Job hunting can be quite a tough process. We have all interviewed for a job at some point in our career, probably more than once or twice. In fact, 91 percent of Millennials expect to stay in their jobs for less than three years. This works out to somewhere between 15 to 20 different jobs during the course of a typical Millennial's lifetime. The process can be hard on your self-esteem if you have sent out tons of applications and been through dozens of interviews, with no success, it is hard not to become discouraged.
You may be at a point of rationalizing your lack of employment by blaming external influences. Claiming there are currently no opportunities in your field or the job market is tough, or there are few job vacancies and a lot of competition.
However, the truth is people are getting hired in your field, some with the luxury to job hop from company to company. Despite the market being tough it is more likely that there is something wrong you are doing.
Your resume is sloppy
Employers are looking for go-getters, not candidates who put in minimal effort. So don’t submit a generic cover letter and resume unless you want yours to be among the first in the trash. Customize each piece you send for the company and position. This may mean reworking your goals, rewording your accomplishments, or even using different references.
In real life, a typo doesn't make a huge difference. In your resume, a typo can constitute the difference between whether you get an interview or find your application automatically rejected. Never submit a resume that you have not run through a spell checker and a grammar checker. Always make sure that your resume was reviewed by someone else with a good command of grammar rules. Do not rely on the spellchecker in Word either—it doesn’t always catch what another pair of eyes will. Solicit help from a well-read friend or relative. Your formatting is also important. Recruiters don't want to see fancy resumes, they want to see resumes that are easy to read.
You are underqualified
You don't need to have 100 percent of the skills and qualifications listed on a job description, but you do need to have a high percentage. Aim to apply for jobs where you fit at least 90 percent of the qualifications. If the job description asks for someone with three-five years of experience, your 2.5 years of experience may qualify you for the job if you're strong in all of the other areas. Six months of experience isn't going to cut it.
This is perhaps one of the biggest issues for chronic job seekers. Are you consistently applying for your dream job even though your experience and education don't really make you a dream candidate? Or maybe you're desperate for a job (any job!) and are willing to take anything, even jobs well below your pay grade? Ask yourself honestly whether you're aiming too high or too low and adjust your expectations accordingly.
You are overqualified
It can seem illogical that employers would reject you for having too much experience or too many degrees. But remember that recruiters and hiring managers are looking for people who will thrive in the job they have available. Employers will often assume that if you have more experience or education than the job requires, your salary expectations are probably higher than the role pays too. Because hiring managers often can't understand why someone would want a lower position than what his or her background might qualify him or her for, they often assume that you're only interested in the job because you're feeling desperate. They figure you'll take it for the paycheck, but that you'll leave as soon as something more suited to your background comes along. So what do you do if you're hearing that you are overqualified for jobs you actually want? The best thing you can do is to understand the concerns above and address them head-on. You can do that by explaining why you're genuinely interested in the position. If you know hiring managers are likely to worry about your salary expectations, you can also say explicitly that you are clear about the lower pay that comes with the position, and that it's fine with you. Ideally, you would address this in the cover letter, to avoid having your application discarded at the first stages.
Unstable Employment History
If you are a student or a recent graduate, it is okay to have multiple short-term internships and summer jobs. Otherwise? You should work at each job for at least 18 months, and preferably three or four years. If your last job was for 14 months, you better prepare to stay at the next one for at least three years. Otherwise, your record tells recruiters that you won't stick around long enough to make training you worth the cost and time. The best way to handle job-hopping on your resume depends on your specific job titles and companies. You may be able to lump two or more similar positions under one heading (for example, Engineer, ABC Company and DEF Company, 2/18-4/19). You can list your combined work experience's highlights.
Unrealistic Salary Expectations
Some companies require you to list your targeted salary on your job application, along with your salary history. If you're applying for jobs that pay $60,000 a year, but you've listed your target salary as $80,000, the employer will reject you immediately. No one wants to waste time interviewing you when they know you won't want to take the job at the available salary.
Change of Career
Lots of people successfully change careers, but it is not easy. If you're trying to change career paths make sure that your resume and your cover letter detail why you are changing careers and why you are qualified for the new career path. Employers won't make the connection without your help.
Your lack of passion shows
If you find yourself applying for positions that do not excite you, do not be surprised if potential employers sense this lack of passion. Employers know that skills can always be taught, but that passion is either there or it's not. If you're truly excited about a job, be sure to convey this in your cover letter and interview. Explain your reasons for wanting the position, and share ideas you'll be excited to explore should you get the job.
Your CV does not show your value to the company
Your resume is what's going to get your foot in the door. If it is not accurately showcasing your suitability for the job, you'll never get the chance to impress in an interview.
Munodiwa Zvemhara is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number +263 783168453 or email: [email protected] or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com
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