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Candidate Blog: My three bits of advice to avoid ending up in a career disaster zone like me

I'm looking for a new job. Over the past year I've met recruiters, spoken to friends and trawled the web to no avail. Here are the three big mistakes which I've made and you should avoid:

1) Avoid stagnating in the same firm

Now that I've been working (hard!) for almost five years in the same company, it should not have been too difficult to get a job offer. But alas, I have not even gone to a single interview.

Why? Well, because what I have done over the past five years has added little value to where I want to be. This is especially so in the current "middle child" phase of my career - I'm either too junior or too experienced for the roles that would get me ahead. I either take a plunge in salary and start from the bottom, or stay until the next recession knocks everyone around like a game of musical chairs.

2) Everything you do must boost your resume

In hindsight, this one seems so obvious. But in five years, I never paid attention to my CV. You must ask yourself everyday whether the things you do at work are actually doing anything to add value to your resume, in case you find yourself in the job market.

3) Be a fisherman, not a fish

I have met several recruiters recently. I'm not out to dish dirt on them, but I wonder whether I am the one casting for jobs, or if I am the one on the hook.

After talking to one particular recruiter, I keep getting forwarded emails from colleagues who have received a one-line email from him about how this particular job would be up their street. But more often than not, these positions are not even in the same field as the recipient.

If that's the way that recruiters get contacts, I wonder whether that's how they treat resumes coming their way. Perhaps they just throw them up in the wind, with many landing in the reject bin. I would have expected some greater pride in their job. It is important, therefore, to find a recruiter who doesn't treat you like a fish.

So, here I am, still on that quest for the promised land of a better job. Will I find it soon? I'm not quite sure. But I'm taking what I've learnt and I'm trying to do things differently now. If I get there, I'll let you know.

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • Ra
    16 September 2011

    What you said is right but don't just despair, keep trying something to help yourself. I have seen so many people I wouldn't hire myself getting new jobs. it can be done.

  • Ru
    16 September 2011

    Your first point may not be factually accurate. Being in the same role over 5 years (especially if it not challenging you on a regular basis and helping you learn/grow as a person) is definitely a career killer. But working in the same org show commitment and a willing to tough it out.

    Case in point. I work for consulting firms and end up working with different clients. This results in heaps of projects with different client names on them. At the end of the day, I have to explain to each prospective employer that I was a consultant and was at client sites while working for the SAME employer. I've restructured my resume heaps of times but it also has the same net effect as no one bothers to look.

    I've also been on the unfortunate end of getting retrenched several times over the last few years. This has not particularly helped my cause even though it was economic conditions and not my capability or performance in question.

    Whatever you do, have short, medium and long term career goals. Ensure your current role is helping achieve atleast your short term goals or else look for other roles in your own org first.

    Last of all, network as much as you can in your own org & the

  • Sa
    16 September 2011

    1. It is quite possible, jobs are not available in the market matching your skills and experience. In this case, I suggest all the job seekers to work harder to tailor their resume inline to the job they are applying.

    2. I'll suggest, If you are not getting a ready made job in any company please try to create one for yourself. Send your resume in such a fashionable manner that the hiring manager should create a vacancy for you. Show them what they are loosing by not having you in their company. Alternatively, tell them how you can bring value to the organization and fulfill the ROI.

    All the best Happy hunting :)

  • Ra
    14 September 2011

    Instead of betting completely on the headhunter, it is wise to explore opportunities through other channels (exploring through buddies or friends in other firms). Now-a-days firms like to encourage staff referrals as it saves them money i.e. payout to referral is less than that paid to headhunters for sourcing candidates.....

  • Ba
    13 September 2011

    Its a known fact that in most of the banks,the job one does do not improve the CV as thats the function.So,try doing something out of the way as few employers will take you for what you have done,many will take for what you can do.

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