Call it 20/20 hindsight or the school of hard knocks but learning from your mistakes is often the best teacher. If you haven’t had to look for a job in the last several years (or ever), you are going to need to learn some lessons.
As a job seeker, you will face numerous new situations. If you haven’t been faced with some of these before, how will you know you are making an educated decision?
Choices Based on Emotions:
These are real examples of decisions job seekers confessed to. Did the job seeker use facts, or were these hasty, gut-influenced choices?
- Turned down a second interview because the head of the department was a jerk.
- After 99 weeks of unemployment, turned down a job because it was “below” her.
- Refused an interview because the commute was longer than 20 minutes.
- Refused to fill out any online application that asks for social security number.
- Refused to get on LinkedIn because he wanted to keep his life private.
While all these choices are not necessarily wrong, they did have an impact.
Choices Based On Lack of Information:
Sometimes, decisions are based on lack of information. So why is lack of information a problem when almost everyone has access to the internet? Here are real examples of uninformed choices job seekers made:
- Wouldn’t talk to recruiters, contract houses or temp agencies because they were a “rip off“.
- Insisted upon making as much, if not more, than he previously made in his last job.
- Followed up after the interview by showing up at the business location.
- Didn’t follow up with a networking contact because he wasn’t the right level connection.
- Failed to ask what the time-frame was for making hiring decision.
Stress and Anxiety:
Think about the beginning of a game of chess or checkers. When you’ve got lots of pieces on the board, you have choices. The fewer pieces you have, the fewer options you have. How does that make you feel?
If you eliminate yourself from a job opportunity too soon (and without all the facts), you’ve taken pieces off the board and limited your future choices. This leads to stress and anxiety.
Don’t Opt Out:
The WORST decision you can make is to opt out. Taking yourself out of the interview process before it is over or not submitting an application is like taking yourself out of the game before its over. Who does that?
For better or for worse, stick it out and see what happens. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, likewise, you can’t land a job if you don’t apply and go through the process.
Don’t Go It Alone:
Almost all great achievements are team-based or include collaboration. If you are trying to conduct your job search solo, you will undoubtedly run into difficulty. Who will proof read your cover letters and correspondence? Who will you bounce ideas off of when you run into a roadblock? Who will practice interviewing with you? Working alone is difficult. You need people around who can keep you motivated after a day of rejection. You need fresh perspectives about how to approach a new networking contact. You need to learn to ask questions, and lots of them, to get information to make decisions. None of this can happen in a vacuum.
The Moral of the Story Is…
Before you make your next move, seek out insight, advice, and opinions from different people! Don’t make assumptions, especially those that limit your potential choices in the future.
Any other tips? Let us know in the comments below!