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Maybe you were laid off recently, or your current job is driving you crazy. Perhaps you’re a new graduate or looking to change careers. Whatever the situation, job searches can be exhausting. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated by the sheer length of the process.

“I just got rejected from my dream job, when I read the job description, I thought I was perfect for the role. But, they didn’t even interview me.”*

Most job seekers fall into a common job-hunting trap — applying for a job listing online and jumping to the conclusion that they’re the perfect candidate for what seems like their dream job. They fall in love with the idea of the job without ever being interviewed or getting a chance to learn more about it.

At muto-consults.com  we’ve seen enthusiastic candidates cluelessly fumble through the application process and get unceremoniously rejected. But we’ve also seen cases in which not securing an interview had nothing to do with the candidate. You may have the right skills and expertise, but you still do not fit the criteria of what a company is looking for at the moment.

After discussing the harsh realities of job hunting with applicants, some slowly begin to understand what they can and cannot control in the process. While there’s no quick fix to something everyone has to face sooner or later, we’ve put together some tips to improve your chances of finding a job and actually getting hired.

  1. Accept that your “dream job” doesn’t exist.

This is a hard reality for some people, but it’s important to acknowledge it. While there are several reasons you may think a role is perfect for you—a company’s reputation, a job description that instantly catches your eye—every job has good parts and dreadful parts. What you might label your dream job,could turn out to be a nightmare if you don’t have a great manager, supportive colleagues, or a decent company culture. Accepting this will take some pressure off of your search for the perfect role. Instead of riding that roller coaster of anxiety and disappointment, you’ll find it easier to evaluate the positives and negatives of each job you apply to, and you will likely apply to more.

  1. Apply to Jobs Matching Your Skills

Spend your time wisely. Go after jobs that are the best fit for you. Focus on the jobs you believe you would be good at and that you might have the skills for. When looking at job postings, focus on the “responsibilities” section that describes what the job entails, and apply to those in which you can do much of what’s listed. This helps to narrow your search and not waste your time on jobs that are not a good match for you.

  1. Revise Your Resume to Match the Job

While most job hunters understand that they need to write a separate cover letter for each job they apply to, it is also a good idea to make sure your resume is tailored to each job. Review how the job posting is written, and be sure that if you have some of the key qualifications listed in the job, they are included at the top of your resume. This can be time-consuming, but it may prove to be more successful than simply sending a generic resume.

  1. Have Someone Proofread Your Resume

Before you send your resume to a hiring manager, ask someone to proofread it. Even though you have worked very diligently to make it perfect, it’s quite possible you may have made a spelling error or left out an important fact that someone who is seeing the document for the first time will notice. Submitting a resume without errors will show a potential employer that you care about detail. A resume filled with errors could cost you a job, and that’s a mistake that can be easily avoided with the help of a proofreader.

  1. Dress for Success

When you land an interview, you’ll want to make a winning appearance. First impressions do matter, and studies show that hiring managers may take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes to form an impression. Dress professionally based on the company and industry. If you are unsure about what to wear, a good rule is to dress one or two steps above the position for which you are applying. For example, if the position you’re interviewing for is entry-level, dress as though you are a manager. If you feel comfortable asking, inquire about the dress code when invited to an interview. That way, you have a good chance of showing up as someone who will fit into the company’s culture.

  1. Prepare for the Interview

Having your wardrobe planned out is just one step to preparing for a successful interview. In addition, once you get an interview, be sure to do the following: Research the company so you have some solid knowledge about what it does, some of its successes, and basic information about the people who work there; review the job description to refresh your memory on how your skills are a good match; have your own success stories about how your work or volunteer experiences related to the position; and prepare some questions to ask about the company.

  1. Ace the Interview

When the interviewer comes to the reception area to meet you, be sure to smile and give a nice handshake. Be pleasant and friendly, even if you have been made to wait a long time. Listen carefully to the questions and do your best to answer them conversationally, using your success story examples where appropriate.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest, but if it makes sense, you can explain that it’s something you’d like to learn about or consider asking a question related to what was asked. Do not try to be funny or make jokes. Your humor may not be the same as that of the interviewer. If the interviewer asks if you have any questions, ask the ones you’ve prepared if they haven’t already been covered, or ask additional ones that came up during your interview.

It’s generally acceptable at the end of the interview to say that you are very interested in the position and ask when you can expect to hear a decision. Remember to thank the interviewer for his or her time.

Job-hunting is hard, especially now, when most people are struggling to find opportunities. Although much of the process is out of your hands, control what you can by preparing, exploring many different options, and keeping an open mind. And don’t take it personally if you get rejected. It’s just part of the process, for everyone.

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