This year’s job search was more challenging than any other time in the last ten years. We’ve seen more people voluntarily walk away from unfair and inflexible employers. Many job seekers experienced calls from job applications they filled out a year ago. At one point, job interviews for one position took three interviews to as many as fourteen. Yet, with so many positions open, it feels like only a few are getting hired.
If you’re a career professional, the advice you gave, in general, might have shifted several times since the beginning of the pandemic because of changes in the employer’s habits in hiring. The lack of knowledge of industry hiring practices could hurt you today. Not knowing why a company you applied to for a job is still hiring after six months. Wouldn’t you like to see if they have a long history of underpaying and unfair scheduling? Or, if you’re told the team is family, but there’s an unwritten rule, everyone works six days a week when weekends off is supposed to be the norm?
Your last bit of career intelligence cannot be your previous job search two years ago or longer. You may be your roadblock to success from this point on. The more you know about specific companies, the more time you save applying to undesirable companies.
Knowing as much as you can about a company can inform your job search strategy in three ways:
- What is keeping you unemployed for longer than six months?
- What actions can you change today to get you more interviews tomorrow?
- How can you avoid employers that are not a fit for you?
Here are seven obstacles to remove today to accelerate your job search:
1. You are unaware your industry requires a vaccination status on your resume.
Although constant changes in vaccination requirements seem fluid at the moment, you’ll need to know some employers consider that lack of one on your resume is a deal-breaker. You don’t want to go for months without knowing the single most requirement at the moment has kept your resume from being seen. You can’t focus on one regulation stating not all employers will require employees not to be vaccinated. You’ll need to keep up with the who and where vaccines are required or excluded.
2. You thought “The Great Resignation” was a ride, fraternity, sorority, or employment status.
If your resume and online presentation were bad before everyone seemingly got on board, employers would continue to ignore you when you enter the fray. How you show yourself in all facets of the job search matters significantly, and “The Great Resignation” ride or membership is not free. It will require implementing strategy and thought in clearly presenting yourself as the employer’s job description prescription.
3. Your career narrative has little value.
When your accomplishments, results, awards, or acknowledgments aren’t listed or demonstrated anywhere, it makes it hard for an employer or recruiter to choose you over someone who does. One of the hardest things for so many job seekers is to show how valuable they are on their sleeves.
All of your marketing materials and networking conversations should be clear on how you will add value to them, the team, and the organization. Yes, you’ll need to show how you’ve done it, but your narrative must present how you’ll do it for them.
4. No one is championing you.
If your value is not apparent to no one, what you say about yourself matters very little. Telling what you’ve done has some value, but someone who has benefitted from your abilities ten times your credibility. It would be best to have relevant and recent references for their testimony about you that will connect with an employer’s curiosity about you.
One of the most powerful tools of your LinkedIn profile should be the recommendations you receive. Past bosses or mentors could put their praises about you on LinkedIn that could be easily verified. Have them be specific and provide examples related to the opportunities relevant to your job search.
5. You wear past job-related grief to interviews.
It doesn’t take a seasoned HR manager to see you are still holding on to being fired, laid off, or a bad boss. Even if you were mistreated, you can’t take your issues to your next employer. Good mental health is essential to having confidence as evidence to perform the job. Employers won’t hire someone who lacks confidence or care about what is at the root. You must come to interviews as if you’re ready to start with a fresh slate.
6. You lack clarity about what you want.
People will help you more frequently and effectively if you know what you want. You’ll need clarity for every stage of the hiring process. People you ask for job leads will help you best if you know the exact position you want. You negotiate your compensation package more effectively when you’re clear about the market rate and what you want.
Your network can connect you to the right people faster if you know what company and position you want. Before starting your job search, become clear about what you like about your next job. You’ll find that clarity will clear your career pathways, breed more confidence, and make any transition no matter the turbulence in the job market.
7. Unclear in answering a pandemic question
Since the beginning of the pandemic, most employers have been asking job candidates what they’ve done to upskill or re-skill. If you cannot give a clear answer, the interviewer will make assumptions unfavorable to your candidacy.
The job search advice you gave three months ago may not apply today. If you applied to jobs in healthcare last May, why would you use the same strategies to apply to a manufacturing job in November? Knowing and understanding the frequent change via the news could be the difference in knowing when to zig when others zag—or knowing that a reference from 10 years ago maybe irrelevant for a job you need today. Not knowing how you come across during interviews invites unnecessary speculation about your capabilities. One of the main obstacles you can always go around is using the intelligence you gain and changing what will get you in front of more employers.