If you are currently on the hunt for your next job in the fintech or financial service industries, you may be making some big mistakes during your job search that can potentially cost you that interview or even that lucrative job offer. Take our quiz below to see if you are making any of the more common errors when applying for jobs this year. We are big believers that knowledge is power.
1. Should you apply for jobs that don’t fit your experience and qualifications?
A) Yes – apply for anything you find interesting. Definitely worth a shot.
B) No – focus on jobs that fit your prior experience, background and skills.
Apply for what fits. Better to focus on opportunities for which you are potentially qualified. Taking long shots is not a great use of your time.
2. When updating your resume, what should you emphasize?
A) Overall, your resume should show that you meet the basic job requirements and that your work history shows career progression.
B) You should include all your experience, regardless how old or irrelevant, so it shows you’re a good worker. List all jobs you have done over the years.
Your resume does not have to include very old or irrelevant experience (although you might be asked for those details later for a background check). Showcase the roles that support your qualifications for the particular job you’re pursuing-- just make sure you don’t look like a job-hopper with “holes” in your resume. Be sure to note valid reasons for short tenures. Your resume tells a story so make sure you are in control of that narrative.
3. How should you showcase your core competencies on your resume?
A) Back up your experience with quantifiable achievements wherever possible.
B) Stick to the basic descriptions of the roles you previously completed, e.g., Operations Executive or Team Leader, etc., and discuss accomplishments when on the interview.
Always quantify results wherever possible. Depending on your professional field, this might be your sales track record, cost or time savings you brought about for your employer, or simply the size of the book of business or the department budget you handled. Think about what facts you can add – even company awards you received and why. Numbers personify your accomplishments so use then when you can.
4. Should you adjust your resume to fit individual applications?
A) Yes - focus on always showcasing your core competencies and how they relate to the specific job you are applying for.
B) No - better to focus on the volume of resumes you’re sending out, for wider coverage. Don’t waste your time tweaking your resume for each specific role you apply for.
You should take the time to tweak your resume for specific roles. The better fit you appear to be, the better your chance of getting an interview. Use you time and efforts wisely.
5. Will your resume be considered for multiple job positions within the same company?
A) No – within most companies, you’ll need to keep an eye on the job board and apply for each vacancy they may have. Many companies don’t go through their internal database for new openings.
B) Yes – recruiters will do all of the hard work for you and find a position that best suits you within the company. Focus your energy on other things that are more important.
You have to stay alert to suitable openings on your own. Being “in the database” does not mean you’re an active applicant for all future roles. Sometimes recruiters or hiring managers will remember your qualifications or search the database and reach out to you, but you can’t depend on that. Apply for what fits.
6. When completing a recruitment questionnaire for a specific position, should you always rate your skills as high as possible?
A) Yes – giving yourself the highest ranking will mean you are much more likely to land an interview.
B) No – only answer these questionnaires honestly, as you’ll appear more coachable and sincere. Nearly everyone has skill gaps or areas where they need more experience or training, and recruiters know what’s a deal-breaker and what’s not. There’s no substitute for honesty.
Always be truthful. Your integrity is more important than any skills gap you might have. You can learn new skills through training, but you might not be able to retrieve your good name if you’ve lied or over-embellished.
7. After submitting your application, should you follow up on your job search?
A) Yes – try to speak with recruiters on the phone if possible, and then follow up with a bi-monthly email to remind them you are still looking for a new position.
B) No – it’s best just to assume that the recruiter has received your application and not bother them with a follow-up email.
Follow up by phone or email to let recruiters know you are still in the market. You want to keep your name in front of them, but not to excess where you are perceived as a pest. Bi-monthly should be sufficient.
8. Is it a good idea to include a detailed cover letter in addition to your resume?
A) No – your resume should be a stand-alone document, as cover letters are often not passed on to the hiring manager and are barely read by most companies today.
B) Yes – try to create a detailed cover letter to showcase all of your achievements.
Your resume is your marketing document and must be able to stand on its own, in a database or on a hiring manager’s desk. Concentrate on the resume; cover letters quickly fall by the wayside.
9. Should your resume include the number of years of experience you have in your industry?
A) Yes – it’s always best to explicitly state the number of years of experience you have, e.g., 15 years of experience. More is better!
B) No – use a generic term such as “extensive experience,” as this will ensure you are still kept in the running for positions that may require more or less experience than what you have.
You don’t want to be arbitrarily ruled out of the candidate pool because you are slightly junior or overly senior to the experience given in the job requirements. You want recruiters to read deeper about your skills and qualifications and not be put off by a number.
10. Should you include the reason for leaving a position after a short tenure in your resume?
A) Yes – job-hoppers are very difficult to place, so if you left your previous company due to relocations or downsizing, it’s important to include this information in your resume.
B) No – the recruiter will ask questions about this when it’s relevant.
Short tenures are generally red flags to recruiters, so it’s better to note that you were affected by a layoff, a merger, a reorg, etc. than to leave it open to question as to why you left a job so soon. Employers look for signs of commitment and stability, but understand circumstances that were beyond your control.
As you can see, there are a lot of pitfalls you’ll want to avoid during your job search. We know that job hunting can be stressful and challenging, but by avoiding these common errors, you will increase your chances for landing a new opportunity.
All the best of luck in your job search! Remember you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Elisa Sheftic is the President and Managing Partner of Right Executive Search, LLC. Her expertise is placing mid- to C-level executives in the Financial Technology (fintech) and Financial Services industries. She communicates with Human Resources and Hiring Managers on a daily basis and offers insights to candidates on decision-makers’ processes and perceptions for determining who will get that interview and ultimately who will receive the coveted job offer. Elisa received her MBA from New York University and completed her HR post-graduate studies at Cornell University. For more information, please visit our website: www.rightexecutivesearch.com.