I’ve been working with job seekers for several years now, and I think I’ve probably heard every question out there. I’ve noticed there are four questions that are frequently asked, so I thought I would share my favorite answers.
Question: I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs online and I’m not having any success.
Answer: Sorry, but you’re not going about your job search the right way. Only 10% of online applications make it through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and reach the eyes of a recruiter. There are two key changes you need to make. 1) Create a short list of target companies that have the culture, work ethic, and other key criteria you seek in a company. Then pursue those companies. Don’t be chasing squirrels by just looking for jobs already posted on websites. 2) NETWORK. Yes, you may think that’s scary, but in many cases, it’s simply reaching out to people you already know. Literally everyone you know has a job, knows people who have jobs, and frequently know people who work at those companies on your short list. And, if you can’t find a contact within a company, see Question 4.
Question: I’ve created my short list of target companies, but I don’t have a contact at my top company.
Answer: Ok, so you don’t already know someone at the target company and can’t find someone else who may know someone there. Well, make a new connection at that company! Go into LinkedIn, look up people who do what you do at your target company and reach out to speak with them. Trust me. They’ll be receptive. Ask them about their work. Ask them about working there. Ask them how they got there or what advice they would give you. Not only will you learn something and meet someone new, but you might just become a top candidate for a job at your dream company!
Question: I’ve been with my company for 15+ years. I feel stale and wonder if anyone will be interested in me.
Answer: I both love and hate this question. I hate it because it speaks to the issue of ageism that is so rampant now. I love it because it gives me an opportunity to point out all the knowledge and experience they bring to the table and can start boosting confidence. As to being ‘stale’, take a refresher class or earn a certification that can be evidence that your knowledge and skills are fresh.
Question: I’ve recently started a new job, but it isn’t ‘as described’ or ‘my dream job just opened up’.
Answer: Sometimes, you’ve taken a job and learn in short order it’s not all it was advertised to be. You may have been misled by those interviewing you, intentionally or not. In the other most common scenario, you took the job after a long job search and simply needed a job and this looked good. But several months later, you have an opportunity for a job that is your dream job. People feel guilty and awkward looking for a job so quickly. It’s never too soon to look for a job and it’s never wrong to pursue your dream job. How you go about this, both in talking to the prospective employer and if you leave your current employer depends on how you communicate this. To the prospective employer, simply telling them this is your dream job, and while you regret how soon you might be leaving your current position, you know you couldn’t let this opportunity pass you by. To your current employer, pretty much the same message. Trust me. Nearly everyone has had this experience. I remember passing this opportunity up once. After starting a new job, I received a call from a company I had really wanted to work with. I declined being interviewed, soon learned the job I was in was toxic, and have always regretted the choice to decline. So, go ahead. Pursue that dream job. Nothing may come of it, but on the other hand, you could end up in your dream job!
What are your biggest questions around the job search? Enter them in the Comments and I’ll answer them.
Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.