Do you find yourself stuck in a perpetual cycle of applying for jobs but not getting many interviews out of it? While the old “throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks” approach might work occasionally, it’s not likely to land you your dream job. It’s not the number of job applications you churn out that matters, but the quality of fit between what you have to offer and the job requirements and company you’re applying to.
That said, the right fit doesn’t have to limit you to jobs or industries in which you have specific experience. Most people understandably apply for jobs of a similar background and scope to what they’ve previously done, but by doing so, they automatically confine their options to a narrow field. If that’s what you’ve been doing too, perhaps it’s time to adopt a different strategy.
1. Career Aspirations
It’s essential for you to have clarity of your career goals and aspirations. Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve and the career trajectory you wish to set for yourself will help you focus on the type of jobs and companies that can offer those opportunities.
Most job ads won’t tell you much about the company’s management styles or corporate values — this is where research comes in. Check out their website, read their blog (if they have one), Google them and see what comes up, and keep an eye out for posts about job scams and negative press. Get insider tips if possible — every bit of information helps.
2. Skills and Experience
While some skills and experience are crucial for specific professions (e.g. IT, medicine, engineering), transferable skills and experience are just as valuable for non-technical roles (which account for the vast majority of jobs). Job-specific skills and experience can easily be learned and cultivated, given the right work ethics and personality. It’s often the latter that makes a world of difference, and harder to match between the company and candidate.
The point is not to get disheartened if you don’t have the matching years of experience as stipulated in the job ad, or to be too literal in your interpretation of the job requirements. If you’ve had experience of dealing with customers in any way, that’s as good as client management. Focus on the big picture rather than the minor details.
3. Daily Responsibilities
Does the job scope sound like a welcome challenge, or do the daily responsibilities sound snooze-inducing? If it doesn’t excite or inspire you in any way, do yourself a favour and save your time and energy for another job that does. Doing what you enjoy isn’t just good for your productivity (which is good for the company), it also gives you a renewed sense of purpose and helps you thrive professionally.
4. Company Culture
It’s important to gauge how close of a fit the company is with your working style and personal values. If you’re a working parent for example, you won’t want to work for a company where late nights and weekends are expected of you as a norm. Again, the job ad won’t tell you much in this respect, which is why research will be mandatory.
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