From explainers around ‘toxic’ workplaces to guides on navigating redundancies, we’ve spent the past few months acutely focused on changes in your career and how you can best move through them. And while we’ve looked a lot at ending jobs (or wanting to end a job), we’ve spent less time looking at new opportunities. So, we thought we’d rectify that here.
Recently, we sought out the advice of SEEK’s Career Coach, Leah Lambart, about the biggest mistakes Aussies tend to make when it comes to applying for new jobs. Here’s what they are, and how to avoid them.
The biggest mistakes you’re making when applying to new jobs
Not knowing what you want:
Just like dating, it’s important you take a minute to think about what you want from a new job before you start meeting with people. Lambart shared that ahead of any job search, you should “make sure you ask yourself what’s most important to you and apply this to your search to save you time and stress in the long run”.
“These could be things like what activities do you want to spend your time on, how much flexibility you need in your job (ie. flexible hours, commute time, WFH options, travel or after hours commitments), what culture you will thrive in and of course the salary you need to meet your financial needs. Filtering your job search by salary and location will ensure you get the best job matches,” she said.
Ignoring your soft skills:
Sure, you might understand how to use Excel but don’t minimise the importance of the soft skills you’ve developed throughout the length of your career.
Lambart highlighted that these skills “can be taken from one role to another”. They make you a more attractive candidate, in fact.
“These can include things like critical thinking, collaboration, negotiation or leadership skills,” Lambart shared.
“If you need help understanding the types of roles that would utilise your transferable skills, then there are different resources available to you, like the skills tool that can be found on SEEK Career Advice or even searching for skills assessment resources online.”
Don’t ‘pray and spray’:
“This is a common term used by recruiters and hiring managers when they see job seekers applying for multiple jobs across various job functions, industries and levels,” Lambart shared.
“Although you may think you’re doing the right thing by being open to anything, this approach can send the wrong message. It can also be a total time waster if you are not applying for jobs that don’t suit your experience or basic needs such as desired salary range and location. I recommend that job seekers get clear on their ‘best fit’ role first and then use the appropriate filters and keywords to narrow down their search to find the most relevant job matches.”
In the end, you don’t want to end up in a job that’s completely wrong for you, so take a minute to really consider it before you apply.
Doing a copy + paste job on your applications:
Yes, people can tell.
If it’s a job that you’re really interested in, why not spend the extra few minutes really tailoring the application so you’re putting your best foot forward? Generic cover letters are easy to spot and won’t impress as much as you’re likely hoping.
“When you find a great role that suits your skills, experience, location and salary expectations, you’ll get a much better outcome if you read the job ad carefully and highlight the key attributes that the employer is seeking,” Lambart said.
“It’s then important to reflect this in your resume and cover letter, provided of course that you can back this up in an interview. Recruiters and hiring managers are likely to be scanning your resume for keywords, so it is important to reflect the language used in the job ad in your application. For example, if the job ad refers to ‘client service’ then you might like to change any references in your resume from ‘customer service’ to ‘client service’ to reflect this. Likewise, crafting a well-written, tailored cover letter for that particular organisation and role will help you stand out from the crowd.”
According to data from SEEK, some 55 per cent of Aussies have shared they put off the job application process because they find it daunting. It also found that only a quarter (27 per cent) are excited by the job-hunting process and that 55 per cent have put off searching for a job because it’s too time intensive.
While these tips will certainly not make the process move any faster, they may help you cut out unnecessary steps and stop you from wasting time on job applications that aren’t really worth it for you.