10 Mistakes To Avoid When Job Seeking

Applying for jobs is often a difficult and demoralising process, but it’s important to stay positive and learn from your mistakes. Here are ten common mistakes you should try to avoid:

1. Passing on responsibility for your job hunt

It’s important that you don’t try and blame others for your job hunting difficulties. Focus on positive action rather than negative thoughts. Brush pessimism to one side and look to the future. What’s happened has happened, but by taking control of the current situation and letting your personality shine through, you will overcome this.

2. Make your job search your sole focus in life

Enjoy family time, eat well and exercise. Leave the house each day, volunteer, learn new skills, meet people and maintain a balance in your life. We all need interaction and variety: often the harder you chase something, the more it eludes you.

3. Take rejection personally

Unfortunately it’s rare to be offered the first job you apply for — it’s just not that easy. So, accept rejection as part of the process and always ask for, and even more importantly learn from, feedback. The job you don’t get helps you next time so always push for feedback and act on it.

4. Search in the same place as others

Surfing the online job boards is an important first port of call in finding a job, but there are also lots of other places you can explore. For example, you could look at recommendations, referrals and professional networks as this market can be less competitive.

5. Fail to deliver a clear message

Employers are interested in where you have added value, not everything you’ve ever done. Make sure they can see the wood from the trees. Think of yourself as a movie trailer and not the whole film – what is it about you that generates enough excitement and interest for an employer to buy a ticket to the main feature?

6. Hide it from the people in your life

Although searching for your next job is a personal experience, don’t try and do it all alone. Share the experience with your loved ones and you’ll be far stronger and more effective in your quest.

7. Apply for every job you come across

This makes you look desperate and you’ll lose focus. Try to take more time on fewer applications and don’t adopt the scatter gun approach. Throwing more mud at the wall won’t lead to more success, just more mess. Nothing puts an employer off more than you not knowing anything about their business or what the role entails and, if you have multiple applications out in the field, keeping track of them all becomes an impossible task.

8. Be afraid to push yourself forward

This is no time to lurk in the shadows. Don’t be afraid to shine, blow your own trumpet and tell people how good you are and what value you can bring to their business. Confidence, not arrogance, is the key here – don’t let your skills and experience be the best kept secret.

9. Forget that times change

If you’ve not been in the job market for a few years, you might have expectations that are unrealistic. It’s easy to think that it’s exactly the same as when you last looked for a position, but times have changed. Take a more enlightened approach and try to gain more understanding of the modern job market and how best to place yourself in it.

10. Take your eye off the competition

Make sure you differentiate yourself from other jobseekers. Instantly falling in line with what the competition is doing will put you at a distinct disadvantage.

Think not only about your skills and experience but also your key achievements. These should be things where you have made a difference and done something out of the ordinary. Your competition is likely to have similar responsibilities but achievements are unique to you. Think about a particular situation, what you did and quantify the outcome or result where possible. This way of thinking and presentation on your CV falls in line with the competency-based interview style of questioning and will help you make an even better impression once you get to interview. Knowledge is power and the more you know about yourself and what makes you different, the better placed you are to attack the job market and find your next position.

Originally published at https://jobs.theguardian.com/article/10-mistakes-to-avoid-when-job-hunting/

What your social media presence says about you

What you do on social media has the power to help, or severely hinder, your chances of a job interview. Three quarters of recruiters have looked up potential candidates on social media, according to the Guardian Jobs Recruiter Survey 2015. Of those who said yes in the Guardian Jobs survey, LinkedIn was the most popular channel (96% used this), followed by Facebook (56%), Twitter (41%) and Instagram (7%).

Here, the experts give their advice on how to approach your social media presence in a way that helps – rather than hinders – your job prospects.

Beware of online rants and outbursts
Social media allows people to reach instantly to situations, sharing their thoughts with an audience of anonymous listeners. Thanking a company or shop for treating you well or for going the extra mile spreads good cheer and thankfulness and has a positive impact, but ranting about your employer who made you stay late twice this week is spreading a negative message, points out Nicola McGuane, a consultant at recruitment firm Morgan McKinley. “Remember the six degrees of separation theory; everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so it’s highly likely that your employer will find out about your online rant.”

Privacy settings can only do so much

Using the strictest privacy settings on social networks like Facebook is a good start, but it doesn’t guarantee to keep your profile away from a potential employer’s eyes. “The world has become a much smaller place and you never know who your future boss is connected to, allowing them to see your activities,” warns McGuane. For that reason, it’s worth keeping your social postings on the tame side so that future employers don’t misjudge you, she says. “Some job seekers are known to suspend or delete certain social media accounts during their job seeking. It may sound drastic but it’s worth it to secure your dream job.”

Google yourself and consider your digital footprint

Search your name, just like a potential employer might do, to see what comes up. Is it good or bad? Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. They will be asking questions such as, “Is this someone I would like to work with knowing what they publicly post online?”

It’s also important for candidates to realise that every “like”, comment, status update or photo posted online – whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – leaves a mark on their digital footprint. “This digital footprint allows a potential employer to trace/track your online activity and get a sense of your character which could impact you positively or negatively,” says McGuane.

Think about photos

Photos are a big element to consider when you see what your search trawls up. “I’ve come across several dodgy photos, even on professional social media sites such as LinkedIn,” says recruitment professional Kate Croucher, FDM Group’s university relationship manager.

Candidates need to keep in mind that your visible photos across social media accounts make a first impression before you’ve even met a potential employer or recruiter – and that can help and hinder you.

“If in doubt, delete or suspend any social media account where the content could be deemed as damaging to your job search,” adds McGuane.

Use social media to showcase your knowledge

Use social media as a means to showcase your knowledge and thought leadership through publishing articles and blogs on your LinkedIn profile, says Charles McIntosh, head of talent consulting at recruitment firm New Street.
Professor Vlatka Hlupic, director of the executive coaching and leadership development programme at Westminster Business School, agrees: “Strategically developed LinkedIn feeds with carefully written profiles, professional photos, good recommendations and endorsements could be a very valuable tool for securing job interviews and employment.”

Build networks and demonstrate confidence

Social media can be used to build professional networks and demonstrate confidence, Hlupic points out. “Keep growing your networks, connect with new relevant contacts continuously, share relevant posts and articles (both written by you or others), join professional groups, participate in discussions and most importantly, enjoy networking.”

Effective social media use can also reveal a lot about a person’s confidence, adds Croucher. “If they are sharing lots of interesting things, and making insightful comments or forming strong opinions, and interacting with others in a positive way, it shows their ability to rally people behind them and develop effective relationships.”


Written by Kirstie Brewer – Sourced from: https://jobs.theguardian.com/article/what-your-social-media-presence-says-about-you/

Mastering Body Language In A Job Interview

In an increasingly digital world the importance of face-to-face communication and body language is easy to overlook. In an interview situation, body language can be a game-changer.

“Before you say a word, the interviewer will have made crucial decisions about you through the way you communicate with your body and through your facial expressions,” says Joan Kingsley, psychotherapist and author of The Fear-Free Organisation.

Of course, what you actually say in an interview is still crucial, but the interviewer will also be watching to determine if the body language is consistent with what you are saying, points out Sue Whaley, HR director of intercity rail operator, First TransPennine Express.

Master your body language and get the right message across with the following dos and don’ts:

First impressions do count

And that’s the impressions of everyone you meet on the day of the interview – in the lift, in the reception area, even in the toilets. Whaley says: “These people are your potential colleagues and they need to get the impression that you would like to join their team.” You don’t know who they are, but they might just be asked for their first impressions of you.

“Look ready and prepared, not flustered and late,” Whaley says. “Be approachable and friendly, smile, make eye contact and give a firm but not forceful handshake.”

Exude confidence

Stand, walk, and sit with good posture as it relates directly back to people’s perception of high confidence, according to body language expert Robert Phipps, author of Body Language – It’s What You Don’t Say That Matters.

Body language expert Mark Bowden suggests gesturing with open palms at exactly navel height is an instant way to show you are calm, assertive and confident.

“Gestures in this area of the body create a strong impulse both in the interviewee and the interviewer for open engagement,” he explains. “Not only will you feel more confident but the interviewer will feel more confidence in you and everything that you present to them,” he says.

Show an interest in the business

Demonstrate you are listening to the questions and to the information about the role and the organisation. “Engage with the interviewer don’t just answer their questions, lean forward, use your body, hands and facial expressions,” says Phipps.

Give them good eye contact, he adds – around about 65-70% when conversing, and a little more when you are the listener. “Anymore can come across as intimidating or threatening. Any less is perceived as a lack of interest or confidence in what you are saying.”

Demonstrate energy, positivity and enthusiasm

Use your hands and body movement to emphasise and animate your points and project a dynamic presence – but don’t get carried away, says Whaley.

“Show passion and belief in your achievements and views. Don’t say, ‘I really enjoy the challenge of managing others’, but you are slumped in your chair looking at the floor.”

As well as having your own body language mastered, take notice of how your interviewers are behaving too, says Whaley. Are they confused, bored, agitated, disengaged, entertained, trying to ask the next question?

“Read their non-verbal cues and adapt your responses accordingly and you will make their job easier and demonstrate yourself to be a skilled communicator,” she explains. “Nod and smile to show you understand and subtly try mirroring the interviewer’s posture and pose. This builds rapport and empathy.”

Don’t let your body language betray how nervous you are

You can’t stop the nervous looking behaviours that your body produces, but you can countermeasure them with confident ones, explains Bowden.

“If you choose to perform the behaviours of a confident person – even when you don’t feel it – your interviewer will have a theory of mind that you are confident and will then cherry pick data about you that substantiates their bias.”

On the other hand, if they can’t find that data, they will just use their imagination and make it up, Bowden warns.

Touching your face and crossing your arms are not necessarily an indicator of stress or deceit, says Bowden, “but enough people have read inaccurate body language books that say it is.”

Meanwhile, leg shaking, hair playing, pen clicking, teeth sucking and clock watching never make a great impression, adds Whaley.

Don’t arrive unprepared

According to Phipps, one of the best ways to avoid nerves tripping you up is to prepare before the interview.

“Practise, practise, practise with a friend or family members and get their feedback on how they perceive you,” he says. Video yourself to see how you come across or sit in front of a mirror and notice what is going on with your body as you engage with others. “You’ll be surprised at just what you do that you don’t realise, as most of our body language is unconscious,” he explains.

Don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily by arriving late. “Unless you want to arrive at the interview breathless, red-faced and in an emotional frenzy, leave lots of time to get there,” says Kingsley.

Plan to arrive early and go for a coffee. “With time to spare you can do some deep breathing to calm your nerves, check you’re looking the way you want to, and visualise yourself as conveying strength, confidence and power,” she adds.

“Remember, great actors use their bodies to give a convincing performance; act the part and you’ll feel the part.”



Written by Kirstie Brewer

Original source: https://jobs.theguardian.com/article/how-to-master-body-language-in-an-interview/