Are You Applying for the Wrong Jobs? 3 Ways to Make Sure
By LaShina Mack
The job search process can be quite tedious at best. In some cases, depending on your industry and location, it can be a much more excruciating experience. It doesn’t have to be. Yes, restrictive timelines can be a factor, which increases the stress and intensity of the search, but pro-activity and planning can help to ease these issues. The most important part of the job search process is to make sure that you are actually applying for the right jobs. This may sound elementary, but a lot of people make the faux pas of setting their sights on the wrong roles.
It does not matter how awesome you are, how much experience you have, and how many degrees you have under your belt. If you are applying for the wrong jobs, you just started a wasted time cycle where you are placing your eggs into the wrong basket. How can one ensure whether or not they are applying for the wrong positions? Review the following red flags to indicate whether or not you are doing this to yourself.
1. Misreading the Job Description. This should go without saying but unfortunately, most job applicants are guilty of this. That’s why the job of the recruiter is so difficult. They have to sort through a lot of resumes that don’t even meet the MINIMUM requirements. Not only should you review the qualifications and preferences, but it’s also important that you read the responsibilities.
The responsibilities or duties section of the job description will highlight the actual work you will be completing. If you have never done this type of work before, I highly recommend that you pass on the job, unless this is for an apprentice or intern position. The reason why is because the responsibilities part is generally a peek into the role itself, as well as what the hiring manager will require from you. It’s not the basic qualifications that will come up in the interview; your resume already covered those. It’s mainly the job responsibilities that will be addressed during the interview. If you are looking like a deer in the headlights as the hiring manager asks you direct questions about the duties required for the job, then you just wasted your time and theirs. That’s no good for any party involved.
So, make sure that the work mentioned in the role are things you can actually do. If you can’t, then apply for something different. Please don’t be misled by others who tell you, ‘Well, I didn’t know how to do “x” and I still got the job at XYZ company.’ That’s nice for them, however, that is the exception, not the rule. There are often factors that you may not be aware of in that hiring decision. So do yourself a favor and read the job description carefully.
2. Bulk Applying. For some, it might make sense to apply to as many jobs as possible. I’m not necessarily knocking that. However, to them, it’s a numbers game and their goal is to apply, apply, apply until something sticks. That’s a mistake. Especially, when you apply for like 3 to 4 jobs at the same company. Find a lane and stay in it. It makes HR believe that you are desperate for a job and not a career. They want people with staying power, not some random applicant that is just looking for a quick fix. U.S. companies lose billions each year due to employee turnover.
The last thing HR wants is someone that may appear to be a job hopper. Recruiters can see whether or not you might be a better fit for a different role. If you truly fit the bill, believe it or not, they will often reach out and tell you. Stop seeing it as a missed opportunity when you don’t apply for 100 jobs just for the sake of applying. Make sure that the jobs that you are applying for are a fit for your skill set. If you aim too low, you’re overqualified. If you aim too high, you are under-qualified. Maintain some balance in your job search process and carefully analyze each job you are applying for.
3. Jack/Jane of All Trades, Master of None. Self-confidence is a beautiful thing. Overconfidence is dangerous. It causes people to place unrealistic expectations upon themselves that they cannot deliver upon. Focus on what you are good at. We all have our areas of opportunity. That’s a given. But we need to be mindful that just because you have a vast background, it does not mean you should showcase every detail on your resume.
Your goal is to get the recruiter’s attention, not give them whiplash. Too much information could lead to overload and then disinterest. Danger, Will Robinson, danger! A cluttered resume where you are awesome in every single category can appear misleading. As great as you might be, as mentioned earlier, please pick a lane. Yes, you can be great in multiple categories, but make sure your resume has a flow to it so that these correlations make sense. This is more of a call to action to make sure your resume is a fit for the job versus just you being a fit.
The last thing you want to do is put off a vibe that you are “career confused.” A person that does not know what they want to do because they are supposedly good at everything. Recruiters find this person dangerous as well because they might jump ship if something better comes along.
Are the red flags listed here infallible? Absolutely not, but they are a start. Do a self-inventory to make sure that you aren’t suffering a severe case of FOMO, causing you to keep applying for the wrong positions. As long as you remain realistic, read the job descriptions in their entirety, ensure your resume fits the bill and make your selections based on your strengths versus your weaknesses, this will help you to get much farther in the job search process. Best of luck to you and your endeavors!
About the Author
LaShina Mack is the Founder of Resume Renewed and Premier Marketing Experts, LLC. She specializes in marketing, brand management, and career development services. In the corporate world, she has a diverse background working for reputable Fortune 500 organizations in the areas of retail, customer service, B2B, and government accounts. LaShina had been writing resumes as a freelancer for 15+ years prior to her company's launch in 2016. She has strong background in content development, online marketing, resume writing, creative design, campaign management, business consulting, and client acquisition. Feel free to follow or reach out to LaShina on Instagram or LinkedIn.