Taking any job you can get may seem like the only option when the job market is bleak. But you shouldn’t resign yourself to suffering through a miserable work experience. The wrong job can have damaging effects on your quality of life and your career future, so it pays to be choosy.
Before You Apply
One way to avoid settling in your job search is to avoid blindly applying. First, identify the target companies where you’d most like to work. Then apply to the jobs that match your qualifications and career goals. You should have the basic qualifications for the position, and additional qualifications should be attainable. Setting up email alerts for jobs that match your criteria so you’ll be less tempted to apply to positions that aren’t the best fit.
The Application Process
Once you’re confident that a position meets your standards, it’s time to make your case. A resume represents not only your education and experience, but your communication and organizational skills. Therefore, it’s essential to know what to include on your resume and how to best organize that information. A cover letter should expound upon information on the resume, including career goals and more details about your past experiences.
If you can identify company contacts within your network, reach out to them. A good word from a trusted company insider may get your resume in the right hands or give you an advantage when it comes down to which applicants get an interview.
During the Interview(s)
A job interview is not meant to be one-sided. For inexperienced job-seekers, interviews can feel like an interrogation. But the interview provides the opportunity to get a clearer picture of a potential employer. Don’t let nerves stop you from asking important questions including what your responsibilities will be, how your performance will be measured, and what growth opportunities are available.
Making the Decision
The decision about which job to take can affect the trajectory of your career. Therefore, it’s important to weigh every factor (pay, benefits, work environment, employer reputation, etc). If necessary, ask additional questions of your potential employers to make weighing your decision easier. Getting the input of other people is fine, but you are the only one that has to live with the decision. What if you only have one offer? It’s still okay to take a day or two to think about it and to ask more questions for clarification.
The best way to avoid landing in the wrong job is to be careful before and throughout the application process. Don’t allow yourself to become desperate, because desperate job-seekers are easily manipulated by unscrupulous employers. For advice on finding a job in any market, read Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0: How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap Into the Hidden Job Market using Social Media and 999 other Tactics Today .