One of the gripes I hear most frequently from clients and colleagues is that there just aren’t any jobs right now. And, of course, what you mean when you say that is: I see jobs, but they just aren’t right. Or they’re perfect, but I’m not ready for that level yet.
Know that you are not alone. It takes patience. I just sorted through my own job alerts (yes, even career coaches are ever-looking!), and thought I’d share with you the 5 types of jobs in my alerts.
#1 – Work I Do Now
There are times when you want to keep doing the same work, just elsewhere. And that’s fine. But I see a lot of “I already do this right now” job ads in my job alerts. Meaning: not my “next.”
Interesting sidenote, though is that on several of these, the description is pretty much a xerox copy of what I do now, day in, day out. But yet I don’t meet their stated minimum qualifications. Shakes fist skyward! Just remember when you do see that, that a job ad is a wishlist of who the organization wishes they could find, if the ideal candidate existed. So if I were interested in one of those, I would write the hiring manager directly and drop a copy of my resume in with my email cover letter (before submitting it through the online applicant tracking system).
#2 – Work I Don’t Want
The next most common type that I’m seeing is where I meet all of the minimum, and maybe even many of the desired qualifications, but it’s work I’m not even remotely interested in doing. Period. End of story. Delete.
#3 – Looks So Good…Until I See the Salary
These are when I see the job title, and I’m intrigued. I start reading the description and I’m getting more excited. I scan through the qualifications and it’s all looking like a Go for apply.
And then I get to the Salary and it’s WAY below what I can do or expect. Next!
#4 – Scammy Job Ads
Because my alerts are specific to higher ed, I get a LOT of alerts for work at questionable, scammy for-profit or “online”-only universities. And no, I’m not looking down on online ed, here I’m using scare quotes on purpose because these are online universities that I’ve never even heard of and may not even have a profile in HigherEd Jobs.
That does very little to assuage me that the workplace will be of high quality, or that it’ll be a long-lasting job.
#5 – The Unicorn
This is where you see a job ad that has a very specific (and often bizarre) combination of KSAs (knowledge-skills-abilities), which should be a red flag for you. That tends to indicate they are looking for a very specific person, usually an internal candidate for whom they have tailor-made the qualifications to ensure they outrank any other applicants in the process.
Now, every once in a blue moon, and I’m talking REALLY rarely, you’ll see a Unicorn that seems to be tailor-made FOR YOU. In which case, hot damn! Get on that & apply! You never know.
So if you are frustrated by the strange job descriptions that are coming across your email, you are not alone. It takes time, patience, and being ready – by having a job alert, by having a master resume and cover letter, and by knowing what you are looking for at this moment.