I think looking for a job is a lot like being in high school.
Back when I was that age (a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) if there was a girl that I found attractive I could improve my chances of getting her attention if I made myself appear harder to get (i.e. acted as if I wasn’t interested, even if I was).
On the other hand, if I acted desperate to get to know her then I had lost the game before it started.
Looking for a job is very similar.
The minute you start acting desperate in front of a recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone involved in the process you can almost certainly guarantee that you will NOT take the next step in the process.
So here are a few things that makes you appear desperate and how you can fix it.
- Telling others, “I am desperate for a job.” Find a part-time, temporary, or interim job for extra money until you can find your next career opportunity. If you just need something to do then volunteer some of your time to a local non-profit.
- Your canned response when asked what it is you do is “Anything and everything.” You always want to be able to give at least a general direction of where you are looking to take your career. A better answer if you really are desperate would be something like, “I am concentrating on a XYZ opportunity but until I find the right one I would consider looking at ABC.” Gets the message out that you are open to other things but still keeps your core message.
- You apply to every job under the sun no matter the company, including postings that you have no business applying too. If you do not meet at least 75% of the qualifications you should NOT apply to it. Being more selective will improve your chances of getting call backs and will make you feel better about your situation. Whether or not you are finding a lot of postings in your area you should spend the majority of your time networking, not applying online.
- You apply to every job at XYZ company because it is one of the places you would really like to work and you want to get their attention. If you are really wanting to get your fair shake at a particular company NETWORKING is the way to get it. Submitting your résumé to every position the company has will turn your candidacy into a joke very quick.
- Trying too hard. Relax, take a breath, and realize that if you do not get a job today or tomorrow that it is not the end of the world. You always want to try to do your best but when you take it a step beyond that it will hurt, not help your chances.
- Following-up via phone and email way too often. If a recruiter or hiring manager recognizes your number on caller id you are contacting them too often. In the VAST, VAST majority of cases if there is good news you will be contacted immediately. If you are not hearing anything then you can assume there has been no movement or it is not good news.
Fight the urge to act desperately in your search, even if you feel it is a desperate situation. Give it to the Lord and ask for peace, strength, and motivation to move forward with the things you should be doing to find a new opportunity.
Good hunting and good luck!