Four Mistakes To Avoid When Applying For A Job

 I have been hounded by many different types of people looking to find a job throughout my career. In that pursuit, many try to find shortcuts to get an edge over their peers. Although showing initiative and creativity are good things, there are some common mistakes that are made. Here are some things I suggest avoiding when job hunting.

1. Reaching Out To Management Before Doing Your Research

Management is busy. It’s a simple fact that many tend to ignore. If you are a candidate, realize that mass messaging managers on their social media might not always work. In my experience, many leaders receive the same “Do you have any job openings?” message multiple times a day.

Making a bold move like direct messaging management is not a bad idea, but make sure you researched the company, know there is an open position you want, and customize your message with a specific goal in mind.

2. Going Outside The Company's Hiring Workflow

A company's job announcement has probably been approved by its management team, even if the company is small and does not have a dedicated hiring manager or human resources department. The company also likely has workflows in place to handle hiring, such as an email address where all resumes are accumulated, pre-filtered and shortlisted, etc. Your instinct might be to try to go outside this workflow to stand out. I recommend resisting that urge.

If you send an application to any manager outside of this workflow, they will have to remember to incorporate your CV into the hiring workflow, and you risk your application being forgotten. A better way would be to apply through the proper channel and then follow up with an email or social media ping to try to stand out. Just keep mistake No. 1 in mind as you do so.

3. Relying On Family Referrals

When I’m contacted on behalf of a potential candidate by their friend, spouse or child, red flags start to fly. I believe it is a bad sign when anybody else except the candidate inquires about the job conditions or other requirements, especially with the CEO. Managers must avoid conflict of interest and nepotism at all costs.

The better strategy here is for you to apply for the position you want and kindly ask a colleague (not a family member) to mention that you have applied. Then, they can nudge the manager about considering giving you an interview without putting any sort of pressure on them.

4. Having A Messy Social Media Presence

Most managers who make hiring decisions check social media profiles, especially professional ones, such as LinkedIn. The worst-case scenario is when they receive a job application and the work experience doesn’t match what's online. If you have taken the time to update your CV and have not updated your profile online, I believe you risk not getting called in for an interview. From my perspective, this can show a lack of focus and discipline, which won’t mesh well with fast-paced working environments.

I've found the easiest way to make sure everything is up to date is to simply download your CV from your LinkedIn account and send that. This can help you ensure everything is up to date and relevant.

Ultimately, job seekers must understand that many companies, especially large ones, could see hundreds if not thousands of applications each month. This means they have a great sample size of the human resource market, and, just like anything else, it’s a bell curve. Everyone tends to float to the middle, so managers are looking for the outlier. In order to compete, you have to go above and beyond, which in the majority of cases means you have to want it more and be able to articulate that passion.

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