Some people make the job search process harder than it needs to be. Obviously it’s not their intention to make an already difficult journey any longer. But sometimes job seekers (unwittingly) do things that work against them.
So, if your search has dragged on longer than you’d like, see if one of these reasons might be the culprit. Just know that before you start reading that all of these behaviors are totally fixable once you identify them.
1. You Keep Your Search Between You and Your Laptop
Getting a job is a team sport, and savvy people build teams of advisors who work to help them succeed through support and advice. For example, some people are best at helping you identify strengths and weaknesses. They can review your resume, make introductions, and provide honest feedback.
Others will encourage you when you’re ready to throw in the towel. So, don’t let your computer be your only confidant. Reach out to your network for help and support.
2. You Only Apply Through Traditional Means
Whether you’re targeting smaller firms or big brands, don’t forget that many companies pay a referral fee to employees who find the next hire—meaning there’s something in it for everyone when you get referred. And, it’s the best way to get hired.
So, don’t be afraid to ask friends, relatives, and contacts to refer you to open positions where they work. So long as you’ve done your due diligence beforehand and you’re considerate about it, they’ll likely help you out if they can.
3. You’re Only Going After Big Companies
If you cannot name five up-and-coming organizations in the industry you’re targeting, you don’t really know the sector as well as you think you might.
Lesser-known companies may not be as sought after as the Google’s and Microsoft’s of the world, but they may just have a culture where you’ll thrive and the opportunity you’re looking for. If you’re pursuing big-name firms because they’re all you know, you need to expand your search.
4. You (Always) Communicate Assertively
Many people strive to project a sense of control and competency. That makes sense because in order for others to have confidence in you, you need to have confidence in yourself.
However, if you overdo it, you can turn people off. Allowing yourself to be honest—when networking, for example—can help others connect with you more easily.
Nobody wants to be sold anything, and most people are not impressed by bravado. Remember that being vulnerable from time to time may be one of the best things you can do for yourself as a job seeker.
5. You Doubt Yourself
Some people spend precious emotional energy assuring themselves that the hunt is taking as long as it is because they simply aren’t good enough. And when you stop believing in yourself, you’re in trouble.
Don’t rush into a decision like taking a position you feel uneasy about or heading back to school simply out of fear. Instead remind yourself of all the reasons you might not be getting a call back that have nothing to do with you (like if you’ve been applying to roles you truly aren’t qualified for).
6. You Don’t Play to Your Strengths
The other day I worked with a student who had an unbelievable talent for numbers, yet the roles she had applied for only marginally allowed her to use her unique talent. So, while she had a skill that differentiated her from others, she wasn’t targeting jobs that allowed her to demonstrate what she did best.
Ask yourself what it is that you excel at, and don’t be scared to use these attributes as a starting point. Target roles that would maximize your talents: You’re more likely to get a call back—and achieve greater job satisfaction and career success after you’re hired.
Are you a status quo job seeker—someone who’s afraid to be bold? The time may have come for you to create a plan that fits you. Be creative. Generate big breaks for yourself by going against the norm and trying what has not been done before. And above all, sidestep these common mistakes, which are only getting in your way.
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. Learn more about Barros and his work here and don’t forget to connect with him on LinkedIn.
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