Across all industries, applying to jobs can seem like a full-time job all by itself. It requires patience, dedication and a lot of energy. However, if you are finding that you are consistently not moving past the application stage and landing interviews, it may be time to revisit your strategy. You may be making a few minor mistakes that are stopping you from landing the perfect job. Fix them now!
Here are mistakes you might be making and solutions for how to avoid them:
Common Mistake: Not customizing an application - Frequently, when applicants are in job search mode, they are applying to several roles at a time. In their excitement and haste, they tend to overlook how much resumes and cover letters should be customized to highlight the skills needed for a particular role and to showcase how they match the company culture and values. Additionally, putting the wrong company name or HR person's name in a cover letter is an easy way to lose an opportunity.
Solution: Customize your app! Give yourself at least an hour in between job applications for each role. Take a thorough look at the job description and really examine which of your skills you should highlight to match the skills needed. Research the company culture and values. How can you articulate in your cover letter and resume that you would be a good fit? It may take some rearranging. Repeating words used in the job description on your cover letter and resume is a great way to do this.
Common Mistake: Applying to too many roles at the same company - Depending on the size of the company, the same HR team may be reviewing many, if not all of the applications. If you apply to several roles, you might think you are showing that you just want to get in, but it can read to an HR person that you don't know what you want or where you best add value.
Solution: Pick 1-2 roles that really make sense and match your experience. If applying to more than one role, use your cover letter as a place to highlight how you could be successful in each particular role. You want to seem thoughtful and knowledgeable about the value you are bringing.
Common Mistake: Salary requirements are not aligned - One of the best parts of going for a new job is negotiating a new salary! A common mistake is throwing out a salary that is not aligned with the budget of the position. If a company thinks they can't afford you, they may hesitate to bring you in.
Solution: Research the median salary for that position. Websites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn Premium accounts give insights to salary ranges for certain roles. Make friends with HR people in your industry as well. Ask them for insights on how to approach salary given where you are in your career. If you can leave the option blank, leave it blank and discuss salary in a screening call when you are asked. You do need a range in mind of what you are willing to accept and it generally should match the industry standard.
Common Mistake: Skipping the cover letter altogether - I have never heard a candidate say "I love cover letters!" Still, if a requirement exists, it should be adhered to. Skipping a cover letter can signal a lack of interest and preparation for the application.
Solution: Make the cover letter a fun experience. Look at it as an opportunity to communicate who you are and why you're the perfect fit. It's ok to be a bit personal and show your interests and passions. Don't overthink it or be overly formal in the approach.
Common Mistake: Being overly aggressive with HR - Researching on LinkedIn and through personal connections is great, but if you abuse a phone number or email before the interview process starts, you are moving from research to stalking, which is usually a turnoff and hurt your chances of landing the interview.
Solution: Limit your email / contact with company employees prior to your interview to 1-2 touch-points. You can write highlighting your application and reach out again if you have a pressing question that truly needs to be answered. It's great to show interest, but you being overly eager can be a red flag.
Common Mistake: Not cleaning up social media accounts - HR teams are definitely going to google you, make sure that your social media pages highlight who you could be as a future employee. Pictures of intoxicated nights out with friends may factor into whether or not you land that job interview.
Solution: Consider your privacy settings and what the best option may be. If you choose to keep your feeds public consider posting and discussing relevant content to the field you're applying to. This shows you are knowledgeable of the latest news and information in the field and can be a valuable asset to the team.