“I feel like I’m doing everything right, but nothing seems to be working.” That’s the one thing I hear from job seekers all the time. You feel like you’re doing all the things you’ve been told to do, yet you’re still not getting exciting interview requests and job offers in your inbox. But, while most job search advice focuses on all things you should be doing to land a new job, sometimes it’s the things you need to stop doing that can help you move forward in your job search, stand out, and get hired.
After coaching high-achieving corporate professionals in a variety of industries on how to secure their dream jobs, I’ve noticed a common thread of bad habits that tend to keep qualified candidates stuck and frustrated in their job search. Here are a few you might be overlooking:
You keep calling yourself a Jack of all trades Tell me if this is you: when you introduce yourself, do you tell people you’re a Jack of all trades? You might even say it with a smile but saying this could be subtly stopping you from standing out and getting hired. In the past, it might have been nice to wear that label with pride, but these days calling yourself a Jack or Jane of all trades might not be doing you any favors.
Granted, you might truly be great at a lot of things and you may have gained a variety of skill sets from different opportunities. But, most companies aren’t looking for candidates who can do everything under the sun. Often, they’re looking for candidates who can accomplish a specific set of responsibilities. Sure, those tasks can range from time to time depending on the role. But, your goal shouldn’t be to show that you can do everything, plus what they’re asking you to do. Your goal should be to show them that your experience has prepared you to exceed their expectations on the specific objectives they want you to accomplish.
You’re constantly on the job search rollercoaster You’re likely guilty of this bad habit if your job search is based on your mood. For example, when you’re having a bad week at work, you have no problem blasting off job applications and working on your job search after a long day. But, when things are smooth at work, aka when no one is getting on your nerves, you tend to put your job search on the back burner until things go south again. Then, you’re right back to panic-applying. You have no real schedule for when you should apply for new positions, and you have no real game plan for job searching other than scrolling through job boards.
If you’re constantly on the job search rollercoaster, you’re not being as productive and proactive as you could be about the next opportunity you desire, and you’re more likely to become burnout from your job search. You have to be both serious about landing a new job and committed to the process required to get one. If not, you’ll continue to find yourself frustrated when yet another work anniversary passes you by in the same position.
You’re constantly tweaking your resume We all know that having a stellar resume is key to getting noticed and securing an interview. And, it can be tempting to stay up into the wee hours of the night, updating the format and tweaking the bullets in hopes that you finally get it to a place of perfection. But, not only are you losing sleep, you might be wasting your time.
While your resume is important and should be compelling, it’s just one piece of the puzzle to get hired. At some point, you have to start focusing on the other elements of a strategic job search like building genuine relationships, understanding what you desire in your next role, getting clear on how to talk about your experience in a relevant way, and so forth. Spending an equal amount of time on all of these things is what will make a difference in your job search.
You’re asking too many people for advice At a glance, this might seem like a good habit. Being willing to learn and ask for help are essential traits that will help you move your career forward faster. But, if you’re constantly setting up informational interviews with every and anybody, sending out mass emails asking for help with your job search, googling every job search question you can think of, and piecing together all the advice you find, you’ll easily find yourself overwhelmed and confused about what to do to land a new job you’ll love. On top of that, you might even find yourself in a place where people are more than happy to help you, and yet you’re still not getting the traction you desire in your job search.
Instead of seeking advice from everyone and piecing things together, get clear on the right type of people you’d like to have in your support network and determine the right type of resources you need to help you elevate and accelerate your career goals. Then, ignore the rest. Doing so will help you focus and will move you in the right direction quicker.
Regardless if you can have great experience and a great track record to show for it, if you’re not careful, these bad habits can hold you back from landing interviews and a job offer you’ll love. It’s time to take an honest look at your job search habits and determine which of these you need to stop doing so you can finally take your career to the next level.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level and secure the positions they’ve been chasing. Grab her free guide.
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