The adage ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ is the case of many job seekers today.
Yes, it is wise to send out CV’s in search for a job, but it is wiser to take your time to prepare before doing that. For example, for a particular role posted on our job site, we have over 950 CVs submitted.
To be sincere, job-search could be a really frustrating process; from the anxiety of preparing for an interview to the uncertainty of getting any job at all.
I know all you want to do as a job-seeker is to just keep sending those CVs after which you hope and pray you get an invite.
That’s not bad at all, but do you know you can save yourself some amount of job-search stress; make the process less tiring and more productive? I know you are surprised, this is how it works:
When you just hurry into job-search, you will definitely leave yourself open to lots of mistakes that might cost you your dream job or even thwart the effort you have put into the job-search process.
The right approach to searching for a job is knowing exactly what you want. Knowing what you want helps you to be focused, and appropriately position yourself for the right kind of opportunities.
Job-seekers often make lots of mistakes during their job-search that can even cost them the chances of getting a job. Relax, take a deep breath and consider your answers to these 7 key questions before you begin your job search.
1. What job would I like to do?
If you can provide an answer to this question, then you can say that your job-search battle is half won, because your answer to this question will serve as a foundation on which other answers will be built upon.
The major mistake most desperate job-seekers make is not having a choice at all. It is not okay to just be carried away by the fact that you don’t have a job and need one and because of that you just want to apply for any job opening you come across regardless of the field or your interest. You may think your interest doesn’t matter, you just want to work and you can do anything. The truth is that you cannot do anything or better put you cannot be interested in anything.
If you by mistake find yourself in a job that you got with your mindset of ‘I can do anything’, down the line you will definitely find yourself struggling with your job that will even lead to job dissatisfaction at the end of the day, then why get the job in the first place.
We know what it feels to search for a job, but notwithstanding, you need to look beyond the frustration and look at the long-term plan for your career. Just like we said earlier, the job-search process could be easier depending on your approach to it. The key to building a successful career path is knowing what you would love to do, it is fundamental. So before you even start applying for any job at all take out the time to outline what you love to do, this will help you discover your career path.
If you are finding it challenging to answer this question, you can follow the follow these guidelines and ask yourself these questions:
- What is that one thing I can do any day any time?
- What are the things that I can easily with little or no supervision?
- What do I find interesting?
- What is that one that one thing that I will feel good doing even without being paid?
- What am I passionate about?
These guidelines will help you discover what career path you would love to pursue without necessarily hunting for any job.
2. Am I qualified for the position?
After you must have found out the kind of job that you are passionate about, then this should be next question for you to tackle. It is one thing to love and be passionate about something, and it is another thing to be qualified.
So before you even think of applying for a job online or anywhere, you should be able to access yourself to know if you are even eligible to apply for that job in the first place. Usually when a job vacancy is posted it comes together with a job description that states the qualification, experience and all. So when applying for a job don’t ignore the job description and send your CV regardless, make sure you pay attention to details to see if you fit in or not. There is no need applying for a job that you know you are not qualified for because that could be a total waste of time.
If you are passionate about a particular job field and you find out that you are mostly not qualified for the jobs openings you see, it is not a time for you to feel bad about it, but it is time for you to either work towards becoming more qualified or search for other job opportunities that don’t require that level of qualification. You can look at getting the following jobs if you are fresh graduate seeking to build a career path:
- Be on the lookout for volunteering jobs b. Search and apply for internship opportunities
- Search and apply for entry-level jobs
The qualifications required to get this kind of job is usually basic and they are quite accessible than other kinds of jobs.
3. Can my CV get me an interview invite?
The answer to this question can determine to a large extent if you are going to get a job or not. The moment you understand that your CV is your personal branding and marketing tool that is the moment you really start searching for a job. You should be able to look at your CV and admit that you just don’t have a CV for the sake of having it, but you have a CV because that is what you need to convince the employer that you are the right person for the job.
You really need to be able to believe in your CV, but you can’t believe in your CV if you know that it is not good enough. If you have looked at this question, and have come to the conclusion that your CV cannot get you an interview invite, then the right thing to do is not to feel down about it, but it is for you to look out for ways to make your CV appealing enough to get you an invite.
Even a professional CV will still require some tweaks here and there to fit into a particular job position. To align your CV to fetch you the job you want you can do the following:
- Take a critical look at the job description for that particular job
- See how the job description matches your skills, qualification and interest
- Make sure you infuse some keywords used in the job description into your CV for that particular position.
- Follow up on the latest CV formats and adopt the one that best suits the job you are applying for.
- Use a CV rewrite service
4. How prepared am I for the interview?
Rather than going for an interview because you have an interview invite, consider going with the mindset that you are going to let the employer believe in what you have to offer the company. You should be prepared to get hired even from your interview preparation process.
Your going for an interview should be purpose driven at all times. Instead of just going and standing the chance of not getting the job, it is better for you to prepare for your interview. Since you know that this is the opportunity you have to land your dream job, then you should be ready to take advantage of the opportunity by preparing for the interview.
Preparing for an interview before the day of the interview will help you gain confidence that will even help your performance during the interview. You can prepare for an interview by doing the following things:
- Research for top interview questions and answers
- Use a job interview checklist to test your level of preparedness
- Research job interview do’s and don’ts to make sure you are on track
- Research the job role and the company
5. How can I fit into the new work culture and environment?
It is important for you to understand that getting a job is one thing and thriving and remaining productive within a work environment is another thing. You need to look at the work culture and environment of the company you would want to work for and see how well your personality fits into the culture and environment.
You should be able to know if you enjoy working in a smaller organization or a larger one. Would you thrive or get stressed out working in a high-tasking and pressured environment? Would you like to take a job that gives you the opportunity to interface with customers or would you like to work interfacing your work tools alone? These questions are important to help you find out the best kind of environment you can be most productive in.
You should also take your working style into consideration when searching for a job. Examine yourself to know if you can work in a team or if you would rather prefer to spend long hours working on your own. These things are very important because they have a way of affecting your productivity and your general mindset towards the job.
6. What can I offer?
This is one question that you will have to answer at one point or the other during your career journey. The moment you can identify the unique thing that you bring to the table that is when you start becoming confident about your relevance to a particular company. Before you even apply to a particular company, you should take your time to research about the company’s goal, vision and even their areas of weakness, then you can figure out what you can offer the organization to achieve its goal.
Instead of merely listing virtues in your CV like; result oriented, hardworking, team player, and so on which anyone can do, you should rather think and focus on some more tangible values that you add to the company like; letting your employer know some instances where you showed great qualities, and what sets you apart from other candidates applying for the same position.
7. What do I aim at achieving in years to come?
You should decide on your reason for applying for a particular job even if you have not gotten the job yet. You should also be able to understand your purpose and why you will wish to work in a particular place. Are you looking forward to growing or developing your career working in a particular place or are you ready to just work for the sake of working?
Are you after a getting a promotion, or you look forward to working in a place that fosters work-life balance? These are things you should think about before applying for any position at all.
You should focus on the skill you wish to develop and how working in that particular environment can help you achieve your career goals, and if working in a particular company will not foster your career growth then that environment is not the best environment for you, so don’t waste your time applying for a job there.
The period of your job-search can be likened to a research in a way to determine what the future of your career will be. No researcher will do a study without knowing what he wants to achieve at the end of the day or his reason for the research. The period of your job-search is a time for you to discover what you want to achieve in your career.
Your answers to these questions will better align you towards what you want to achieve from your future employment and the resources you need to arm yourself within your job-search.