The job search is a complex process that has many moving parts, and can cause a lot of stress, even for the most hardened individual. Did I tailor my application enough? Did I remember to attach all pertinent material to my email? Am I really experienced enough for this role? These are questions that go through every jobseekers mind, however, with some attention, patience, and focus, most can easily be remedied, and are not to be fretted over. It’s the mistake you don’t know you’re making, false truths you’ve been led to believe about the process that can sink your application, and you’d be none the wiser.

Applying for all the jobs

The more jobs I apply to the greater the chance I get called for an interview, right? Right!? Well, no, not really. Although this approach is founded on a logical assumption, and possibly even based upon advice given to jobseekers in the past, approaching your job search in this way isn’t recommended in today’s market.

As with many other things in life, it’s more about quality than quantity. If your focus is on applying to as many positions as humanly possible, then the odds are that you aren’t spending enough time tailoring each application to the specific role, and company, and the ‘one size fits all’ approach is not the way to go. Similarly, applying for multiple positions at the same company is more likely to reduce your chances of being called in to interview. Why? Because doing so shows less that you are versatile, and more that you are indecisive, and unsure/unaware where your strengths lie.

Being first out of the gate

4 job search tactics you thought worked but actually don't - being the first to apply

You are browsing the latest vacancies on your chosen job site, when suddenly a new opening appears for a company that you are interested in, or for a role that suits your skills. Quickly, I must strike whilst the iron is hot, if I get my application in first then I am surely more likely to be considered for an interview! In fact they might even realise that I am the perfect candidate and hire me on the spot, right? Right!? Once again, unfortunately, that’s probably a no.

Rushing to be one of the first to get your application in is likely to prove detrimental, rather than helpful. There is an old saying in the English language; ‘More haste, less speed’ which refers simply to the fact that, the more you rush to do something quickly, the more likely you are to make mistakes, and effectively take longer to accomplish your goals. This saying applies well to the job search process, the more you rush to complete and submit your application, the more likely you are to make a mistake. Instead, take your time, tailor your application to the role, and the company, and apply with confidence.

Taking the ‘hit and hope’ approach

We are definitely advocates of trying to make contacts with employees in companies you want to work for, and talking to them about what it is like, and whether they can give you any tips on applying. Doing this in a respectful, and appropriate way, can help you land that job you covet. However, sending your helpful new contact your CV, speculatively, for ‘just in case’ purposes, so that they may pass it on to the appropriate person, in the hope of landing you a job that way, is a big no no.

This approach is very unlikely to land you a position, only in the very rare cases you have built up especially good rapport with your contact, and a position opens up that matches your exact skills and experience. Rather than going this route, you could utilise your new connection more effectively, for example by applying for a position you are suited for within the company, and then asking if your contact will put in a good word for you. A positive recommendation from a current employee greatly increases your chances of success.

Applying for a job you know you are underqualified for

4 job search tactics you thought worked but actually don't - applying for jobs you're underqualified for

I think it’s something that, as jobseekers, we’ve all done at some point. You really want to work for the company, the position definitely aligns with your skills and professional trajectory, but you have nowhere near as much experience as the company is looking for. Surely, if I apply, show an understanding of the company and industry, and then demonstrate passion, dedication, and ambition, that will trump experience, right? Right!? Unfortunately, that is not likely.

Although, in some cases, experience isn’t the be all and end all when applying for a role, most of the time it is important. Putting a lot of time and effort into applying for a role that you are underqualified for is simply not an effective use of your time. Instead, put the same amount of time, and dedication into applying for a position that matches your experience, because combining that with the qualities mentioned above will definitely peek an employers’ interests.

If you’ve been following the approaches above, and getting slowly more demoralised at their lack of success, now you can stop. Instead, funnel your time, and energy, into alternate methods, and watch as things slowly start to go your way.

Posted by Alexander Goodenough

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