Are Your Current Attitudes Detrimental to Your Government Job Search?

Are your current attitudes detrimental to your Government job search? If you are at that stage in your career where you are seeking a new role because you want to, or even have to, you might be finding that one of the most frustrating aspects of the process is finding the right opportunity when completing your Government job search. Even if you have a strong plan of what you want to do next, it can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack to track down that perfect role. Finding the right job opportunities and standing out in a competitive market can be tough. But what can be even tougher, is changing negative attitudes and preconceived ideas that may be doing more harm than good to your Government job search!

Below are six assumptions that could be negatively affecting Government job search and that next opportunity coming along!
It is on my resume…I do not need to rewrite it in my application

Writing ‘see resume’ or ‘as per resume’ on your cover letter, online application or even key selection criteria can be the one thing that will ensure you are not considered for a potential role. Even worse, is answering a question during an interview with “I already wrote that in my application”. Admittedly, the recruiter may not have read your resume entirely. However, the fact is, they have the job that you want, so you have to play your cards right. Frankly, not following instructions does not help you and will have the hiring manager thinking “if they cannot follow this simple direction, what kind of employee will they be here?” Even if it seems repetitive, it is important to put your sense of right aside and show that you can follow instructions – especially when it comes to online forms or repetitive sounding key selection criteria questions. Practically speaking, re-entering information into an online form can make your resume searchable in a corporate database for future considering – so it is in your benefit. Explaining in an interview something that is outlined in your application documents demonstrates your communication skills and confidence. There are numerous practical reasons for you to re-enter or reiterate previously expressed information, and it is important to keep that in mind.

I do not want to bother people by sending a follow-up email or call

Chances are, if you have this attitude, the recruiter may not want to bother you either. If people do not know what you are seeking, they will not know how to help you. You need to be assertive, forthcoming and communicate what you want in order to achieve your Government job search goals. And this includes taking the time to follow up on applications that you have not heard back from. More often than not, a single job advertisement can attract hundreds of applications, which can take days, if not weeks to assess and shortlist. If it has been a few weeks since you have submitted the application, pick up the phone or send a short email following up. In some cases, showing this keen interest alone can be what it takes to get you to the interview stage. If anything, it will put you at ease knowing the status of your application.

It is already evident from my resume that I am perfect for the job

If only getting a job these days was that simple. Recruiters, however, are not mind readers. You need to be explicit about what job you are applying for in your cover letter and in your resume – this means tailoring your documents specific to each role. It is important to factor in the challenging situation when recruiters are sifting through hundreds of resumes to ensure that your documents clearly highlight what you are being considered for. The longer they have to work to figure out what it is you are applying for, the less likely you will be put in that yes pile.

I do not want to brag about my achievements

Here at Public Service Resumes, we have learned that if people do not know our good work or reputation, it is up to us to ensure they find out in a professional, objective, and fact-driven manner. And the same goes for any achievements you have made throughout your career. Clearly, you would not walk into a room with a neon sign drawing attention to your successes. However, being prepared to speak confidently about your achievements with measurable facts is what successful people do and it is often the only way a potential employer or stakeholder will learn of your record of accomplishments. You need to inform hiring managers of how you can make an impact in their company!

They told me they were interested and would call me next week…its now been two weeks…they were probably not interested or changed their mind, right?

Time to stop the negative talk right now! Here is a picture of what could be going on behind the scenes that tells you why this happens;

    1. The recruiter did not know the approving manager was going on a two-week vacation
    2. The hiring manager had a different initiative to launch the week after meeting you and did not get around to setting up your follow-up interview until 14 business days after you met
    3. The recruiter thought that only the manager had to approve the offer and discovered it needs to be approved by the corporate office in LA
    4. The company laid off two people in HR one month ago, and your hiring manager is doing both of these jobs plus their own and is just swamped

The fact is, we could go on and on, but you get the idea – often the reason you have not yet got that call back has nothing at all to do with you personally. It is important not to think it is just about you. Well-intentioned hiring managers who have shown interest have all been known to unknowingly mismanage the expectations of job seekers all the time. So, if they tell you one week, expect to hear from them a little later than that. Yet again, you could show a little initiative and pick up the phone yourself and make the follow-up call to them, so you are not making negative assumptions.

They must have hired someone else…I have not heard from them

When you have gone through to the final interview stage, and then do not hear from the employer, many job seekers assume they did not get the job. But it is important not to assume. In the absence of information, do not fill in the blanks. Unless you have been told ‘no thanks’ or know for a fact someone has been offered the role that you interviewed for, do not assume that the position was filled. Often, particularly in the public service, the process takes much longer than the well-intentioned hiring manager imagined. Demonstrate patience and resiliency by remaining calm with the lack of an answer, and politely follow-up accordingly. It will show your prospective employer how well you handle adversity. 

This will hopefully assist you with your Government job search prospects and ultimately help you land that role you have always been targeting.