1. Home
  2. Insights

Beliefs and Realities of the Job Search

There is a big difference between optimism and truly being prepared, both of which can impact a positive attitude in a job search. Don't let yourself get blindsided by a potential issue you haven't expected. Keeping an eye on what's expected in the application process, and being able to adapt and adjust to different changes, will help you develop a better strategy for dealing with the search.

Belief: People believe that their skills will automatically translate into any position, and that having the right skills will land them a job quickly.

Reality: That's a problematic way of thinking, Business Insider said. Employers are looking for people who they are absolutely certain will be able to do the job with minimal amounts of training, if any at all.

Even if you have those skills they're looking for, though, there is no guarantee that you'll immediately land the job. Employers receive dozens, if not more, applications for most jobs. Out of that crop, they can only take one. If your personality, temperament or career progression is even slightly off from what an employer wants, you might not land the job. Instead, try to find feedback on what your strengths are, and use that information in future resumes and interviews.

Belief: You can prepare for any interview question they might ask.

Reality: Some questions might catch you off guard. Be ready in those situations.

There are some questions that interviewers may ask that often catch prospective job seekers off guard. One of the most common questions to be prepared for is regarding your desired salary. If you flounder or fumble when asked the question, your potential employer might not take you seriously. If you're not sure how to answer, just mention some past levels of pay you've received, and mention that you're willing to take differences like your role, your environment and cost of living into account. The best thing you can do with the salary question is to steer the conversation back toward the value you represent for the company instead of the initial costs.

Your potential employers will also often ask you not about the jobs you've held in past jobs, but in your key accomplishments. Most of your competition will have written about past jobs in their resumes as well. Where you can separate yourself from the crowd is by using a "challenge, action, result" statement, Business Insider said. To do so, explain a challenge you faced (must increase sales, for instance), and then the plan you took to overcome the challenge and what the results were (met with clients, increased sales by 10 percent). Presenting your experience in this way will show a potential employer that you have many desirable soft skills such as problem solving or goal setting that aren't inherently teachable.

Belief: Mass-applying to a lot of jobs at once will get you a position you want faster.

Reality: Applications that aren't personalized or specific to a job search will end up at the bottom of the resume stack, if they get seen at all.

The "pray and spray" approach is one of the oldest tricks in the job searching book, where an applicant sends off their resume and a form cover letter to any job listing they could even remotely qualify for. This is an awful approach to securing your next job, according to the BBC.

If an application seems to be depersonalized or from someone who isn't interested - or doesn't follow some of the specific instructions found in the actual listing - the hiring manager in charge will just throw it in the trash. You'll need to make sure your applications are targeted toward positions you're interested in and qualified to work in. Otherwise, you'll find that your search might be longer than you'd hope.