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12 Things Job Applicants Should Stop Doing

12 Things Job Applicants Should Stop Doing

How to get noticed by employers for all the wrong reasons

Most job applicants make a few mistakes when looking for work, like forgetting to include something on a resume that might have been helpful in a job application. But some mistakes are significant enough to ensure you don’t get considered for a job, or are knocked out of contention even if you are qualified. Take care not to make these simple and easy to avoid mistakes.

Cover Letter and Resume

1. Spelling mistakes

There’s no excuse for any job applicant to have mistakes in a cover letter or Resume. Use spell check and look for fragments and incomplete or unclear terms, not just typos. The resume and cover letter are your first and possibly only way to communicate your interest in a job, so put your best foot forward.

2. Applying more than once for the same job

Companies can tell when you’ve applied to the same job multiple times. It’s annoying, and time consuming for recruiters, so don’t do it. It won’t help them to find your job application any faster, and it won’t make it look any better. In fact, you will look worse for applying more than once. The recruiter will wonder if you are forgetful, or just being difficult.

3. Not being truthful

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Always tell the truth on your resume. Your job application should be easy to follow and completely true. Be clear about dates and titles, and honest about what you actually did. If you worked on projects in Thailand, but didn’t live there, don’t say you did.

4. Leaving big gaps in time

If you leave gaps in your resume about what you were doing, the recruiter will make their own assumptions. Given the recession, they are likely to assume you were out of work. Maybe you were, and that’s OK. You must have been busy looking for a job, or back packing or volunteering. Fill in the timeline for recruiters when applying for a job so they know what you have been doing. Having other experiences can paint a picture of a well rounded person, and most companies appreciate that.

Interview

5. Being late

Never be late for a interview. Arrive at least fifteen minutes early every time. You can use that time to see how people interact with each other, what they wear to work, how the phones are answered, how they treat you and how the office looks as an outsider. You can glean a lot of information about your prospective employer if you are perceptive. Being late is the worst thing you can do because it shows you don’t care, or respect the interviewers time. They might keep you waiting, but you can’t keep them waiting. Even if there was traffic, train delays or another fiasco that delayed you, the recruiter does not want to know. Be professional and be on time.

6. Chewing gum

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Never arrive to a job interview chewing gum, eating, or with a coffee in hand. It demonstrates a lack of professionalism and a nonchalant attitude to the process. They won’t take you seriously if you are chewing or eating. If you need a drink, or are dehydrated, ask for a glass of water if it isn’t offered.

7. Not turning off your phone or tablet

Always turn off your mobile device before you enter the office building where you are being interviewed. It’s embarrassing to have the phone ringing or beeping when you are interviewing. The Recruiter might have their device on, and they might even take a call, which is extremely rude, but they are in the driver seat in a job interview, so make sure you behave as you would like them to behave.

8. Interrupting the recruiter

Don’t interrupt when other people are talking. It’s rude and it shows you lack patience.  The recruiter will think  this is how you always are, even if it’s just nerves. Hold your tongue until a break in speech occurs, and then dazzle them with your ideas.

Social Media 

9. Posting compromising pictures

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You might look great in a bikini or have a selfie that shows you having lots of fun, but prospective employers are looking on-line at your social media profiles and they want to see respectable people who won’t embarrass their company. Posting any pictures that show a lack of judgement will hurt your job application, but you likely won’t know it, because they probably won’t contact you after a quick scan of your social media presence. Take down anything that looks inappropriate and don’t post anything else questionable.

10. Swearing and using aggressive language

People have been fired for using inappropriate, sexist, demeaning, or other derogatory language online. Don’t do it. Keep your profile comments appropriate for a general audience both when you are a job applicant, and when you land a job. Anything that raises questions about your suitability will work against you, so keep your profile language clean and friendly.

Other bad things job applicants do

11. Calling and emailing the recruiter over and over

Although it can be tempting to find out what is happening with your application, calling often won’t give you the result you are looking for. Most companies receive hundreds of applications for each job, and it can be daunting to address the volume, so instead of contacting each applicant, they often don’t give a reply. While this is not best practice, it is reality. If you haven’t heard from a company, the chances are they are not considering you for the role, or have, and decided not to proceed with your job application. The caveat is when you’ve been interviewed and had no reply. Then at least some effort can be made to find out what happened and why. Otherwise, don’t waste your time chasing your job application status. Move on to the next one.

12. Being rude when you don’t get a job

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Even if you thought you were the best applicant for a job, if you get turned down, move on. Don’t post your experience on the internet because the next prospective employer will see it and might not call you at all.

For more ideas about what not to do as a job applicant, check out these sites:  

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/jobsearchmistakes/a/how-not-to-apply-for-a-job.htm

http://govcareers.about.com/od/JobSearch/tp/10-Mistakes-That-Will-Get-Your-Job-Application-Thrown-Away.htm

http://www.workbabble.com/2011/04/8-common-job-application-mistakes.html

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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