There are many aspects to searching for a job that are intuitive, but there are also many times where our intuition steers us in the wrong direction. This can be extremely frustrating, as we take action that seems like it would increase our odds of getting hired only to find diminished results. Today we are going to look at some common ways that our intuition wrongs, and look at some alternatives to taking intuitive action.
Apply everywhere! This is an extremely common mistake. We often think that increasing the number of companies that could hire us means that we are increasing the number of companies that will hire us. Numerically this makes sense, but it often has the reverse effect. In reality quality is far more important than quantity. If you are applying to a bunch of different companies you will be incapable of truly putting the effort and care into your applications that they need. You also may find yourself applying for jobs that you don’t even want, which will negatively affect all of your applications.
Instead of sending out endless applications, try only sending applications to jobs that you really want. Give yourself a hard cap of three applications a week, and stick to it. If you are only allowed to apply to three jobs a week you will carefully consider and research each position, so when you do go to apply you will really care about the application. You will be better informed, more caring, and more thorough. This one carefully constructed application is worth more than 10 quickly crafted ones.
Acting quickly! It is easy to think of applications as a race, if another qualified candidate gets their application in before you there isn’t going to be an open position. So you send your applications in as soon as you see a position open up. This seems like a great idea, but in reality it is probably hurting your odds. If you apply within an hour of a position opening up it will be clear that you spent (at most!) an hour on your application. Instead of sending everything out as soon as you can, spend a couple days working on your application and send it in once it is ready. This will give you time to customize everything so when you do send in an application it will be a great one.
Aiming too high. We are often told to aim high and see what happens, which is great when it works out. However, it is very rare that people get hired for jobs that they are not qualified for. Applying for jobs that you are underqualified means that you will be rejected from a higher percentage of jobs you apply for. This is bad on a number of levels. One, it means that you are wasting time you could use applying for jobs you could work in order to apply for jobs that you cannot. Two, it will inevitably decrease your morale. It does not feel good to get rejected, so placing yourself in situations where rejection is likely is going to make it harder to shoot for the jobs that you would excel in.
Intuition is a powerful thing, but can be a misleading one as well. As you go through the job search process try to avoid these intuitive mistakes and you will find your success rate will increase substantially!