It is all too common these days to hear comments such as “I applied for 40 jobs in one day, and not one of them got back”. People are frustrated with the fact that they can spend hours a day applying for jobs, and have nothing to show for it. But job hunting, just like any other task, is not just dependent on how much time you invest in it. If you really want to get the most out of your job search, you have to use your time well.
Optimising your time involves more than simply setting aside a few hours and getting as much done as possible. In fact, the quantity over quality approach that so many candidates take is the very reason their job searches become so frustrating. In order to avoid wasting your time and limiting your opportunities, read on to see which of the biggest time-sucking sins you commit, and how you can get more results with less work.
The Shotgun Approach
This is one of the most common mistakes people make when looking for work. Applying for every role you see is a major waste of time for several reasons. Firstly, your application becomes increasingly generic, and you won’t stand a chance against the people who have tailored theirs specifically for the role in question. Secondly, it’s quite easy to make one mistake and end up sending it out to hundreds of people, all of whom could rule you out immediately. Finally, when you apply for everything, you’re not really applying for jobs you’re passionate about. If you do end up getting the job, you could find that you hate it.
Applying for Old Jobs
Some websites are more interested in lining their own pockets with ad revenue than they are in finding you your dream job. That’s why it’s important to be careful which websites you use for your job search. I won’t name any names, but a common tactic used by many of these sites is to automatically pull job ads from other websites. Oftentimes they won’t put a date on the jobs, so as well as wasting your time searching through positions that have already been filled, you could end up sending applications to people who have no idea what you’re talking about.
Poor Quality CVs
It’s important to remember that the person who will be reviewing your application will probably be reviewing dozens or even hundreds more. The average time a hiring manager spends looking at a CV is 6 seconds, so if you don’t grab their attention in that time, there’s very little chance your application will be read in-depth.
In order to give your CV the best shot at being read, you need to make sure that when it lands on a hiring manager’s desk, they can immediately see the key points they’re looking for. If they know that one of key requirements for the role is the ability to speak German, and they see “Fluent in German” under a heading clearly marked “Skills”, they’ll keep reading. If they see a wall of text, they’ll probably move it to the side “for now”, and read the CV under yours that clearly states the required skills. If you’re unsure about what constitutes a good or bad quality CV, see our blog on How to Craft the Perfect CV.
No matter how much time you spend doing something, you can’t expect to achieve results unless you are doing it well. While working hard on your job search is admirable, you are ultimately wasting your time unless you really think about how you are spending it. So instead of trying to get yourself in front of as many people as possible, really think about which jobs you want to apply for, and make your application as strong as possible, not as soon as possible.
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