When I ask my clients to state what, according to them, is the main reason why they are still unemployed, I hear often two things: the ongoing effects of the economic crisis and an insufficient level of Dutch.
When we drill down to the core of their job search, however, we discover that there is much more to it than just the economic situation and their linguistic skills.
Based on my career coaching experience, I have made a list of reasons why job seekers are still searching for a job. Take a look and see if you fall into these traps too – and find out how not to.
› Not having a job-hunting strategy in place
Huh, a job-hunting strategy? Do I need one? Yes, you do!
Having a job-hunting strategy means that you are crystal clear about what kind of job you are looking for, where you can find it, and the steps that are necessary in order to get the job you want.
Having a strategy means that you are not searching in the dark, but are pursuing your goal with full awareness and control. Only then you can adapt other tools such as your CV and LinkedIn profile so that these support you in your search.
Having a strategy in place enables others (recruiters, friends, colleagues, etc.) to understand what are you looking for and help you find a position.
› Not being consistent with your job search
A strategy in itself is not enough; you need to apply it in a consistent way. That means that every day, week, fortnight, etc., you repeat the same steps, over and over again.
Only then does your strategy have a chance of working. If you have only tried once or twice to arrange an introduction interview and it didn’t work, that’s just normal. You need to do it many, many times.
First of all, that increases the probability of arranging one, and secondly, you get better at it through practice, therefore increasing again your chances of getting invited.
› Not customising your CV & cover letter applying
Many of my clients have one standard CV that they use to apply for different jobs. Often they will customise the cover letter, but leave the CV untouched. What a pity!
Often recruiters will look first at your CV and then read the cover letter, so you need to grab their attention immediately. What you want to show via your CV is that you are THE candidate for the job
When you send a standard CV, you leave room for interpretation by someone who might not always have the time or the desire to make the effort to imagine how you would fit.
› Not having an appealing, clear and complete LinkedIn profile
Your online presence is very important to your job-hunting success.
Make sure that your profile is complete, your photo professional and your summary appealing. You will then move higher in the LinkedIn search results and contribute positively to your online brand. Yes, when you are looking for a job, you are your own brand, your own best product that you want to sell.
› Not networking online
Once you have a great LinkedIn profile, you need to go out there and show it to the world so that people will start noticing you. The best way is to join groups on LinkedIn and contribute to the discussions. You can also start your own discussions.
› Not networking face-to-face on a regular basis
I know this can be a tough one, especially for expats who have just arrived. I have experienced that myself when I was starting my own business.
I know, however, from my experience and from my clients who got a new job via networking that there is nothing like personal contact. It is said that people first need to know you, like you, trust you, then they will buy from you or, in job-hunting terms, hire you.
So go to different networking gatherings and FOLLOW UP! Schedule meetings, coffees, lunches, etc. It works!
› Not spending enough time on your job search
When asked how much time they spend searching for a job, many of my clients say on average one to two hours per day. Sometimes only a couple of hours per week!
If you are already employed and looking for a new job, then this might be understandable, but if you don’t have one yet, it should be your full-time job to get one. You need to spend five to six hours a day on your job search.
› Spending too much time behind a computer
Also, you need to be spending your time in an effective way, and sitting behind a computer is NOT the most effective way. If may be safe, but you need to be close to the fire, not far away from it.
This ties into my point 6 regarding networking. You need to get out. Think of scheduling interviews with hiring managers, head hunters, etc. Even going out to a social event, unrelated to your job search, and talking about your situation can be much more effective than sitting behind your computer. Ask other people for help so that they can support you in your job search.
› Not being able to “sell” yourself during an interview
Once you finally get an interview, you might be so stressed and worried that you don’t present your best side. My best advice is to prepare yourself really well for an interview.
Ask a friend to role-play it with you. Be confident and aware of your strengths. Interviewing is like dating: if the recruiter sees you are desperate, he or she will subconsciously think you are less attractive than the other candidate, who may be less strong based on other factors, but more confident in her- or himself.
› Not having a positive mindset
Positive attitude is everything. Looking for a job can be a very demotivating and frustrating process in itself. I know that, from when I was looking for a job at the beginning of my career. Maybe you have been looking for a job for a long time now and are feeling frustrated and depressed.
This is when you need to remember that this will not last forever; eventually you will get a job. Having a positive mindset helps you along the way. It assists you to regain your courage and energy after negative response and keep going.
The best way to maintain a positive frame of mind is to formulate an empowering sentence that you repeat to yourself couple of times a day like a mantra.
It can be: “I will get a job! I am learning from these experiences. I am the best marketing manager, accountant, project manager, etc.” My mantra that helps me to grow my business is: “Never give up!”