today within the past 14 months of searching. This online stuff doesn’t work, but what else can you do?”
How very frustrating for him! But the lack of results is not surprising…
Using very strong language, recruiters have told me that when they see an individual applying for every open job, regardless of their fit with the job’s requirements, they learn quickly to ignore that applicant as, basically, a spammer. So, all of those applications are a waste of the job seeker’s time, and just make a bad impression on the employer.
3 Job Search Strategies that Actually Work
Obviously, as this job seeker and so many others have discovered, a high quantity of applications doesn’t accomplish what they want. This job seeker asked what else you can do. Combine these 3 strategies for a successful job search for your perfect job:
“Why are you looking for a new job?” and “Why do you want to leave your current job?” are some of the other variations of this question. It is a common interview question, so it’s best to have thought about it and have a good answer ready.
Prospective employers are naturally curious about you and why you want to leave your current job. Are you a “problem” employee, or are you simply managing your career? Be sure your answer reassures them of your maturity, competence, and quality.
Remember to stay positive, confident, truthful, and forward-looking in your response. And don’t go into a lot of detail or an extended explanation. Keep your answer short and sweet. Usually a few sentences are enough.
Simple 3-Part Answers to Why You Are Looking for a New Job
The most effective responses usually have these 3 parts. Adjust these sample responses to your own specific situation -
We have several posts about answering the “Why did you leave your last job” question in a variety of situations (fired, left quickly, or something else – see the list at the bottom of this post). In this post, we’ll address the circumstance of answering why you left your last job when you were laid off.
This can be a scary question for a job seeker. However, if you answer smoothly in a matter-of-fact tone, with assurance, most interviewers move on to their next question.
Please note: Being laid off is very different from being fired.
An employer usually fires someone for a reason (“for cause”), whether real or imaginary on the part of the employer. A “layoff” is typically a move by management to cut costs by reducing the number of employees. Someone who is laid off qualifies, in the USA, for unemployment compensation. Someone who has been fired typically does not qualify. ”Down-sizing” is another term for a layoff.
If you were involved in a very large and very public layoff or business closing (like Enron or Lehman Brothers in the past), you may not need to answer this question. The interviewer may already know why you are job hunting. If you were laid off by a smaller employer or in a less public situation, you will probably need to explain what happened.
So many job seekers comment here on WorkCoachCafe that they have interviewed for a job but not heard back yet, even though the employer was supposed to have made a decision earlier this week or last week or last month.
Frequently, the interview went so well that the job seeker expected a job offer. Perhaps, at the end of the interview, the manager said, “Looking forward to working with you. See you soon!” Or something equally promising that made the job seeker think…
“This one is IT! I’ve got this job! I can stop job hunting! It’s over! YEA!!!”
When an offer seems within reach, taking a break from the hard work of job hunting is a natural reaction. Hopefully, the offer IS coming and the job search is over! But, counting on that job offer is a big mistake! Job offers are derailed for a million reasons, and that offer might NOT happen. Then what? Here’s what is going on and what you can do to avoid disaster.