The list of “perfect” job applicants on the market is pretty minuscule. Almost everyone has some sort of weakness in their résumé, but the most effective candidates will be able to identify and overcome them, or even turn them into strengths.
Below are a few common job-search weaknesses, and tips for how to deal with them.
- Employment Gaps – You might have extended periods on your résumé where you weren’t actively employed, which can raise some red flags for hiring managers. If you’re having trouble filling that void, consider mentioning some possible substitutes; continuing your education, seeking professional certification and spending time doing volunteer work are all reasonable alternatives. In interviews, don’t be afraid to talk about important travel or life experiences you may have had during this time. Some companies will value the viewpoint of someone with unusual life experience.
- Lacking Relevant Experience – Sometimes you may apply for positions where your current experience isn’t readily transferable, or you may be lacking in experience generally. That’s okay! Focus on your work ethic, positive professional attitude and willingness to learn. Hiring managers know that skills are a lot easier to teach than personality traits.
- Poor Interview Skills – Some candidates with great résumés have a tough time summoning the self-confidence to sell themselves to interviewers, while others are skilled in their field but lack polish when it comes to etiquette, communication or appearance. Enlist the help of a friend who you know will be honest, or better yet, a professional, to practice interviews with you and offer feedback on how you can improve. Practice and preparation are the keys here.
- High Turnover – Most hiring managers will cast a wary eye over any applicant whose work history shows multiple job switches in a relatively short period, as this can indicate a difficult-to-work-with personality or flaky lack of commitment. Turn this on its head, stressing your adaptability and the deep, broad skill set you’ve developed working in multiple environments.
By coming to grips with your job-search weaknesses, you can take steps to mitigate the damage they can do to your chances, and you can even turn them into assets.