Personal accountability isn’t just about owning up to mistakes; it’s also about recognizing that you are in control of your actions, behavior, and attitude – and then taking the next best step to move forward in a productive manner. Recognizing this will serve you well and help you succeed in many areas of life, and your job search is no exception. By holding yourself accountable in your search for work and taking ownership of the factors within your control, you can greatly increase your chances of landing a job that is well-suited to your skills. Plus, it will help increase your confidence by reminding you that you have the power to influence your career and your future. Here are some simple personal accountability tips to keep in mind during your job search:
Apply to Jobs That You Are Reasonably Qualified For
It’s a great idea to be on the lookout for opportunities to learn new things, hone your skills, or apply transferable skills in a new way that can help you take your career to the next level – stretching yourself helps you grow! Having said that, there is a difference between trying to stretch your skills into a new position and applying to a job for which you are simply not qualified. Part of being personally accountable in your job search is understanding that not every opportunity out there is going to be the right one for you. If a job description states that a highly specialized degree and numerous years of experience are required, but you have neither, applying to that job may not the best use of your time or energy – and could send the message to the employer that you either didn’t read the job description or you don’t understand what you’re applying to. So be sure to take a little time and care when looking for and applying to jobs – your next opportunity is out there, and a focused approach will help you find it even faster.
Never Lie on an Application
Hiring managers don’t expect you to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, and while they can be embarrassing to talk about, what separates good candidates from truly great ones is the ability to acknowledge past mistakes and demonstrate that they’re committed to not making them again. You might be tempted to brush your recent termination or period of job-hopping under the rug, but it’s important not to lie or misrepresent yourself in any way. Keep in mind that people respect and enjoy being around those that are accountable for their actions, and are more likely to forgive past wrongs if you take ownership of them and communicate your plan for not repeating the same behaviors in the future. As you communicate this information to a potential employer, try to stick to the facts and avoid excessive storytelling. After all, an interview is a professional setting and should be treated as such.
Preparing for interviews is another important way to hold yourself personally accountable for your job search. This preparation doesn’t have to be scary – in fact, in can be quite empowering to recognize that you are a decision maker in the interview as well. So, as a decision maker, you need to gather data to help you determine if the job is a good fit for you. What does the company do? What does the job entail? What kind of environment will you be working in? Doing a little research beforehand will not only impress your interviewer and help show that you’re taking the process seriously, it will also help you ask good questions so that you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right opportunity for you.
Have a Good Attitude
Have you ever heard the expression “you’ll catch more bees with honey than you will with vinegar”? It’s true. Being positive and respectful can go a long way in your job search. Being unemployed or making a transition in your career can be a stressful time filled with anticipation and uncertainty, but as frustrating as it may be at times, be mindful about not taking that frustration out on others. Most companies would rather hire someone who is pleasant and professional, even if they have slightly less experience, than a candidate who meets all the requirements but is rude or disrespectful.
Being personally accountable in the job search also means being consistent with follow-up steps. You must ensure you’re accessible by providing accurate contact information, setting up your voicemail, and checking your email periodically. If a potential employer reaches out to you, follow up in a timely manner, even if it’s only to say that you’re no longer available or interested. Ghosting employers can reflect negatively on you, and following up is a simple but powerful way to demonstrate your respect for a hiring manager’s time and effort – so don’t just fall off the radar.