by Heather R. Huhman
Study after study is released with statistics about the job search to make you cringe. First, job seekers don’t know how to behave in interviews, then they don’t know how to write resumes; are you doing all these things wrong, too? While there are many reasons the job search should scare you, there are plenty more reasons why you can overcome those fears and get ahead of the curve.
Here are 11 scary statistics about the job search and how you can conquer them:
1. Let’s start off with something almost every job seeker fears: interviews. Research shows 92 percent of Americans are afraid of at least one thing about the job interview process. Whether it’s nerves, the wrong qualifications, difficult interview questions, being late, or not being prepared, everyone is scared of interviews for some reason or another. But you don’t have to be. Go into your next interview with confidence by doing lots of research and practicing tough questions. The prep work is half the battle.
2. Here’s a scary stat you can easily fix: on average, job seekers spend less than 60 seconds reviewing a job posting before deciding to apply or pass. This is not a good way to determine if the job is something you actually want to do. You need to put some more effort into this kind of decision. Learn more about the company, compare the job description to your resume, and take your time. If you put more effort into reading the posting, you can better demonstrate your fit for the position in your application.
3. Be careful what you tweet — 42 percent of employers have reconsidered a candidate based on social media content. It’s OK, though, because your social profiles can have both positive and negative consequences. The key things to avoid posting include profanity, grammatical errors, and to be on the safe side, references to alcohol use.
4. Resumes are always a big concern for job seekers. They can make or break your opportunity to interview for a position. In fact, nearly 60 percent of employers said the most common problem with resumes are typos. Additionally, 36 percent said resumes most resumes are too generic and don’t seem personalized for the position. It’s really easy to fix these errors. First, personalize your resume to each job opening by matching your background to keywords from the job description. Then, get a friend or two to read through your resume for a spelling and grammar check. It’s so simple!
5. More than one-quarter of employers only accept digital resumes, leaving mailed-in hard copies unopened. Make sure you know an employer’s rules before submitting one way or the other. If you can’t figure it out, ask in an email or phone call. If all else fails, submit your resume both ways to be safe.
6. Wherever this collective fear of salary negotiation came from, it needs to be conquered. Even though 45 percent of employers expect to negotiate salaries for initial job offers, almost half of job seekers accept the first offer given to them. You’re not doing yourself any favors if you let this go. Do some research to decide what you think you should be earning and make sure you get it. A good number of employers will work with you.
7. Only 1.5 percent of employers expect the hiring environment to get less competitive in the coming year. This means almost all of them anticipate more competition in your job search. Do not let this scare you. There are lots of ways you can stand out from your competition. Work on your personal brand, expand and reach out to your network, connect with employers on social media, and pick up some extra skills. Determine what makes you unique and emphasize it in every interview. If you do these things, you’ll find a job that fits you perfectly.
8. More than 60 percent of working adults worry about losing their jobs in today’s economic climate. So many of you are scared, but unemployment doesn’t have to be so scary. Use the time to volunteer, take a class, or pick up some freelance work. As you look for your next job, you can say, “Yes, I lost my job, but look at all the things I did as a result.”
9. Many job seekers are also afraid of being overqualified. Surveys show 75 percent of twenty-somethings think their skills exceed those of an entry-level job. It’s not the end of the world if you feel like you can do better. Accept the job you are offered, and use it as an opportunity to excel. Speak up in meetings, volunteer to lead projects, and pitch innovative ideas. Even if you feel overqualified now, you can easily set yourself up to advance to something more.
10. According to the same survey, 64 percent of adults are nervous about Millennials leading the workforce. Whether you belong to this generation or not, it’s time to realize all the things Millennials can bring to the table. Between their knack for technology and their unlimited creativity, Millennials are prepared to be the future of the workforce.
11. Everybody wants to live the dream, but only 14 percent of Americans say they are currently in their dream careers. While it’s scary to accept a job that’s not ideal, you should be open to it anyway. Even if a job is the complete opposite of where you saw yourself, you might find a new path leading to your dream job, or even discover a new dream altogether. Even if it’s scary, be open to uncertainty.
Between the economy, interviews, and generational differences, there are a lot of reasons for you to be afraid of the job search. You need to figure out what scares you and then find a way to kick that fear to the curb. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish when you let go of those fears.
Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.