Like anything, you’ve got to have a game plan. When looking for a new role, you’ve got to know how to maximise your opportunities, while knowing what risks to avoid. Simple things, like sending a CV with typos to larger faux pas, or not doing your preparation for interview, can rule you immediately out of a process.
But you know those tips already. Let’s focus on those subtle, yet really critical, actions you may do instinctively that are ruling you out of your dream job.
Don’t flood the market with your CV: Yes, you’re in the mind-set. You’ve sorted your CV out. You’ve blocked off a Tuesday evening to apply for jobs. It’s tempting to send applications to every single one of the 35 roles you’ve found online? Sure, you’ll get a better hit rate, won’t you?
No. In today’s market, you don’t want to ever be seen as an active job seeker, even in fact if you are. You want your approach to be seen as considered and strategic. If a recruiter opens their inbox to see 10 applications from you for a range of roles spanning from Paralegal to Senior Privacy Counsel, they’re probably going to wonder why you’ve done that. It may lead them to think that you’re overly keen to get a job – which can raise questions. And to think, you just thought you were doing the right thing…
Don’t be flaky – say yes to opportunities that interest you and no to ones that don’t: You have a right to choose. Of course you do, but you need to be careful that you’re not wasting other people’s time, even if unintentionally. Don’t ‘go’ to an interview if you know there is no chance of you ever accepting the role. Don’t pull out of an interview 5 mins before because you’ve ‘given it some thought’. Invest everything in the opportunities you want to pursue.
In a similar manner, if you’re only half committed to the job search itself, you could end up closing down the relationships you need to provide you with the next opportunity. Aside from recruiters, if you meet with companies regarding roles you’re not serious about, this will affect your reputation in the market. It’s absolutely OK to decline a job opportunity for a valid reason, but not ‘being ready to leave’ your current organisation will likely cause you issues in the future, if you do start to look again.
Don’t take calls when you’re busy, or even worse, at a social event: If you’re in it to win it, it’ll take your full commitment. When you’re in job search mode, you need to be on 24/7 – recognising that at any point, anyone could call you. Think about it – you’ve applied to numerous recruiters, in-house talent acquisition departments and hiring managers, all of which could be based anywhere around the world. Applied to a US company? Expect a call in the evening. Either be prepared to chat, or set up a professional voicemail that asks for a return call number and email.
Don’t use a new job as a bargaining tool: Likewise, when you’ve got a new role up your sleeve, it might be tempting to test your value, by using a new job opportunity as a bargaining tool to get a promotion or pay rise. But think about it – what happens after this? Even if you do get a pay rise and stay, there will always be the question mark over your loyalty. Plus, it’s likely all of the reasons that forced you to want to leave in the first place will become apparent again, at some point, so stick with your initial decision and don’t sway!
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