Did you know that Australians change jobs about every two or three years? A comprehensive ABS survey in late 2012 of labour mobility has found 56% of Australia’s 11.5 million workers have been in their jobs fewer than five years and 20% have been in their jobs less than a year.
Many job changers move voluntarily and one common reason is the desire to change and be in tune with trends and technology and market changes. But that apparently does not apply to their job search methods. Most job seekers lean towards old fashioned search methods and these out-dated search techniques can contribute to long term unemployment.
As technology moves forward, our job search options must move forward as well. What worked for you 10 years ago will unlikely get you to an interview today.
Here are 8 typical, tell-tale, old school job search techniques that you should stop if you don’t want to be seen as a dinosaur and, more importantly, if you want to improve your chances of getting hired.
#1 The Quantity vs. Quality Job Search Technique
This one is particularly popular with Gen X and mature-aged job seekers – send out dozens of applications and someone will eventually bite. However, all this does is force you to send out more than a few mediocre applications to dozens of companies you know nothing about. Don’t do that! Try to focus on just a handful of jobs that you really want, and then research and submit targeted applications. Submitting one quality application to one employer goes a lot further than dozens of so-so resumes to dozens of employers.
#2 The One Style Only Searching Technique
Many people make the mistake of using just one technique when searching for jobs. With the technology available at your fingertips it would be foolish to stop at just one. Use several different techniques and methods to find the perfect job for you. Take advantage of the networking opportunities that social networking has created. For example, set up a blog and include contact information for potential employers. You’d be surprised at how many people have been successful using non-traditional methods of job hunting.
#3 Making Assumptions about Hiring Practices
Assuming that no one hires around the holidays, for example, is a long held assumption that can leave you without a job. When you keep your search going during the holiday period you are putting yourself ahead of everybody else. Hiring managers will have more time to pour over resumes during the slower time leading up to and after the holidays as their workloads tend to slow down.
#4 The Generic One Flavour Technique
Most Hiring Managers and recruiters are bombarded with generic application documents that are often mass sent by desperate job seekers trying out silly ways to place their applications. Job seekers who use the same resume and cover letter over and over again are going to get the same amount of effort in return — little to none.
Generic applications will not enable hiring managers to assess how you would fit into their company culture. You’re certainly not showing any personality with your generic ‘one flavour technique’. Generic applications also hint to employers early on that you might be a little lazy. This lack of passion suggests you would settle for working anywhere, which greatly damages your chances of working where you want.
My strong suggestion on this point to any jobseeker is that your resume and cover letter should always have an element that gives employers a glimpse into your personality and helps them feel confident that they’re hiring a quality worker who fits into their company culture.
#5 The Online Only Technique
I tell this to nearly all my clients at some stage of the job search coaching process: when you apply online, you’re competing against hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of other online submissions. And guess what? They all look the same.
So how do you expect to stand out as an amazing candidate in a sea of identical resumes, goals and cover letters? The ‘Online Only Technique’ is just too much of a hit-or-miss approach. You have to do more if you really want the job. My Tip is to leap-frog your way over the hundreds of cookie-cutter online submissions. Find out who the hiring manager is and drop them a line. A call or an email is a lot better than filling out an online form. Another option is to write a letter and mail your resume. Make it professional and unique, and address it to the person who will make the hiring decision.
#6 The Just One Internet-based Job Search Board Technique
Yes and no. All job engines are no longer created equal. Where before there were just a few job search engines, now there are at least 20 – 30 big ones. There has also been a rise in the number of job search aggregator or meta search sites that trawl job boards, corporate websites and social media communities, such as LinkedIn, on behalf of job seekers. Examples include Indeed, Gumtree and Adzuna, which claims access to over half a million job ads. The aggregators have more jobs than the job boards, and pull from multiple sources. No matter how finely you hone your job query, you’ll probably be presented with duplicate jobs by an aggregator. So mix it up and don’t just use one job board.
# 7 The Worst – The LinkedIn Only Technique
With over 269 million members, LinkedIn is certainly a global and a market leading employment resource for any professional. However, don’t obsess over LinkedIn and avoid the typical LinkedIn overexposure. LinkedIn is a busy place, but not the answer to all your job search problems. LinkedIn is crowded with recruiters and other hiring professionals who spend a lot of money each month on their LinkedIn subscriptions. Their tolerance to desperados and LinkedIn trolls and spammers is very low. Don’t get blacklisted. My Tip: Use LinkedIn with measure and moderation to preserve your professional image only apply for LinkedIn jobs after you have checked their validity.
# 8 The Yesterdays Job Post Technique
It’s sad but true. Many jobs that get published have already been circulating for a while. There are a number of reasons that this happens: internal referrals; head hunters who are on the phone 24/7; mistakes made by the job boards; word-of-mouth spreading the job. The job may also simply be posted so that the company can be seen to be offering equal opportunities to everyone. My Tip: if you really want a job in a certain field or with a particular company, be proactive. Get to know the hiring managers or HR people. Do some cold calling. Ask around. Ask for permission to stay in touch and get early access to updates and opportunities. You want to be fishing for the best jobs before they’re announced to the masses.
There are many new jobs out there now that weren’t around 10 years ago, or even 5. One example is in Social Media. It employs many thousands of people. These new positions had to come from somewhere, and I am confident that many people have switched career paths, recognising the way their own experience or skillsets were transferrable into these new enterprises. So, while you shouldn’t cast your net so wide as to be fruitless, consider fields that are related to yours in some way.
These are the 8 most common mistakes I see people making. If you know of any more, let us know, and if you are an expert in the HR field with some advice to offer, tune in and provide your comments, insight and tips. And, whatever you do always remember to hunt wisely!