Although it’s wise to be on the lookout for interesting opportunities, the key to successful job searching and interviewing is to be discriminating about which opportunities are right for the individual. To be discriminating, it is essential to know and understand the person’s target position. Hiring managers and recruiters expect the job seeker to have self-knowledge about their strengths, interests, passions and motivators. Therefore, the very first step in the job search process is to understand personal values, priorities, and career direction.
Why do some job seekers jump at any opportunity that passes their way without regard for their goals? Here are the top seven reasons an individual may pursue the wrong opportunity, and how to prevent being caught in this trap.
1. Career options have not been explored thoroughly, and there is no focus or commitment.
Some job seekers are guilty of poor career planning, and have fallen into an opportunity simply because it appeared at the right time. Sometimes these careers work out, but more often times they don’t. To avoid falling prey to this scenario, always take the time to confirm that a solid career plan is in place. An individual should be in charge of their professional life – not the other way around.
2. The job seeker sets sights too low, and settles for a lesser position – due to fear or lack of confidence.
Two people with equal qualifications might land very different jobs, depending on their confidence in themselves and belief that the “right” position is out there for them. For job seekers who sense that lack of confidence is undermining their interview performance, they must realign their self-beliefs to combat this situation. Take the time to role-play tough interview questions, consider working with a career coach, or connect with a career agent who can build confidence and help navigate the job search waters.
3. There is pressure on the home-front.
Anyone who has ever been out of work, or been employed in a position that their spouse of family approves of, understands the negative effects of extraneous pressure. Perhaps the family member feels the job seeker is not trying hard enough to land a job, or is in the wrong career field altogether. It could be an individual’s current job is not paying as much or enough as another position. Unfortunately, while family-members believe they are trying to help, their pressure-packed messages don’t always have the job seeker’s best interest at heart. Sometimes there’s a payoff for the other person to see their spouse stay where they are – the other person is fearful to watch him or her grow and develop professionally. Break free of others expectations by having personal goals, and creating a strategic plan to attain them. Spouses, family members, friends, and colleagues who previously exerted pressure are far less likely to continue doing so when the job seeker has a clear personal vision for their career.
4. The company or position title is impressive.
Every position out there is unique. The company may be one of the most reputable and prestigious in the industry, but if the duties and responsibilities don’t align with an individual’s short and long-term goals, the opportunity will not be a good fit. Job seekers must evaluate each prospective position in light of their priorities, and know what matters to them. During the evaluation process, if the job does not coincide with personal wants and needs, it is better to turn down the job now, than quit just down the road.
5. The new position has a convenient and easy commute.
A job seeker has received an offer for a position located right around the corner. Think of the savings in gasoline expense! Better yet, they will only have a 20 minute round-trip commute each day; making him or her available to pick up the kids from school and save on child care expenses. Seems like a match made in heaven, right? Not necessarily. Perhaps this position has more duties and responsibility for the wages earned. Maybe the company has mandatory over-time six days per week. Possibly the savings in gas and child care are not equal to the salary for the same position at a different company. Job seekers should not let a little less time on the freeway become the reason for accepting just any position.
6. Dangling the carrot – higher compensation.
Income is important, no doubt. It can quickly become less critical, when every ounce of energy is being sucked out of an individual by working in the wrong job. As a rule of thumb, an employer pays according to the work performed. Why does this company pay more than others in the same industry? Are the duties and responsibilities the same as positions within other companies? While it’s easy to take the job that pays the most, this should never become the only reason to accept a position. Always do the research, and make sure this career move works cooperatively with professional objectives.
7. The requirement of making ends meet can lead to career compromises.
When an individual is unemployed and has limited financial reserves to sustain a job search, work smarter – not harder. The job seeker should choose a position that enables them to learn new, marketable skills, or will serve as a stepping stone to their target position.
Above all else, it is imperative the job seeker understand his or her professional goals, and have a deliberate career plan to fall back on when facing the challenges presented here. Don’t compromise strategic career goals in light of any situation, and experience the rewards of managing a successful professional life.
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.