Put a stop to those job seeking bad habits


If you’re one of the many job seekers out there who’s been out of work for a while, you’ll know exactly how easy it is to settle into an unproductive routine. Perhaps you’ve been working for 10 or 20 years in a “full on” corporate environment and now find yourself in a world without all that hassle. And who doesn’t enjoy a little break after the stresses of professional life? You began a period of some much-needed time off which, after a few weeks, evolved into a period of optimistic and enthusiastic job hunting. But now it feels like that was years ago.  You can’t remember how many applications you’ve sent off, how many interviews you’ve been to, you’ve lost sight of where you are going and you’ve settled into a routine of bad habits.

At the moment you’re lost. But what’s important to remember is that losing your way does not mean the journey is over. Most job seekers go through a rut at one point or another. The key is to break the trend and to put a stop to those classic job seeking bad habits. So here’s my list of habits which you have to avoid (or stop doing!):

1)      You’ve lost sight of your objectives

It’s understandable that after you’ve been applying for specific jobs for a long time you start to care less about the type of job you’re applying for. While you should be more flexible with certain aspects of your job search, it is essential that you do not lose sight of your career goals. So if you currently find yourself applying for anything and everything you come across then stop now. The process of sending your CV off to every available job is ultimately a pointless one. Make sure that you are actually interested in (and capable of doing) the jobs that you apply to, as well as tailoring each CV you send off to the specific job description.

2)      You’ve settled in to the comfort of the post-job funk

As I’ve said, everybody enjoys a little time off but you cannot settle into a completely unproductive routine. Give your day some structure. Sure, take the weekend off, but carry out each weekday as if it was a workday. Get up at a reasonable hour, set yourself some goals and complete those goals. Just sitting at a desk, applying for a couple of jobs and making a few casual phone calls is not enough to secure yourself your next job, and if you’re telling yourself it is then you’re lying. Persistence is key and of course, after time, it gets harder but you cannot give up or become lazy. Remember, looking for work is a job in itself so don’t let yourself think otherwise.

3)      You’ve lost your positivity

Negativity is the natural reaction to failure. I’m not going to pretend the job search is an easy task, but maintaining a positive outlook and an optimistic approach is the only way to keep going and finally land a job. It may be a long road but it’s not one without a destination. You cannot let yourself get down and you have to keep motivated because negativity will come across in your application. A hiring manager will be able to tell if you’re not enthusiastic and if you’re not then why should he be? Keep your family and friends close, do things you enjoy and keep happy. Remember what you’re working for.

4)      You’re stuck using the same old moves

Whilst it is important to make sure all your applications are different, it is also essential that you do not use the same job seeking tactics over and over. If you’ve tried something that doesn’t seem to be working then try it in a different way or try something completely different. Take a risk, step out of your comfort zone, do whatever you can to get yourself that job. Fear of failure is a powerful barrier for job seekers but “the only real failure in life is the failure to try.”

5)      You’ve stopped following up

If you have been job seeking for a while then the chances are you’ve applied to quite a number of jobs. It is undoubtedly difficult to keep on top of everything you’re doing but you have to do so in order to get a job. If you forget to follow up then all you’re doing is harming your chances. So make sure to organize this information, perhaps in a word document or excel spreadsheet, and that way you’ll always know what you’re doing.

So there’s a few of the bad habits which you cannot afford to let yourself fall in to as a job seeker. Remember, keep motivated, keep organized and keep focused, you will find yourself a job eventually.

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