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Recruiters expose the mistakes that could kill your job hunt

Jessica Yun
·5-min read
(Source: Getty)
(Source: Getty)

Poor preparation, applying for too many jobs, narrow thinking, and a lack of attention to detail are the biggest mistakes job hunters can make, recruitment experts have revealed.

Though some jobs are returning in certain industries and sectors, the employment market remains highly competitive, with the unemployment rate currently at 7 per cent.

But job hunters are hurting their chances further by making some fatal mistakes, career experts have said.

Don’t go too hard, too fast

Workers who have recently lost their job might go into an ‘application frenzy’ – but this could backfire.

“It can be tempting to rush into your job search and apply for any and every job you see available,” Hays ANZ managing director Nick Deligiannis told Yahoo Finance.

While you shouldn’t delay the application process, your best bet is to consider your future career.

“Take some time first to think about your longer-term career goals and ambitions, then devise a career plan to ensure your next job moves you closer to realising those goals,” Deligiannis said.

After you assess that, you might find yourself gunning for a different kind of role that lets you develop new skills and do more of the work you enjoy, he added.

“Or perhaps you need to gain experience in a different industry. You may even decide you want to take your career into an entirely new direction.”

businessman working with documents in the office
Don't rush your job search. (Source: Getty)

Keywords matter

It’s why your CV matters more than ever. Showing off your industry experience, using the right keywords in your resume, and including “quantifiable evidence” in the form of “impactful numbers” – such as a percentage increase in sales or revenue, clients or website visitors – will speak volumes, Deligiannis added.

But on the other hand, forgetting these details will mean you’ll lose out to other job applicants in this competitive market.

“Underestimating the value of the smaller details is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make,” said Indeed head of career insights Jay Munro.

“It’s important to remember that for every role you apply for, there will be many other candidates applying alongside you, so you’ll want to do everything you can to stand out amongst the crowd.”

Do your homework

As well as updating your resume with relevant details, do your research on the company beforehand, he advised.

“It’s worth reading key industry publications and news sites so as to familiarise yourself with what leading individuals or organisations in the field are doing, as this will see you well-equipped when speaking to your potential new employer,” he said.

Know your strengths – and shout about it

Switching careers? Identify your transferable skills, and highlight these in your application and in your interview, Munro said.

Your CV should be mirrored by your online profile – or whatever is stated on your LinkedIn profile. Any inconsistencies might potentially raise a red flag. Echoing Munro, LinkedIn’s Shiva Kumar told Yahoo Finance said job candidates should avoid being complacent or under-prepared.

“Ensure your LinkedIn profile is updated and showcases your achievements,” he said.

Image with LinkedIn website on the screen of a Macbook laptop
Don't forget to mirror your LinkedIn profile with your resume. (Source: Getty)

Done any new courses lately or learnt a skill? Add those to your profile and resume.

“Make sure your job application stands out by researching the company and writing a compelling narrative demonstrating how you can add value to the role. When you get the interview call, prepare for the interview by practicing your pitch and key points that you want to highlight.”

It pays to know your worth, because according to Gartner HR Practice vice president Aaron McEwan, business confidence is at historically low levels.

“This means that employers will be reluctant to take on new permanent employees until confidence returns to the market,” he told Yahoo Finance. So don’t be shy about making your value proposition known.

Think big

The pandemic has ushered in a new era of remote work, meaning ‘knowledge workers’ have access to employers around the world, and vice versa. Focusing on just one location, industry or “model” of employment – the way you might have hunted for a job before the pandemic – might limit your opportunities.

“Many traditional approaches to work are being experimented with. Many employers will be open to working remotely, even from different cities and states (maybe countries),” said McEwan.

Though companies might not yet be employing full-time workers, many are hiring contractors as they wait to see how the economic recovery goes.

“So taking on gigs or contingent opportunities may be a way of securing employment in the short term that could lead to a more permanent position over time.”

adult education, student in headphones working on computer in the library or classroom of university
Don't put yourself in a box, says Adecco Australia MD Kelly Van Nelson. (Source: Getty)

So if you’re not already thinking about upskilling or reskilling to make yourself more attractive to employers, it’s time to start.

“The biggest mistake we are currently seeing is a lack of flexibility in candidates,” said Adecco Australia managing director Kelly Van Nelson.

“The pandemic has accelerated many of the trends related to digitisation that have been underway for some time. As a result, the post pandemic climate will call not just for new types of work but also for a new type of worker.”

Employers will be looking for “digitally savvy and adaptable” job candidates that are looking to always learn and develop their skills, she added.

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