We all make excuses. We twist logic to make it seem like we’re right when we’re really completely wrong, and in many cases our excuses are harmless ego defence mechanisms. However, when you’re making excuses for not finding your next job you’re probably doing more harm than good.
Over the next three weeks we’ll be looking at some of the most common jobseeker excuses at the three most critical stages of finding a job –job search, CV & application and interview stage. Starting with the most common excuses heard during a job search.
‘I don’t know how to search for jobs online’
Most job ads will appear online on job boards or social networks long before they filter into offline media like newspapers. Where does that leave job seekers who are not online or tech savvy? The simple answer is, ‘needing to learn how to find jobs online’.
In 2015, suggesting that you ‘can’t’ use online tools is just not good enough. The fact is, most online tools are easy to use and quick to learn – and most social networks will walk you through set up step-by-step. The only challenge is in actually starting to learn, after that everything gets easier. You can start that right now. (After reading the rest of this post, obviously)
‘I don’t have the time to search’
Even if you use a jobs aggregator like Indeed or CareerJet, you can’t find every potential role in five minutes. You need to spread your net wide, and you need to be detailed in your appraisal of each job spec or ad. That leads some jobseekers to suggest that they simply don’t have time to look.
There may be a grain of truth in this, your current role, your family, your life in general, are all likely to get in the way of your job search. However, your job is the thing you will do most with your time and is how you fund the rest of your life – there are times when it needs to be a priority.
‘I don’t have the experience’
This is the classic jobseeker excuse; you look up a job that fits your career plans and start ticking off the requirements in your head. ‘Got that, and that, that too.’ Then, you come to the ‘Experience’ requirement. It’s asking for ‘5+ years’ but you’ve only spent three years in your current role. Self-doubt immediately kicks in, and you hit the back button on your browser with a grumble about the catch-22 of needing experience to get a job and a job to get experience.
The thing is, experience requirements are mostly arbitrary choices that are designed to filter out the really unsuitable candidates. If everything else about the job fits and you’re certain you are up to it, then your three and half years may be enough. Don’t let your self-doubt prevent you from applying. Up to now I’ve never encountered a role where your boss sits you down and says, ‘You’re here five years, it’s time to tell you what’s really going on.’
‘I’m waiting for something better’
Here’s another scenario, you find a job with the exact title, duties and salary you’re looking for but as you’re about to apply, you come to the company description. You’ve never heard of them, they’re smaller than you were hoping for, and their product isn’t that exciting. You think, ‘they’re too small for me’ and move on.
The next time you encounter this you should ask yourself another question, what does ‘too small’ mean? Are you afraid that you will be bored? Or that it will be too much work for too small a return? Or are you just afraid of having to explain to people who you work for and what they do?
‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts’
You see people being hired by companies you want to work for before you ever knew they were hiring, and you think ‘they must have a connection there.’ The ‘connection’ is treated as some ethereal being, impossible to find by natural methods, and you are instantly excused of your complicity in missing out on that job.
The thing is, ‘connections’ at companies you want to work for are very easy to find. They’re all on LinkedIn or Twitter or another social network where people are likely to list their employer, and you can talk to them whenever you want. You can have those ‘connections’ too. You can also apply to companies you want to work for before they advertise, just figure out who you want to work for and make your pitch. You never know where it might get you.
Searching for a job and not getting any replies can be a real dent to the ego, so it follows that you would want to protect that ego with a few well-argued excuses. The thing is, when you make excuses for your job search you don’t just protect the ego, you damage your career.