It seems like a maze. You don’t know which path to take, which turn to make, and which tools to use. Searching for a job for the very first time can be an overwhelming experience.
I certainly remember the days when I was applying for jobs on a daily basis. Constantly enlarging my CV, submitting applications left and right, ignoring strict qualifications and requirements, and just trying to be considered for more and more career opportunities.
Looking back at those days now, I can certainly see which avenues I was pursuing correctly, and which I was blinded to. The nervousness and the eagerness to get a job can certainly cause many mistakes.
By working for the Middle East’s #1 Job Site, Bayt.com, I have also come to understand more deeply the tricks and tools that are most effective during a job search and application process.
Here are 18 of the most important lessons that will benefit all job seekers:
1. More is not always better
Many of us are faulty of this. We think that the more items and details we have on our CVs, the more impressive it is. But that is just wrong. If the employer is unable to quickly find the most relevant and most impressive details about a job candidate, they will quickly ignore the entire application.
2. Relevancy is key
This also relates to our tendency to do more and more. Applying to as many jobs as possible, without regard to the requirements and specifications of the vacancies, is not wise. Do not waste your time on jobs that are completely out of your field or experience level. Stick to the ones you are truly interested, qualified, and available for.
3. Research is underrated
We say this at Bayt.com often, but many job seekers ignore it: Do the research. Understanding what industry, country, company, and position you are applying for will make your application much stronger and your performance during the interview process much more impressive.
4. Optional is not really optional
Very often, we look at these application items (sans asterisk) and smile at the fact that they are optional. Things like cover letters, questionnaires, and recommendations are often not mandatory. But, in reality, they are there for a reason. The employer is more likely to follow up with you if you give them sufficient information and show them that you go the extra mile.
5. Generic cover letters are silly
It is almost better to not send a cover letter than to send one that is completely irrelevant or obviously generic. Trust me, employers will instantly tell if your cover letter has been recycled over and over. Make sure your cover letters are very specific to every job you apply for.
6. Typos are rarely tolerated
With only written documents at hand, the employer has to be extra strict during the first round of evaluation. Therefore, a CV or a cover letter that has typos or grammatical error will almost always get rejected. Don’t underestimate the power of proofreading (multiple times) before submitting any item.
7. Ego-centrism is an automatic rejection
It is easy to get carried away and spend hours and hours talking about how qualified you are, how amazing your skills are, and how this company and position will help you grow, succeed, and make your dreams come true. Sadly, it is not about you! Your application needs to be more about “them” or the employer. How are you going to add value? How are you going to benefit the company and help it grow?
8. Don’t tell, Show!
Anyone can say that they are “great team-players” or that they have “amazing leadership skills” or that they are “highly attentive to details.” But that is called telling. To have a more effective application you should show the employer your qualification by providing very specific examples and descriptions of your experience and skills.
9. Practice makes perfect
How tempting is it to just wing an interview and trust your communication skills? It is very tempting, but why take the risk? Always research the company, prepare answers to the most common interview questions, and practice with a friend or in front of a mirror.
10. Questions are smart
Being able to answer questions on the job application or during an interview is great! But so is asking questions. Don’t feel shy or apologetic about asking questions. It will show the employer how serious, determined, and invested you are for the vacant position.
11. Money comes last
Never, ever, bring the salary question too early. By too early we mean before you have at least a verbal offer. Talking about money at the beginning of the application journey is never a good signal to the employer.
12. Waiting for a response is wasteful
Don’t sit by your phone waiting for the employer to call you. Don’t glue your eyes to your email anticipating that follow up letter. This may sound harsh, but you should always assume that you have been rejected until told otherwise. After you submit a job application, get ready and start applying for the next relevant position.
13. No-response is not a dead-end
Yes, we don’t recommend getting hung up on one opportunity. However, if you have not heard from an employer and you are still interested, then follow up! Show the company that you are truly determined. There is always a chance that they will listen and give you another chance.
14. It is never too early to apply
Many job seekers wait until the last minute, when they absolutely need a job, to start researching and applying. The reality is, getting a job can be a very lengthy process. So, it is recommended that you always plan ahead of time. If you are a student, start searching and applying before you graduate.
15. It is never too late to apply
Sometimes, an older job posting or a long period of unemployment may cause job seekers to feel less interested in applying for jobs. Forget about that and know that you should always chase your career passions and apply for jobs that interest you.
16. Be on alert mode
Alert mode means you are actively looking for jobs, pursuing many options and opportunities, but also maintaining a strong professional presence and profile. You never know, jobs may come your way! In fact, employers who use Bayt.com can contact registered professionals for unadvertised jobs.
17. Break the rules
Sometimes, you may need to be as creative as possible. For example, if you are highly (and truly) interested in a particular position but don’t have the relevant experience, you can still apply and communicate your interest. Likewise, you can get innovative with your application material, whether through video CVs, portfolios, or presentation, you can always find a new way to reach your dream job.
18. Trust Yourself
Much of how you portray yourself, whether verbally or in written format, relates to your confidence. Trust your skills and qualifications, be assertive, speak with conviction and balance, and enjoy the process.
This article originally appeared in Bayt.com. This article and all other intellectual property on Bayt.com is the property of Bayt.com. Reproduction of this article in any form is only permissible with written permission from Bayt.com.
By Mohannad Aljawamis
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