Have you been applying for jobs for what seems like a never-ending period of time and not getting any luck? Feeling fatigued from submitting countless applications that don’t seem to be progressing? You’re probably going through job-hunting fatigue. If you’re feeling like this, below are two simple questions you should ask yourself that might help re-energize you and steer your job hunting journey in a positive direction.
1. What is the problem? – Simple, right? Sure, the job market is narrow, so there are not enough opportunities, but also; could it be that you’re applying for jobs that don’t excite you? Is it because you’re not getting feedback from the applications you have submitted and are therefore starting to question your skills and abilities? Is it the process of constantly customizing your CV and application that is making you feel burned out? The sooner you can identify the root cause of the problem, the earlier you can find ways to solve it and hopefully strategize on the job hunting approach you’re using. For instance, have you consulted your friend who works in HR to find out if your CV is appealing to potential employers? Are you *actually* being intentional applying for these jobs or are you applying for every job you come across? Or, are you leaving application questions blank because you’re hoping the recruiter will overlook that? Being honest with ourselves about how we are approaching job hunting can help us reassess our habits and approaches and help turn things around.
2. Are your job hunting goals realistic? – What are the goals you have set for yourself, and are they realistic? It’s easy to say, “I plan on being employed in three months” but what are the surrounding factors that influence that goal becoming a reality. What is the job market in your industry like? What is the current socio-political climate? And what about the economy? Right now, for instance, we’re facing a global pandemic that has rendered many people unemployed and further narrowed down the job market, what then does this mean for the goals we set for ourselves when we’re job hunting? When you set goals that are unrealistic, you set yourself up for failure, which means, it’s easy to get fatigued early on and blame yourself for not getting a job when *you* want, instead of considering how external factors influence your job hunting process. This is why it’s important to conduct due diligence; understand the current state of your industry, the kind of opportunities being advertised and at what level, and also, exploring what learning opportunities are available so that you can upskill and increase your chances of being successful.
Find the above questions useful? What else did you discover was holding you back in job hunting before you finally succeeded at landing that job? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, where you can also reach out to us for your career transitioning queries and needs. Here are 6 ways you can manage burn out during a long job search. Follow us on LinkedIn for similar content & to see new job opportunities we hire for.
Ever gone through an entire selection process and made it to the reference check stage only to find out that you won’t be getting the offer letter? It can be quite heartbreaking, especially after you’ve put in a lot of effort and energy into the selection process trying to “sell” yourself. Ever then take time to reflect on whether you might have messed up in the last stages, AKA, the reference check stage? We highlight three mistakes you should avoid that may have cost you that offer letter.
1. Not informing your referee in advance – Simply, referees are meant to vouch for you. They are meant to provide your potential future employer with information about your past contributions, successes, and give an idea of whether or not you would be a good fit for the role you’re being assessed for. Failing to inform your referees early in advance that they will be approached by a certain organization about a role you applied for could lead to a bad reference check or even worse, no reference check at all. Unless you’re constantly in communication with your past supervisor(s), it’s possible that they may forget you, especially if you worked with them a long time ago or are relatively new in your career journey and were maybe one of the many interns they’ve managed over the years. Always make sure the referees you have provided are informed about your anticipated career moves and the roles you are applying for so they are prepared with relevant information for recruiters and hiring managers who may approach them.
2. Providing an irrelevant referee – Your parents/guardians, religious leader, your teacher from high school….you get where I’m going, are unfortunately not suited to be your professional referees, especially after a couple of years working. Sure, they may have nice things to say about who you are as a person, but your potential employer is looking to learn more about your skills, achievements, how you relate and collaborate with others in a work setting, etc. Unless otherwise asked, the best approach is to provide someone that you reported to directly because they have a good understanding of how you approach your work, how you receive and work on feedback, whether or not you’re a fast learner, etc.
3. Being dishonest – Here, being dishonest not only includes providing the wrong referee, such as, say, your friend, but also, colluding with said person to do the reference yourself! Where this is the case, it shows a lack of integrity on your part and calls to question how confident you are about your past experiences, contributions, and successes. Did you burn bridges? Were you not a good performer? Did you lie about your past achievements? These are some of the questions that come up when the hiring team discovers that the reference check is dishonest. It’s critical to always remember that your potential employer will be able to see the quality of work you produce and gauge it for themselves once you join the organization, therefore, providing references that are dishonest will most likely backfire because they may not match up to what you do once hired.
What words come to mind when you think of an interview? Formal? Serious? Suit? What if we told you interviews can be fun? Yes, fun! Many people tend to think that being very formal in an interview and not showing their personality will be translated into how serious they take their work, and while this is true to a certain extent, it’s always important to keep in mind that many organizations are also assessing for culture fit, and therefore, showing your personality helps the hiring managers get a glimpse into how you may fit into the organization. Of course, this doesn’t mean you go overboard and perhaps overshare thus creating an awkward environment, but rather finding a balance between being professional and letting your personality shine. We tell you how with the following three tips.
1. Relax – We know and understand how nerve-wracking it can be to talk to a stranger and try to convince them why you deserve to get hired. (And you do!). And while interviewers also have the responsibility of creating a safe and calm environment for you to feel comfortable, it’s also important to learn how to relax. It’s easier to present your authentic self when you’re calm, otherwise, you risk misrepresenting yourself because you’re anxious and are trying to make an impression of what *you think* the interviewer wants to see or hear. Interviewers want to see the real you, believe that, so here are a few tips you can use to relax during the interview so you can be your true self!
2. Engage, engage, engage! – We have sometimes encountered candidates who are very very brief in their responses when we ask questions, or, just seem to have very low energy, and when asked if they have any questions, say they have none. Contrary to the belief that not asking questions means you fully understand the role and/or organization, to the interviewer, it shows a lack of interest, and possibly, curiosity. We highlighted three questions you can always ask after an interview in this blog. Additionally, don’t let the interviewer be the one doing most of the talking; they’re here to learn more about you – provide as much information as possible that showcases your skills, experience, achievements, and yes, your personality. The STAR methodology is a useful technique to help you answer questions thoughtfully and shows the interviewer that you’re committed to presenting your best self.
3. Avoid scripted like answers – The internet is full of articles with potential questions and answers to different roles that may be asked by an interviewer. These are meant to provide you with guidance, avoid memorizing them, and using them as your own responses. Remember that an interview is an opportunity to set yourself apart from other candidates, therefore, your responses should be unique to your own experiences and successes. Interviewers will know if your responses are memorized. Prepare for the interview but let the conversation flow naturally, don’t cram your potential answers. This may even make you remember something you had not thought of before, as opposed to cramming and possibly blocking your brain from recalling other relevant examples during the interview.
What are some of the tips you have used to showcase your personality in an interview? Share with us at email@example.com, where you can also reach out to us for all your career queries. Learn more about positioning yourself as a great candidate here.
When hiring, many organizations take time creating job descriptions internally or through a recruiter. It is not just for the sake of it. This process helps them get the ideal profile they are looking for clear. The JD also acts as their guiding document during screening and making hiring decisions. Their ideal candidate could be you. However, many times, professionals fail to internalize the nitty-gritty of the job description and thus end up positioning themselves in a less compelling manner.
Which is why we advocate for job seekers to take the time needed to decipher said job descriptions to determine how their experiences and skills align with what the employer is looking for, prior to submitting their applications. We outline three things you should ALWAYS pay attention to when interpreting job descriptions. Get this right, and you might increase your chances of scoring yourself a job!
1. Match responsibilities with your skills & experiences – Don’t just go off by the title of the position; different titles mean different things in different industries. Avoid mere skimming through the document or posting and assuming it is similar to what you already know. Ask yourself –From the responsibilities shared; what can you do with your eyes half-closed? Which areas may you need more support in if hired? Use this information to review your CV and see how laid out responsibilities measure up to your past and/or present role. Ideally, you should be able to carry out at least 70% of the responsibilities. Whereas certain organizations are willing to hire people less qualified and invest in their development, they’ll usually have this stated in the job description. Now, if you find yourself having more questions than answers about your understanding of the role’s responsibilities that may either indicate you are unfamiliar with the role or that the language is not clear for you. Should it be the latter, then it’s worth trying to reach out to the respective organization to understand the role a little bit further. Finally, always have a lookout for job descriptions that are fake! Here’s a guiding article on how.
2. Align the requirements with your qualifications – Organizations often list the qualifications as a must-have and preferred. For instance, if they require expertise in a certain skill or specialized qualifications such as a particular degree or certification or language, they will have that listed. ALWAYS pay attention to keywords when reading the qualifications – you should use this information to customize your CV and cover letter to clearly and precisely show how you are aligned to the role. Keep in mind that your application also goes through the Applicant Tracking System, which filters out certain keywords before a recruiter/hiring manager looks at your application. Learn more about customizing your application to beat the ATS here.
3. Gather information about the organization – Most job descriptions provide background information about the organization. This should be your starting point to conduct more research about the organization prior to any application. Go to their website, their social media pages, see if there are any articles or YouTube videos about the organization that can help you see what kind of place it is to work in, the kind of culture they have, their vision and goals, the values they hold, etc. You can also check out Glassdoor to see if they have reviews from past employees to see how they treat their staff. If an organization has not included an ”Äbout us” section on the job description, use other means of research as indicated above to learn more about them. Here’s an article we wrote about the importance of assessing an organization’s culture when job hunting.
For further reading; wondering why you always make the shortlist but don’t get hired? This may be why.
Technology has made our ability to connect to people much easier. Gone are the days where the main method of applying for jobs was sending hardcopy job applications through the post office and not know whether they were received or not. Today, within a significantly short amount of time, you can gain adequate information about an organization’s work, its whole management team and if lucky, who is leading the hiring process by simply conducting a few customized google searches.
Access to recruiters and company official emails and social media pages makes it pretty easy to reach out, inquire, and share our thoughts about open roles. When sending out these emails/messages, the question is;
How can we professionally and clearly articulate our thoughts in a way that builds a strong virtual rapport with the person who eventually receives our message?
We outline three mistakes we have seen many professionals/job-seekers make when reaching out to us, to help you avoid falling into these traps;
1. No subject line – Because of the influx of emails we receive daily, subject lines are useful because they have the capability to draw in one’s attention and increase the opening rate, especially if the request is already indicated. When your email lacks a subject line, it makes it very easy for the receiver not to notice it, and/or, it may fall through the cracks. Think of an email subject line like you would when making a presentation, you have to highlight what you’ll be talking about first, right?
2. Grammar and spelling mistakes – Recruiters and hiring managers are looking to hire or recommend candidates who show effort. Proofreading your email not only shows you put in the effort to be intentional but also reveals the level of your attention to detail, a skill that is a prerequisite for many organizations. Needless to say, written communication is just as important when job hunting. If you’re able to, we encourage you to download Grammarly, an app that proofreads your emails before you click send.
3. Lack of a clear call for action – So you have a great subject line and an error-free email, and maybe attachments, but what happens if your call to action is vague or absent? For instance, just attaching your CV with a blank email (another common mistake) may suggest that you’re job hunting, but it may also mean that you’d like the organization to update you with new opportunities in the future. It’s very important to not leave room for assumptions as this may limit your chances of getting a response. Before sending out that email, ask yourself; what do I want the receiver to do for me after they read my email? Based on my message, what immediate action can they take, that will help me get a little closer to what I want to achieve?
Find email templates here that you can use, depending on need. Have you been a culprit of any of the above? Wondering what other mistakes you could be making? Check out our Career Happiness Center for similar content and career resources.
As recruiters, we’re always rooting for candidates we get to interview for our client’s roles. However, as the interviewee, you have a critical role to play in showcasing why you should be considered for the position you’re being assessed for. To help you avoid making mistakes that may make recruiters/hiring managers not consider you, we’re sharing with you three ways we have seen candidates fail when answering interview questions in hopes that you’ll avoid making similar mistakes.
1. Not being direct – Simply put, this refers to the inability to be concise. Sometimes, candidates use a long-winded approach when answering questions in interviews. While providing context is important, it’s always good to ask yourself if the context being provided is relevant to that particular question(s). And if it is, how can you pick the most important parts of it to make sure you’re tying it to the position you’re being interviewed for? For example, when asked; tell us about a time you solved a conflict at work, the context relevant would be about what caused the conflict to begin with, why you had to step in to solve it, and what the outcomes were. As always, we encourage you to adhere to the STAR technique when answering questions. It’ll save you from making this blunder.
2. Rushing to answer before thinking it through – Admittedly, you won’t always be prepared to answer ALL interview questions. However, this does not mean that you cannot think through your responses during the interview. In certain instances, you can even ask to be given more time to think about a question if you’re unsure or feel like you need more time to have a concrete answer. How candidates answer questions, and how well thought their answers are, bear a lot of weight in the recruiter’s the decision-making process about whether or not they will be shortlisted, so always make sure you’re taking time to think through your responses before giving them to make your train of thought clear to the interviewer.
3. Providing vague responses – Unless you’re being interviewed for an internship position or a role that requires no past experience, interviews are meant to provide recruiters and hiring managers with information about how your past experiences have shaped you to succeed in the position you’re being interviewed for. Therefore, as a candidate, you should try and tie these experiences to said position as much as you can. For instance, saying you’re able to successfully achieve work results with minimal supervision without providing a concrete example of a similar situation in the past where this has been the case is very generic. Which is why we insist that you always prepare for interviews. It’ll help you anticipate questions and therefore, prepare accordingly.
Find much more similar content about succeeding in job hunting on our Career Happiness Center.