The only hard-and-fast rule I’d make is to NOT randomly apply for every job that seems even remotely possible. In other words, don’t wake up each morning with the goal of applying to at least 5 jobs before lunch. Why? Read “253 Jobs I Didn’t Get!”
How do you know if this is the right job for you?
Are You Qualified? okay, it looks like a really cool job, but do you even come close on the qualifications? Just this week, I had a client who has spent the last 15 years in PR and media communications. She showed me two opportunities that interested her. One was to be the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. Well, sort of. She did have some background in developing volunteerism and in representing nonprofits in her PR practice. There was enough data that I could make the case in her resume for her to be considered for a role in CSR. But the other opportunity? It was in cyber-security. If your reaction is, “huh?” think about how hard it was for me to come up with a tactful, “no way.”
Are you connected at the company? Even if you are super qualified, you’ll get a big leg up on the competition if you are introduced through a network connection. Studies have indicated that second degree connections are critical to getting hired. Have a searchable profile on LinkedIn and grow your network so that the likelihood of having a second degree connection there will rise. You can read more about how to do this in my Wall Street Journal article, “How Job Hunters Should Use Second Degree Connections.”
Is this something you actually want to do? When you’re unemployed, your anxiety can lead to poor choices. Don’t apply for this job if you’d hate it. Even if you are employed, but feeling unproductive and bored, ask yourself if it’s your current job you hate, or just where you’re going every day to do it. Employers often pigeonhole candidates as being one type of professional or another. The more time you spend doing one type of job could potentially label you as something you don’t want to be.
Far too often, I get calls from a certain kind of job seeker – and as gently as possible – I decline taking their money to write them a resume. Why? Because when I look at their current resume, it was clear to me that they never asked themselves , “is this the right job for me?” or if they took any job that was offered to them. Now, I completely respect the need for income. We all need to put a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs, and some of us have other mouths to feed. But not being choosy about which jobs you apply for could mean career suicide. A resume that has the job seeker working at Best Buy selling electronics, then performing warehouse management tasks, followed by a stint as a customer service representative in a call center…well, you get the picture. That person doesn’t have a career trajectory; that person has a history of jobs held. That person doesn’t need a resume writer; he or she can just type up the list of jobs held by themselves.
So, how do you know if this is the right job for you? Don’t settle for, “what have I got to lose?” It’s an important question that deserves serious consideration.
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