Job Search Pitfalls To Avoid In 2020
You’ve had enough of your boss. He just doesn’t get it, and you’re done explaining things to him.
Or maybe the company you’re at is great, but isn’t growing fast enough to keep you challenged.
Whatever the reason, as 2020 starts, you may be thinking that it’s time to get a new job. Excitedly, you log on to Seek.com, type in your dream job title and start scrolling through advertised opportunities.
- General manager, operations at a funky, young fintech company. Nice.
- Operations manager at a large Aussie bank. You could do that.
The list continues.
But as you scroll, a new reality dawns upon you. You won’t get these roles just by sending in your dated old resume and waiting for the phone to ring. You’ll have to update your resume, revamp your LinkedIn profile, go to interviews, attend networking meetings, yadda, yadda.
That’s a lot of effort.
Plus, you’ve been back at work for a week and you’re already swamped with an email backlog that’s longer and more treacherous than the river Nile.
All of a sudden, the thought of switching roles doesn’t seem so appealing. You decide that you don’t need the extra stress in your life and instead focus on your current job, postponing the idea of a title bump for another time. Maybe next year.
Was it the right decision?
There’s a big difference between making a smart decision to stay put in your current role (because it’s the best move for you) and becoming complacent. This difference is not immediately obvious, but comes down to identifying the 3 common mental roadblocks that tend to sabotage our careers. If you notice any of these in yourself, you’re probably being complacent – are overdue for a smart career change.
Mental Roadblock #1: “There Are No Good Opportunities At My Company.”
Most people assume that the best opportunities exist beyond the walls of our current employer. This is almost never the case.
If your company is growing, its leadership will be looking for ways to fix operational issues that are inevitable during an upturn. If your company is in a negative downcycle, the same leadership will be looking for ways to strip out costs. And if it’s stuck in “business as usual”, the leadership will be looking for ways to stimulate growth and ward off competitors.
Look out for these opportunities. Network within. Identify issues and position yourself as the person who is willing to fix them. Make it clear that you’d like to take on cross-functional assignments. Speak to your boss about leading bigger projects.
The more you step outside the boundaries of your current role, the more opportunities will present themselves.
Mental Roadblock #2: “All I Need Is A Great Resume.”
A top-notch resume can give you a tremendous advantage. Most resumes are terribly written, so submitting one that ticks all the right boxes will help recruiters see you in a different light.
That being said, it’s important to know that a resume is not a magic pill that will solve all if your job search issues. A lot of candidates fail to recognise this; as a result, they send their resume to 5-10 employers and wait for the phone to ring. When this effort fails to produce meaningful results, they conclude that “the job market isn’t good right now” and abandon their efforts.
To give yourself the best possible chance, think of your job search as a long game that involves warming up the right opportunities and “sealing the deal” when the time is right. Your resume is responsible for about 30-40% of this effort.
The rest depends on you being able to meet the right people and ignite their curiosity with the right story about yourself. It depends on you knowing your strengths, weaknesses and – importantly – reasons for your previous career choices. You must be able to paint a congruent career narrative about who you are, where you’ve been (career-wise) and where you’re looking to head.
To learn more about achieving success in the job search market in 2020, watch this TED talk:
Mental Roadblock #3: “I Don’t Need The Stress Right Now.”
Let’s face it – no one does. And it will never be the right time to “add the stress of job search” to your life.
Just like any worthwhile initiative – e.g., an exercise routine or a savings strategy, job search requires a short-term – often uncomfortable – investment in order to yield a long-term result.
You already have a busy life, so it’s perfectly normal to feel a sense of stress when you think about adding job search to your already full plate. Instead of waiting for that perfect opportune moment (that will never come,) I suggest you block off at least 5 hours per week in your diary, and allocate it to your job search.
I don’t have the time, I hear you say.
If you get really honest with yourself, you’ll realise that you’re spending a lot more than 5 hours per week on habits that are not serving you – flicking through Netflix, scrolling through social media, etc. The time is there. You just have to make a choice to use it well.
Reinvigorating your career in 2020 will require you to step outside of your comfort zone.
You’ll be tempted to tell yourself that “it’s not the right time”, that the best career opportunities are “outside of your immediate reach” (and therefore not worth the effort), or that your resume “is all I need” to score a job. All of these are mental roadblocks that are likely to make your career stall and increase your sense of dissatisfaction with your current role. Make 2020 the year you chase your career dreams.
All the best,