Looking for a job is one of the most dreaded activities of the big, bad world when a fresher steps into it. But whether it is trying to get rid of the “fresher” tag, or changing jobs or careers midway through life, looking for a job becomes an intricate dance of knowledge, assessment, networking, and searching. There are several ways to go about it, one of which are the suggestions we encounter from well-meaning friends and family members. In desperation, a job-seeker might follow all the random, half-baked advice that is thrown his way, and cannot distinguish between useful advice and the detrimental kind, all because it comes from someone they tend to trust, or just want to try everything. Thus, the job seeker ends up committing several gaffes that may reduce his chances of landing that dream job.
In order to be a well-rounded job applicant, one may do well to remember to flow with the times and change according to changing trends.
Tactics and Techniques of Application
Every organization has their own modus operandi for recruitment. Trying to go against it to show how unique you are is not wise. Depending on the kind of job applied for, tactics of application must change. If you’re applying for a teaching or local job, sending in a personal application would be preferred instead of applying online. If applying in IT or software development, apply through their online system that has probably been specifically developed for recruitment.
Respect Hiring Managers’ Time
If the ad specifically tells you to send in your CV by E-mail, then send it by E-mail and not snail mail, and don’t keep calling to ask whether they’ve received “online and offline copies” to show how dedicated you are. Chances are they take a little time to sift through all incoming applications. People already short on time will not appreciate anyone persistently interrupting them from doing their work. If it’s been too long, make one call if this is important to you. Else move on.
Listening Only to Your Parents
Most of us end up listening to parental advice that is terribly outdated because we know they don’t mean harm to us and we trust them. However, most parents do not know the current scenario, and have not written a CV or appeared for an interview in years, and thus they end up having no idea regarding the current situation. Depending on how well versed they are, take advice. But also have other avenues of help open.
Sending only Hard Copies of the Resume
Times have changed, and you need to adapt. Assuming that only hard copies of resumes will be read and that soft copies will be trashed, or vice-versa, is outdated thinking. Most work these days is carried out on both platforms. So be prepared to have both types of copies in the portfolio.
Don’t send your CV indiscriminately to every random job, even if it is related to your field. Aunt Mabel may have found her waitressing job this way, but you cannot wait in a crappy diner if you want to be a chef. Go through the organization profile and decide whether you would like to give them a try. Check whether you satisfy their requirements. Then apply.
Doing this saves time and effort on both sides, since they don’t have to interview you for nothing, and you don’t need to waste time altering and sending in a CV to someone you won’t like. Also when you spam, you know that you’re not set on what you want to do or work towards a particular goal. Take some time off, decide on what you want and look for more specific ways to lead yourself there.
Sending the Same Resume Everywhere
If you feel that since you’re applying to the same job in the same field, but different companies so you need not send in a different resume everywhere, you’re outdated. Don’t blindly send a copy of a general CV you’ve created. Make a few tweaks to include only relevant details that are going to specifically cater to the needs of every organization. Even if it is the same job profile everywhere. Study the requirements of the post you’re applying to, and send in a fitting resume.
Misleading Information on Resume
Maybe this is something that was practiced earlier without serious consequences, but employers do not put up with false and misleading information on resumes. A resume being scrutinized is not uncommon, so are follow-up calls to the previous employer and even background checks in some cases. Tampering with your resume details will probably blacklist you, and jeopardize your chances of getting a job with that company.
The biggest mistake job applicants make these days is to create childish and irrelevant resumes cluttered with information about a high school athletics medal or editorship of the high school newspaper. Sure, mention it in your interview if the interviewers ask, but don’t mention it in writing. Writing anything that is not relevant, sometimes extending to pointless entire paragraphs on hobbies makes no sense to the recruiter and does not answer their requirements.
“Extras” that sap time and effort are things like dressing well, printing resumes on customized paper, gifting bouquets and chocolates to contacts. They are not to be focused on, to the extent that your actual profile and skills do not come across at all. Concentrate on things that matter. No employer is going to hire you by judging what paper and design your CV has. Being decently presentable is all that is needed. The rest will fall into place if you have a well-built portfolio.
People who have contacts obviously should use them. But pestering contacts all the time to get you that job is going to backfire. Also, fake networking is seen through immediately. One cannot just dump their references on someone they’ve just met at a job fair or a friend of a friend, without you having made some attempt to be polite and considerate enough to them for them to grant you a favor.
Most people these days don’t even know what hiring season is, except for the older crowd looking for new jobs and are new to the millennial job scenario. Most organizations hire all-year round due to constantly migrating workers, and have no limited time periods of hire except when they have no vacancies. So go ahead and look, send in a resume in the middle of the holidays or in winter before someone else does.
For some jobs that require a social profile, like writers, fashion bloggers or social media managers, recruiters will look for a strong online presence. Today, there are ways of getting to know candidates other than resumes, and online presence speaks volumes about one’s true personality rather than the one projected deliberately towards a potential employer. Making a strong and respectable online presence is never a bad thing.
Going old school only works if the organization you are applying to is old school. Therefore, customize according to the job, and you’ll be good to go!