With today’s technology, a job search should be simple. You Google jobs, select one that would be great for you, upload your resume and cover letter, and hit send. Minutes later, you get a call saying how you are the perfect candidate, and “won’t you come in this afternoon so we can hire you.”
While technology gives us instant access to the tools, many aspects of the job search remain unchanged from a time when you looked at want ads in the Sunday paper and used your rotary phone to make calls. In that day, as is still true now, networking was a key aspect of successful job searches.
But what else can affect your success as you work to land your dream job? Here are five things I see that keep your job search from being a straight line from applying to “you’re hired.”
- Companies change their minds – You may be the perfect candidate and have sent a resume and cover letter so targeted that the reader would feel compelled to call you. But the company has changed direction and will not be filling the role. Chances are, they are not going to call or email you and let you know. Not hearing can raise all kinds of questions, but remember, none of us are mind readers.
- You are not the only candidate – In a perfect world, if you were the most qualified candidate, you would land the job. But there are other factors at work during the interview process. The process hiring managers use can be labeled the 3 C’s. First, they want to know if you are capable. This screens out the bulk of the applicants. Then they assess your character. Are you trustworthy, honest, and have you told us the truth? Once the hiring manager is satisfied, then it comes down to compatibility. Can they see you working for their team, being a part of their company? There are a lot of things you can do to promote your ability to be a part of the team, but in the end, someone else may just click with the hiring manager.
- Companies must follow the law – Companies and organizations must comply with a myriad of laws and regulations when it comes to hiring. It is possible that management has an internal candidate that they feel deserves the position. Yet, they cannot just give that position to their pre-selected person without risking blowback from their own employees and possible legal action from outside the company. This forces the company to post the position, go through the hiring process, and then award the job to their pre-selected candidate.
- You’re not clear on what’s next – You have been “spraying and praying” your resume across the Internet for almost six weeks. You have been saying to yourself, “someone must see how valuable I would be to their company.” But now you are beginning to think that there might be other ways to land your next job. So you are looking at your resume (again) and the cover letter template you are using to see what you should change. The best outcomes I have seen with my clients can be attributed in large part to their having a written plan. Write down your plan and clearly identify all the ways you will look for jobs. Did you know there are 12 different ways that are very effective? After you pick the 3 to 5 that you will use, decide how much time you will devote to each type and when you will follow-up. This process can be a roadmap to your success. Having a plan in your mind, without writing it down, can make the process troublesome and hard to see when things are not going smooth. Even with a written plan, there are factors that keep your job search from going straight. But this will take a lot of the stress out of landing your next job.
- Your attitude – Now it’s easy to tell yourself to stay positive and another to do it. The key, I believe, is to look at the entire job search process and realize it is a numbers game. Every NO you hear puts you one step closer to YES. It’s all about staying the course. Setting goals will keep you in the game. 28 years ago, I was unemployed. I set a goal for the number of applications and follow up calls I would send each week. I kept up my plan when I started getting calls, interviews, and even when I received my first offer. In the end, I chose from 3 different companies. This allowed me to choose my employer, rather than hoping someone would pick me. I believe my success in landing that job was in large part due to my positive attitude and confidence in my written plan. In a recent article, Jennifer Parris, Flex Jobs Career Writer shares five ways to have a positive attitude during your job search. Be sure and check it out.
Remember that some things are out of your control as you work your job search. And there are things you can do. Write down your plan so the steps to success are clear. Be mindful of how you feel and take steps to maintain an even keel. In the end, this is what will land you in your new hire orientation sooner.
What has worked for you? How have you kept a positive focus during your job search?
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