IT Employment

Job hunting? Avoid these five self-defeating actions

While you're looking for a job, there are a number of actions you can take to maintain positive peace of mind.

While you're looking for a job, there are a number of actions you can take to maintain positive peace of mind.

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In a recent piece, Yahoo HotJobs' Heather Boerner talked about the five most common mistakes people make when job hunting that affect their prospects and emotional well-being:

1. Not recognizing their feelings. Losing a job is a major stresser. Aside from the obvious effects on your financial security, there are all those feelings of low self-esteem and despression to deal with. Don't ignore the feelings. Accept them and get on with the business of getting a new job. 2. Don't make your only goal just getting a job. Make smaller increments your goals. Boerner recommends:
  • Instead of "I will get a job in X field this year," try "I will send out five resumes this week."
  • Instead of "I will have three job interviews this month," try "I will call five people for informational interviews today."
3. Don't apply for every job you're remotely qualified for. That will only increase your chances of getting rejected and further erode your self-esteem. 4. Avoid negative people and experiences. If there is someone or something in your life that drains you emotionally, avoid it. 5. Don't put yourself in a "settling" state of mind. You didn't ask for it, but being laid off offers you an opportunity to figure out what you're really passionate about. Don't always go for the job you know you can do -- go for the one you want to do.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

26 comments
jimamily
jimamily

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jimamily
jimamily

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jdclyde
jdclyde

It would be hard to get your mass resume sending if you are picking and choosing where you send them. First thing is look at your situation. How long can you last without a job? That will dictate on if you should "settle" or not. I know someone that was laid off not long ago. Now he works part time and makes almost what he was at his last full time job. Use the layoff as the kick in the a$$ that you have needed for a while to improve your life.

santeewelding
santeewelding

At the least you did not say improve your, "self". You said, "life". That's uncomfortably close, for me. I got told once by a young shithead about improving my self in a logic course. I responded by asking how one goes about improving that which is absolute. Went over his head. Relight your cigar. That's what I was trying to do with whatshisface -- relight something.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Maybe a self help book to help you help yourself, with help, of course..... :D

jdclyde
jdclyde

Double Jigger, if you please... ;\

santeewelding
santeewelding

Alongside BFilmMan -- silver-tongued. Only, this time, I bring blacksmith-wrought tongs to find out. A jigger of your favorite, of course, to make it easier.

j_botello
j_botello

ive been trying to get a job for almost a year know and alot of these thing sound fine on paper, but haven't been like that at all lately (definitely not since i have ever search for a job) #1 is probly the only one that is actually true. The more you worry about the less time you have on actually doing something about it. #2 is about a means to an end. your ultimate goal is to get a job but there are certain strategies to go about it. #3 is basically true. apply for things you have a good chance at getting. i have a problem in this area in that i have worked in retail for the past few years but i have also been working on my degree and have pick up skills that are transferrable to other jobs. Just because i have taken one class in management doesnt make me a manager of entire office. (although i have had alot more experience i look for entry level) #4 is really un avoidable. people always complain about this and that. The idea is that you shouldn't believe it as much as take with a big grain of salt and determination and make it motivate you. #5 is downright ridiculous. there is no reason why you should do what they are saying unless you have been working for 20 years and can go into consulting with years of knowledge, experience and contacts. For the average worker whose only been around 10yrs or doesnt have a lot of experience you need to focus on what you can do and how to get that through the heads of employers. They are the gatekeepers, they hold the keys. Even as you may not know how you contribute to a company you are applying for there is some way and its different for every one out there. If i knew id tell you but im still out of a job with creditors breathing down my neck and plenty of other people still pissed or wondering why i dont have a job yet. In this economy, there are jobs but companies are reaching for higher standards far more than they need. just stay vigilant and hopeful that someone is looking for you.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Yours is the umpteenth time I've heard this. Your business plan doesn't seem to be working. This, of course, is the eleventysecond time I've heard the crap about "business plan", too. So, what to do, given that you apparently haven't worked out that question, yet, yourself. And, that you upbraid Toni, who is employed (for now). So, what do you do, butello, besides, "hope"?

bobbycornetto
bobbycornetto

Do what you have to do to feed, clothe, house your family and yourself. Once you're in the position of having job and income, then these principles make more sense.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I can understand that you're trying to be helpful. However I disagree with some of what you say. First off, "Don?t apply for every job you?re remotely qualified for." Hmmm, I've done that numerous times and on numerous occasions it has worked out well for me. There are a number of issues here. One, how in the world do you know that you CAN'T do the job unless you give it your best shot? You want guarantees of success? There are no guarantees in life except eventual death. I was taught long ago that a person does not truly know his or her limitations, or what you can or can't accomplish, until you've given an endeavor your best efforts ... and then tried even harder than you thought you could even if you flopped on your face. Struggle, REAL struggle, under adverse conditions, has always been a key element in human development and reaching one's full potential. Thank you Chief Petty Officer Fournier, USN, UDT, SEAL ... for your lessons. I have not forgotten them. Certainly none of us are superman, or superwoman. For any given individual, you WILL find things you either can't do or can not do well. You will fail, at something ... or perhaps at many things. But if you try ... HARD ... at accomplishing new things you will find that there are some things you can do which you may not have previously believed you could accomplish. One thing is sure ... you'll never know unless you try. Two, let's face facts. Quite often and regularly written job descriptions done by HR people or upper management are totally hosed. For one reason or another. I've read job descriptions where except for a couple keywords amidst the a bunch of vague, double-speak, BS I had no idea what the heck the originating organization wanted. Often it was apparent that whoever authored the description didn't REALLY know what it took to do the job. The person just did a cut and paste job from some manual of job descriptions. Or whatever. Heck, I'd apply and go for an interview just to find out what they really wanted. Sometimes the result was, "Oh, that's it? Jesus, why didn't you say so in plain English? Yeah, I can do it, have done it many a time. But would never have figured out that was what yah meant from your job description." Of course then there is my favorite variation. Job description sounds like they want someone with 20 years experience, couple PhD's, can walk on water, leap over building in a single bound, etc. And I come to find out that the job is for a glorified paper shuffler, admin type with what I'd consider to be minimal management skills/experience. One such experience comes to mind. Job description included a lot of stuff about being needing to be highly skilled in using MS Office apps, advanced database knowledge, etc. When I showed up for the interview and was shown (because they'd decided I was what they needed) the actual job; I was all excited. Then the let-down came. What they wanted and needed in all reality was such a low skill level that I turned the job down because it would've bored me silly. I mean, let's get real. On a routine and regular basis job descriptions SUCK. One time I answered this vague job ad that was worded in such a way that in all reality I couldn't quite grasp what the heck they were looking for. But the ad contained a couple keywords I was looking for. So I sent in a resume. Got a really vague interview by an HR person. Who seemed as clueless as I was. Then got a second interview with the guy I'd actually be working for. He did have a clue. Did describe the job in detail, using technical terms (the difference being he actually understood those technical terms and used them in proper context). And it turned out the job was one that was right up my alley. All the essential skills were ones I was both knowledgeable about and had a lot of experience with. The rest? Piece of cake, things I could pick up as I went along. I got offered and took that job. And did it extremely successfully, by that employer's measure, as reflected by both getting excellent annual review grading and by my getting several raises and promotions in the next 10 years during which I worked for them. But what the job was REALLY all about, as compared to their written job description in their advertisement ... was night and day. FWIW, I asked that guy who hired me about that. He apologized and mentioned the ad was done by "corporate". And said that they and the HR department didn't really know what real knowledge and abilities the job in question required, or what people in that job actually did on a day to day basis. Three, sometimes job descriptions are exaggerated as concerns what one really needs to know and be able to do in order to successfully do that job. It's as if they're asking for Mr Perfect Fit. And the fact is there isn't any such person. Or if there is, he's not taking that job anyway because if he matches all that they're asking for ... he can really walk on water and leap over buildings in a single bound ... so they're not likely to be willing to pay his asking price. The job I have now, and have held for the past 8 years is an example. I read the job description and expected qualifications. EGAD, I was in a related field, but not precisely that specialty. And what they were asking for seemed to be an experienced Rocket Scientist, who graduated top of his class from MIT, and picked up a Nobel Peace Prize or two along the way. A tried and true proven expert in what was a long list of highly technical specialties. I applied anyway. What the heck? And as I suspected (with good reasons to think so), they'd found nobody in over a year of trying who matched their wish list. Not even close. When I finally got an interview with someone who actually knew anything, he grilled me on the basics. No problem. Then asked about a couple of specialty areas. Some I knew well, others I hadn't even heard of and I told him that. He flopped a tech manual for some equipment I'd never heard of in front of me and asked me to read a couple of specific pages. After which he grilled me on whether or not I'd understood what I read. I had. Didn't know a darned thing about that particular equipment previously. But my background education in core principles, technology, science, and math were such that with the manual in front of me I could figure out what was what. He was blunt and to the point. As in, "If you want the job you're hired. NOBODY knows everything that was asked for in that job advertisement. But you know enough to start, and have shown you can learn the rest as you go." "Don?t put yourself in a ?settling? state of mind." Ummm, if it is all yah can get, or its the best offer out of a lousy list of choices ... it's a foot in the door and one does have to pay the bills and put food on the family table. To work .. or not to work? If its all I can find, I'll be a janitor. Then I'll work at being the best damned janitor the place has ever had. And try to become the Head Janitor. After that, if nothing else comes along, I'll start trying to learn the job of the person who hired me.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

When you are out of work and need the dough; you do what you have to do! Plain and simple. Not everyone can get by on savings or live with their parents when in between jobs. I speak from experience. I have an elderly dependant. While sending out a s-h-i-t-load of resumes waiting to interview for the job I really want; I've worked in temp agencies doing everything from factory work, warehouse work, and even temporary help desk support. It's not so clear cut, Toni! It's not that clear cut.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

The job descriptions I've seen lately are laughable. I keep looking for "kitchen sink" after all of the job requirements.

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

Agreed in some instances. I just came across a BA position that includes the ability to design, code, test and configure a specific application. I wonder if the hiring managers realise that the more skills your candidate claims to have, the less skill they will have with any ability. Or to give an example .. 5 years analysis, 5 years design, 5 years test and 5 years management plus several years experience with our application adds up to a lot of years experience. Your candidate is either very experienced specialist who is going to demand a lot of money, or else they are a lying cowboy. Les.

linuxnerd
linuxnerd

If I were the hiring manager, there would be nothing worse than sifting through resumes of semi-qualified candidates to find the right one, especially in a time like this with plenty of qualified candidates out of work. #5, Agreed. I think Tony is suggesting you view the lay-off as a "mini-vacation" to collect your thoughts and reevaluate your goals. There's not a whole lot we can do about the unemployment situation so this could be a healthy way to deal with it. #4, thanks Tony. In my perspective, quality of life will always affect job performance.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

types, I dunno as I am not one. I can say categorically that for an IT worker, it sucks. As a case in point, being rejected for a job, increases my self esteem. I stated my terms clearly enough for the berks whio thought they wanted me, changed their minds and avoided wasting any of my time. Being laid off offers you an opportunity... Presumably you are rich and only work for a laugh? It's this sort of crassness that makes me wonder if management are as stupid as they think we are.

cory.schultze
cory.schultze

Stand-up to the man! (Or woman, I don't want a political-correctness row...) Sometimes I feel that management is another phrase for dominatrix. Project management is different, that's like a strategist, not a manipulator. An employee worth keeping is one that can run off their own steam.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

leadership and direction, fine (at work !). Kicking people out of the door, fine. Patting them on the head (well actually that p1sses me off, but I can live with it). Telling me I should set my goals, outlook and attitude based on management desires, well f*** right off. Twenty-seven continuous years in employment, two booms, and now two busts, this advice I need like an extra hole in my arse. Personally I want to see us go like the marines, your aren't allowed to manage until you've succeeded on the 'shop floor'. At least they'll have a f'ing clue of how the people they are managing think, instead of how they wished they did.

sidekick
sidekick

While overall good advice, I must respectfully disagree with a couple of your points. "3. Don't apply for every job you're remotely qualified for. That will only increase your chances of getting rejected and further erode your self-esteem." Part of this is a numbers game. The fewer jobs you apply for, the less rejection you get, but the fewer interviews you get as well. Accept the fact that not everyone wants to hire you for what ever reason, right or wrong, and that it's not personal. The job I have now is a little higher up than most of the jobs I sent in resumes for and never heard back at all, so you never know. If you know that there is no way you would want the job, however, I wouldn't waste your time and effort on it. "5. Don't put yourself in a "settling" state of mind. You didn't ask for it, but being laid off offers you an opportunity to figure out what you're really passionate about. Don't always go for the job you know you can do, go for the one you want to do." While I agree with this in theory, these are not good times, and you may have to settle to pay the bills. Yes, it sucks, but it is reality. It's a personal preference whether you want ot hold out for what you really want or just want to back to work sooner. Hopefully, you can have both, but don't plan on that happening.

ggardei
ggardei

Sending your resume to a job you are not qualified for is acceptable if you are willing and able to learn the new skills. Often times a company will advertise requirements that are more like recommended skills. Interviewers may be willing to consider an applicant that does not meet all their outlined expectations if those weaknesses are nullified by other skills and qualifications. For example, if you are a VB.Net programmer, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to work with ASP and SQL. My current employer brought me on (on a trial basis at first) to work in the help desk (which was really behind on tickets) and to manage a ERP system (that I had never heard of) and do customizations to it (using SQL and ASP which I knew very little about). But they figured I will learn it because I majored in programming (VB, C++) in college and I had some of the server experience they were looking for.

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

What is an 'Informational Interview' and how do I find one? I agree with #3, but for different reasons. You should use your time to put a lot of effort into your application for a job that you are qualified for. Applying for jobs that you are remotely qualified for uses time that could be better spent on other job search activities. Having been out of work for 6 months now, I can tell you there comes point where you will take anything just to pay the bills. Les.

beechC23
beechC23

Practice makes perfect. The more interviews you do, the better you get at them. When I was job hunting I used to apply for jobs I wasn't really qualified for in the hopes of getting an interview. Not because I wanted the job, but because I wanted the interview experience and interviewing for a job with a remote chance once in a while helped hone the skills for dealing with tough questions in a nothing-to-lose situation, so that when a really good opportunity came up, I was ready and confident. And I also agree that sometimes you have to pay the bills. Nothing is ever wasted, I had a job like that once. Even though it really really sucked, I learned from the experience. Who was it that said that the only true mistake in life is the one you didn't learn from?

aandruli
aandruli

It really boosts your self-esteem when you apply for and have interviews every day all week long. It also helps you get rid of the desperate look and if you do not get a second interview it doesn't destroy your day -- you think "So what --gotta run to the next interview" Also, folks who write those ads aren't always accurate and you may discover the job is a lot closer to what you were looking for than you thought.

cory.schultze
cory.schultze

My first IT job was a complete fluke - I was taking a VB.NET home-tutored course at the time and only just got started, so I was a complete noob. Found a post for trainee programmer (in mvBase!) in my local town, blagged the interview and fluked the test. Got the job above 50+ applicants of greater ability, worked there for 4 months and learned a huge deal until the company fell-through. I then went to a recruiting agency for anything (excepting painters/decorators and care workers), just to tide me over. I worked in site labour - very physical - contracted for 1 month, then found a warehousing job with better pay at a local tool store. 18 months later, an ICT vacancy was posted internally. I applied, got interviewed and got hired a couple weeks later. 4 years on and I'm still here, having secured my ideal start to a successful career. So: Take a chance - aim high, you never know where you could land. And: If you fall on your ass or get pushed away, don't cry - dust yourself off and take another leap - you'll land on your feet eventually. Then: If you're desperate, take it. It doesn't have to be forever. Once you have something, you can afford to search for something better.

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