Mistakes you could be making when job searching

In an age of economic turbulence, searching for a job can be a long and arduous process

With research indicating that there are 23 applicants for every job vacancy in the UK, it can be hard work securing the job of your dreams; however, if you find yourself being unsuccessful time and time again, it could be time to look beyond the demand and start re-assessing your job-hunting strategy.

The truth is that your application and overall attitude towards your job search can have a big impact on your success or failure before you even reach the interview stage. If you are struggling to bag a job, ask yourself a few questions:

Have I proofread my application?

It sounds obvious, but a surprising number of people submit applications with spelling or grammatical errors. Not only does this show a lack of attention to detail but also it may prevent your application appearing on applicant tracking systems. Proofread your application every single time or ask a friend to do so on your behalf.

Is your cover letter generic?

With hundreds of resumes to go through, a cover letter is the first opportunity to make your application stand out to employers. Many people mistakenly re-use the same cover letter in every application they submit, meaning the letter is generic and non-specific to the role in question.

Tweak your cover letter each time, stating why you would be a good candidate for the position for which you are applying. State your strengths and how they make you a good match for this role. A generic cover letter stands out a mile and makes it appear that you are cutting corners.

Have you chased up your application?

Do not forget about your application after hitting ‘submit’. With stacks of other applications to go through, it is not unheard of for recruiters to misplace some.

If you do not hear back within a week or so of the closing date, it will not hurt to send a follow-up email querying whether your application has been safely received. This shows commitment on your part and provides you with clarification. Do not send more than one follow-up, however, as you run the risk of looking pushy.

Are you being secretive about your search?

The phrase ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is often all too true in recruitment. Do not be afraid to ask friends or family for recommendations or references at their firms – it is so much easier to land an interview when you have been referred internally. Be open about the fact that you are job hunting and you never know what opportunities might come to you.

Are you being over ambitious?

Ambition is never a bad thing, but it pays to be realistic when you are searching for a job. Keep in mind your qualifications and experience when applying. It is fine to go for a few ambitious roles but if these make up the majority of your search, you are likely to experience disappointment; instead, focus on jobs within your skill set.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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