Over the coming weeks, many people will be actively looking for new jobs. Their numbers will be considerably higher than is normal for this time of the year. Many will be coming from industries that have been hit hard by the Covid-19 situation. Most will feel some sense of urgency to their search, an urgency related to the simple need to be able to support themselves and their families, because Covid-19 has taken this away from them.

The Top 3 Mistakes

There are challenges associated with searching for jobs when so many others are doing the same thing. How a person addresses these can have a direct impact on the effectiveness of the ‘search’ and whether it’s successful or not. The top 3 mistakes I see people making are these:


The default response in stressful situations for many is to do a lot of ‘busy’ work. For people who are desperate to find a job, this can lead to a lot of activity that is not very effective. Applying for lots of jobs every week using the same CV and cover letter is a good example of this kind of activity.

Getting Fixed On One Option:

Competition for jobs is likely to be intense. Focussing on only one type of job, one particular organisation, or one industry might not deliver a job.

Not Presenting The Very Best Version Of ‘You’:

A CV and Cover Letter needs to tell a recruiter what they need to hear so that they can understand what a person has to offer and how they will ‘fit’ in an organisation. A person sells themselves short if they don’t achieve this.

The Most Important Thing

People are making significant career decisions at the moment, often because of situations beyond their control. I can appreciate the importance of actually getting a job and being able to return to work, but somewhere in the mix there’s one thing that can easily get overlooked. In many ways it’s the main thing that will ensure that a career decision is going to work out well in the long run. And that’s giving some thought to the things that are really important to a person in their work. These are called Career Values.

Way back in 2013, when my company, The Career Clinic revised one of its earlier workbooks, we added in a description of Career Values. The Workbook was designed to help clients work out what was important to them. They were encouraged to use this information when they were making decisions about their work and careers. We described Career Values like this:

“Your career values define the things that are important to you in your work. They arise out of your value system and are influenced by your background and your philosophy and beliefs about life. They are important in not only choosing the right occupation, but also the environment you want to work in, and the type of people you want to work with. They are strongly linked to career satisfaction. You are more likely to be happy in your work when there is an alignment between your values, and those of your workplace. If this alignment is weak, or doesn’t exist, you are more likely to be dissatisfied and unhappy with your job. They should be at the centre of every career decision.”

Talking about Career Values is core to nearly every career conversation I have had with clients over the years. So let’s unpack the description above from a job seeker perspective:

Your career values are the things you recognise as being important to you. When you have identified them, you can use this information to help you work out whether:

  • A particular job will be satisfying for you or not
  • A particular work environment will enable you to do your best work or not
  • You will enjoy working with a particular work team or not
  • The organisations you are considering working for have values that align with your own or not

There is evidence from a variety of sources that identifies strong links between job satisfaction and values.

The very best career decisions are based on trying to find a job in a workplace where there is alignment with the things that are important to you, your Career Values.

How To Address The Top 3 Mistakes

Practical advice for those of you who are job hunting

Don’t let desperation drive you to make poor career decisions.

Make a plan of action for yourself and think carefully about what your values are, the kind of job you actually want, and what you have to offer. Then take the time to customise your CVs and Cover Letters to fit each particular job you apply for. Avoid the scatter gun approach.

Try to keep an open mind regarding your options

Don’t get too fixed on only one particular job or organisation. You will have a skill set that is very likely to be transferable to a number of different roles and organisations. Try to broaden your range of options and the places where your skills might apply.

Make sure your CVs and Cover Letters are well-written, well laid out, and customised

With each job you apply for, you need to very clearly tell a recruiter what you have to offer and why you are the best person for the job. Include your transferable skills and any information that is relevant to the jobs you are applying for. Don’t be afraid to let your brilliance shine through your achievements.

You are more likely to be successful with a job search if you avoid the Top 3 Mistakes. Including some consideration of your values when you assess your options could be the thing that takes a ‘job’ to a ‘great job’. You won’t regret it in the long run.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with the process of finding a new job, give me a call to discuss how I might be able to help. Help could be:

  • As simple as working out a job search checklist
  • A wider discussion about your career direction
  • Processes to work out your Career Values and identify your Skills
  • Working with you to develop an up-to-date CV that you can customise, when you apply for jobs
  • A discussion about ways to access the hidden job market
Janet Tuck

Janet Tuck

Career Management Specialist

M: +64 21 526 387
E: janet@careerclinic.co.nz

I’m here if you need help with any of the things mentioned above, or simply to discuss your next steps and how you are going to pick up the pieces. Give me a call or email me.

Phone or email Janet Tuck at Career Clinic to find out more.
Mobile: 021 526 387

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