JOB SEARCH MISTAKES TO AVOID | 9 OF THE UNLUCKIEST JOB SEARCH STRATEGIES

Some job search strategies suck. A lot. And you might be using them.

So grab your green beer, or green juice, and in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let me tell you a tale of the unluckiest job search strategies. 

Job searching, we know it’s hard (that’s what she said), but sometimes we make it harder on ourselves by using job search strategies that we think will work because we read about it on reddit, or saw a certain TikTok video.

But here’s the thing: good job search strategy isn’t some mystical, magical, job search Nirvana. It’s simply a combination of commitment, good planning, and execution. And there’s no luck involved.

So let’s get into the unluckiest job search strategies and what to do instead.

Job Searching Before You’re Ready

This is the most common job search issue I run across.

Professionals know they want a career change, but they don’t take the time to identify what that looks like, first, before they start applying for jobs.

What this results in is a very unfocused resume that doesn’t show you’re qualified, and further, it is unconvincing and confusing to the people doing the hiring.

And confused people don’t buy. 

So that means, no interviews.

Improve Your Luck

There is no way around it, you absolutely must identify your target job before you embark on a job search. 

This can be done through a variety of methods and there’s no right or wrong way to get there.

But it has to happen first.

Because your target job informs everything: what you write on your resume, what you say in interviews, what you discuss while networking – everything.

Trying To Get Past The ATS

First, what is the ATS? ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System. 

It’s the software that hiring professionals use to track your application through every touch point and stage in the process.

Some supposed job search “experts” like to scare the shit out of you by talking about getting past the ATS like it’s something you have to game and manipulate.

But as my friend, big tech recruiter Amy Miller has said so simply, yet eloquently, the ATS is like a digital filing cabinet. And as she also said, the ATS is something you want to stay in, not get past. You want a file on you to exist their so hiring professionals can proceed with hiring you. Right?

The ATS isn’t so smart that it’ll reject you automatically without human intervention.

It’s not so hungry that it needs to be fed keywords constantly or it poops out your resume.

It’s not so diabolical that it can see that you’re 50 years old and will make ageist assumptions.

The ATS is stupid and it is not a sentient being.

So stop functioning like it is.

Stop focusing only on keywords.

For the love of god do NOT use the white font trick as explained on TikTok.

Improve Your Luck

Instead of worrying about something that really has no influence in your job search, concern yourself with who does have influence.

Those are the people in hiring: recruiters, talent acquisition professionals, and hiring managers.

And what do they need to know? That you can do the job for which they’re hiring.

They can’t be told that through jamming a bunch of keywords into your resume.

They can be told that by reading about your accomplishments that demonstrate the skills that you’re claiming.

Focus on that.

Focusing On Resume “Looks” Not Substance

I hear from job seekers all the time that they think their resume needs to be redesigned.

So that leads them down the path of using heavily-designed templates because they look good, and forgetting that it’s what you write that matters most.

How To Improve Your Luck

Instead of worrying yourself over the looks of your resume, make sure you’re spending most of your time and energy on making sure what you write in your resume shows that you’re qualified.

The content and context of your work and career are what matter, not how you display it.

Forgetting To Give LinkedIn Some Love

LinkedIn had an outage a few weeks ago and recruiters were freaking out. That’s because they use LinkedIn so much in their work.

So with recruiters hanging out on LinkedIn, you simply can’t forgo giving your LinkedIn profile and how you engage, some love.

How To Improve Your Luck

Bottom line, you want to have a full and complete LinkedIn profile that tells your story and shows you’re qualified. You also want to show up and be an active and engaged member of the LinkedIn community.

This doesn’t mean that you need to come up with your own content to post on LinkedIn. You don’t need to share anything in fact.

But what is a great use of your time is to comment on other people’s LinkedIn posts that relate to your specialties or line of work. This is great for your personal brand, and increases your visibility, making you more likely to be found for your target jobs.

Crowdsourcing Job Search Advice

One of the most painful things I see on LinkedIn is when people crowdsource advice either by posting their resume, or asking a big open-ended question about how to get a job.

Everyone has an opinion, and opinions often don’t match up. This causes extreme confusion for you as the job seeker.

How To Improve Your Luck

Stick to the advice of a few select experts and test what they recommend, and see how it works for you.

No advice is guaranteed to work for you, but there are some experts out there whose opinions hold more weight than others.

Treating Job Searching Like A Numbers Game

“After applying for 100 jobs, I finally got an interview.”

I hear this so often, and when I do, it tells me that something is wrong.

Usually, the job seeker either lacks a target job, or is doing what we in the biz call, spraying and praying.

Sending their resume or applying online anywhere and everywhere hoping that the law of numbers will work in their favor.

Job searching doesn’t work like this.

How To Improve Your Luck

Instead, you need to make sure that you’re staying true to your target job, and also make sure you’re identifying target employers, and apply to the job postings that meet these criteria, and for which you’re also qualified.

Otherwise you’re going to be thinking your job search is unsuccessful because of the sheer number of jobs you’ve applied to, when in actuality there could be another issue holding you back that needs to be addressed instead.

“Spamming” Recruiters

Speaking of treating job searching like a numbers game, this often comes into play when reaching out to recruiters too.

I see so many job seekers spamming recruiters, unintentionally, because they think that the more recruiters that they reach out to, the better.

And in doing so, they are often sending super generic messages.

How To Improve Your Luck

I dive into more details in my recent networking video, but with recruiters too, you need to reach out in a targeted way.

Recruiters have their specialities as well, just like any other profession.

So it’s not worth your or their time if they’re a sales recruiter, and you’re reaching out for a software developer role.

So make sure you do your research.

And then send messages that are thoughtful and customized.

I’m working on a networking guide so make sure you’re signed up for it by grabbing my cover letter guide in the meantime.

Not Applying Online And Only Networking or Only Applying Online and Not Networking

Networking is important. In fact, it’s the single most important part of your job search.

But you can’t forego applying online.

As much as some experts want to make you think you can get a job without applying online, this is rarely, if ever, the case.

Even if a current employee refers you to the job, you must apply online if the role is posted online. 

It’s posted online for a reason and you can’t circumnavigate this part of the process.

That said, only applying online is equally ineffective. You want to for sure apply online, but ensure you’re networking simultaneously.

How To Improve Your Luck

Networking and applying online aren’t mutually exclusive job search tactics.

You should be doing both at the same time.

Not Following Up After Applying or Interviewing

Following up is the lowest hanging of all job search fruit.

It is easy, speaks volumes, and yet barely anyone does it.

People are busy. By following up thoughtfully, you can jog their memory in a polite, yet persistent, way.

I had a client follow up on a job posting 3 months after he interviewed. While I don’t recommend waiting that long, he did it because he realized that he hadn’t heard back on his interview, and wanted to let the employer know he was still interested. This piqued their interest, and he ended up getting hired.

How To Improve Your Luck

When you interview, whether it’s a basic phone screen, or a high-stakes final round panel interview, you should be thanking the interviewer within 24 hours of the discussion.

This includes expressing gratitude for their time, and reiterating your fit and enthusiasm for the role.

Then, you’ll want to follow up later on as well. I like 1 week intervals between follow ups.

Now you aren’t asking where your application is in the process, but you want to being giving a little bit of a digital tap on the shoulder to remind the interviewer of why you are the solution provider for their business needs.

You create your own job search luck, and really, it’s through your commitment to the process, and doing the work to get the work, that gets you where you want to go.

What job search strategies have worked for you? What job search strategy in the video is surprising? What strategy would you like to learn more about? Tell me in the comments below.

Kamara Toffolo

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