Ho hum…. Another day of job search (or maybe job search and work). If you feel this way, then chances are employers (and others!) will see you this way.
How do you know if you are a boring job applicant? And can you really do anything about it? Read on:
You force yourself to job search.
Does your day sound like this? Wake up, make coffee, turn the computer on, apply for jobs, maybe eat something, return to the computer, watch TV, go to sleep, REPEAT. Working doesn’t improve the routine, and it’s hard to get excited about doing this for long.
What To Do Instead: If you are having a hard time motivating yourself, then you are not doing what you need to be successful in your job search. Sure, there are going to be some lengthy applications or challenging resume tweaks, but in general, your job search should be about identifying opportunities and selling your skills to those providing them. If you can’t sell yourself on going full-steam ahead, you sure aren’t going to sell an employer on calling you for an interview! Look for the opportunities.
You don’t try looking in new places.
Often, clients indicate they can’t even find jobs to apply for – they look every day and see the same ads week in and week out. If this is the case, you are looking in the wrong place!
What To Do Instead: First, these are evergreen jobs – either the employer is always looking because they are not a great employer, or they are always looking, but not for you. Instead, think about ways you can reach employers you want to work for. Second, try contacting employers directly, contacting friends, relatives, and mentors to see who they know whose hiring, look at print publications (trade journals, newspapers, job service, the library), and staffing agencies or recruiters.
You do nothing besides job search (and work, if you are working).
Boooring…. What are you going to talk about during networking opportunities? Before an interview? In response to a question about your interests?
What To Do Instead: Besides giving you something interesting to think and talk about, it is good to have something to look forward to. Engaging in learning or doing something you enjoy will also keep your mind stimulated and sharp. Taking a break from job search and/or work can also benefit you by providing you with a fresh outlook when you return to your desk.
You can’t think of why anyone would read your cover letter.
Are you sending out the same cover letter to employer after employer? Have you looked at it until you are cross eyed? Chances are it might not get read by anyone, then. Or at least it won’t be as impactful as you need it to be.
What To Do Instead: Read some recent articles on what makes a good cover letter then start yours from scratch. If you can, ask for help from a professional (the little amount you spend will be well worth it!). At the very least, ask someone to review it for you and make suggestions about how to make it more engaging. Think about asking questions in your cover letter. For example, “I have always wondered.…” Share a brief anecdote. Use anything that will make you stand out in a positive light.
Your resume is black and white.
Black print in times news roman font – nothing puts the reader to sleep more quickly. Have you had the same resume, essentially unchanged for a few months? Do you only change some words or phrases here or there?
What To Do Instead: Change things up with a different font – Verdana, Calibri, Cambria, don’t go wild, but try highlighting your entire resume and changing the font. Introduce some color. Try dark blue headers or subheadings. Bold or italic or all caps can also make your resume pop. Use a text box to make key skills or other information stand out. Skim the internet for ideas: Type in “sample resume job title” and look at what comes back – don’t get overwhelmed, just review for components you can borrow.
You don’t look for jobs you love.
Sure, you may need to find a job ASAP – just to pay the bills. But, it is important to know what kind of job you would love so when you see it, you can make a career plan to get it.
What To Do Instead: If you know the jobs you are applying for now are a step toward your dream job, it will breathe new life into your job search. Keep your focus on the end goal – where you want to be, whether it is to get a job that is a stepping stone or if it is your dream job. This will energize your job search and employers WILL notice.
About the author
Mary Sherwood Sevinsky is a career and occupational consultant who is masters-prepared and certified. She is a business owner with nearly 20 years of experience in Corporate Management, Career Assessment & Counseling and in writing Career Articles and Educational Materials. She has worked as a corporate manager experienced in hiring, firing, and managing a staff of professionals with a multi-million dollar budget. Learn more about Mary and her services: www.life-works.info.
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