Before you start developing the feeling that getting on payroll will never happen, you need to assess if there are things you may be doing that are working against you. Below are some less than obvious behaviors that might keep you from getting hired.
1) You decide not to be likeable – If you don’t smile, genuinely compliment others, or express gratitude when job searching you are at a disadvantage. Similarly, if you don’t show a sincere interest in the lives of those you talk to when job searching – if you make it only about your need to get hired – you are shooting yourself in the foot as well. Are you likeable? Ask this question to someone who can give you an honest answer. Realize that being likeable is a choice available to us all, introverts and extroverts.
2) You don’t ask for help – Across societies throughout the world, renowned social psychologist Shalon Schwartz discovered that the desire to help others is what matters the most to us all, regardless of where we are from. Strangers help strangers all the time and strangers can help us get a job.
Schwartz found out that people rank the chance to be helpful to others more important for than the desire to accumulate wealth.
Jobs seekers who don’t leverage our innate desire to help others are leaving money on the table. International students: make a note of this one.
3) You only want to work for firms such as Google or Goldman Sachs – You practically need to be a genius to get hired by a firm such as Google, and most of us are normal human beings who don’t have what it takes to land jobs in such places. As an example, of the 3 million applications it receives each year, Google only hires 7,000, or about 0.2%, the company’s HR boss Laszlo Bock said at LinkedIn’s recent Talent Conference. Sure you could be part of the 0.2 percent, but do the math and look at the odds.
4) You’re not giving yourself a chance to standout
In Brazil, where I was born and raised, kids pretty much have a soccer ball attached to their feet since age two. The supply of high caliber players is high, and I had always been a below-average player no one paid attention to. When I came to the U.S and played soccer for the first time with a group of undergrads from my dorm, I was shocked I was treated as if I was Pelé.
The point is this: find a market place where your skill set is considered advanced. Whenever possible, go where the jobs are and find places where your talents are recognized and needed.
5) You don’t understand the source of your strengths – Are you a musician who could play different musical instruments from an early age? Were you the type of kid who was not only interested in computers but actually wanted to open them up to see what was inside? We all need to understand why we are good at whatever it is we do well. At a minimum understanding the root of our competitive advantages gives us strength as a job seeker and it prevents others from taking for granted what we do best.
6) You don’t break enough rules. A “play it safe” job search strategy prevents you from differentiating yourself, making it harder it hard to get noticed by recruiters, for example. Be super creative and even attempt job search strategies others feel are crazy.
One more thing! To learn more about other behaviors that keep job seekers from getting hired to check out another article I wrote on this topic which appeared on Themuse a couple of weeks ago. See the link below…
Marcelo Barros is the author of the The International Advantage Get Noticed. Get Hired!, a book that gives international students an edge when job searching.