The job/internship search process can be tedious and exhausting. And it can be especially discouraging if you’re not hearing back from employers or if they respond to your application saying that they’re pursuing other candidates. While this situation can be upsetting, the worst thing you can do is give up. Instead, take a step back and see how you can change your search strategy.
Allie Ricker, the Career Connections Center’s, Senior Assistant Director for Career and Professional Development, shared some of the biggest mistakes students make during the job search process that hurts their chances of getting an interview.
1. Not Assessing the Job Posting Carefully
Reading job postings and assessing them carefully is key to increasing your chances of being invited for an interview. After reading the job description, determine if you are qualified for the job. While it is always good to explore dream positions, make sure to apply for jobs that you are qualified for.
Allie’s recommendation is to apply to jobs that you meet at least 75 percent of the qualifications listed. Whether that is in terms of time working in the industry, soft skills, or technical skills, make sure that you meet most of the basic criteria to make yourself competitive. If not, more qualified candidates will most likely always get the interview.
2. Not Customizing Your Application Materials
Every job has different requirements. If you want to demonstrate that you meet these requirements, you need to customize your application materials accordingly.
Customization can range from the content you include in your resume to how you arrange and present such content. Make sure that the requirements that are important to a particular position are easily visible in your resume. Some positions receive hundreds of applicants, which is why customizing your resume to suit the position you’re applying to can make you stand out from the crowd.
Don’t forget about customizing your cover letter. This document gives you a chance to show why you’re interested in the position and what you could contribute to the company if hired. Telling your story in cover letters is not a one-size-fits all. If you want to get an interview, a relevant cover letter can be the way to get your foot in the door.
3. Only Applying for Jobs Online
The Internet makes everything easy and convenient. Nothing beats being able to apply to jobs from the comfort of your own home, especially when so many job postings are online. However, you’re limiting yourself if your only job search method is applying to positions online.
According to the 2017 edition of What Is Your Parachute: A Practical Manual for Job Hunters and Career Changes, applying online only works four percent of the time on average.
That said, you shouldn’t rely on a single source to look for jobs. As a student, take advantage of all the career fairs happening year-round or use your network to ask for job leads. If you haven’t built a network of people who are in the field you’re interested in, consider joining organizations or attending events that will connect you to the appropriate people.
4. Not Using All Your Resources
A mistake that students tend to make is that they don’t use the resources available to them. At UF, students can come to the Career Connections Center for career-related advice, regardless of the year they are in. From programs that help you explore majors, to resume reviews, and mock interviews, the center is here to make sure students have all the tools they need to find jobs that interest them as well as getting interviews with employers.
Apart from using the center, students can also seek guidance from professors or their college’s resources. Students should know that they don’t have to go through the job-search process alone. If there’s help available, take advantage of it.
5. Not Readjusting Your Job Search Strategy
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.
If you notice that there is pattern of you not being invited for interviews, take a step back and change your strategy. Persistence is good, but not if you continue doing something that’s not giving you the results you desire. In this case, rework your strategy by considering one or all the tips above.
The tips above are just some that can get you started, to receive a custom job search strategy, make a career appointment today. Our team will be happy to help!