Are Your Job Search Expectations Unrealistic?

The primary objective of your job search is to get a job, right? However, you have quite a few steps to take to reach that goal, and you can stumble if you don’t start with realistic expectations for the outcome.

Unrealistic Job Search Expectations

For example, if you’re currently earning $50,000/year but aiming for $150,000 in your next job, you’re probably indulging in an unrealistic expectation. That’s a somewhat extreme example, but it makes a useful point: focusing on a goal that’s a huge stretch can result in major disappointment. Your job search plan should take that into account.

What you focus on matters a lot. For instance, if you concentrate on nice perks during a job interview and not on the needs of the position and the company, you can lose out. Why? The impression you give the prospective employer suggests you’re more interested in the benefits you’ll get than you are in the opportunity itself.

To strengthen your chances for a successful job search, you really need to think in terms of mutual benefit–for you AND for the employer. Both parties have to feel satisfied with the result.

Fine-Tune Your Job Search Expectations

Assuming you aren’t starting with outrageously unrealistic expectations, are you out of the woods? Maybe…or maybe not.

If you’re expecting multiple job offers just because you have strong skills and experience,  you might be over-optimistic about your value in the employment marketplace. Unless you have one or more high-demand qualifications, the likelihood of multiple offers from targeted employers isn’t great. In other words, don’t count on it, especially if you haven’t done your homework before submitting to those employers and also prepared thoroughly for the job interviews.

Multiple job offers can occur; it’s not impossible. That doesn’t mean expecting them is a realistic attitude.

Realistic Job Search Expectations

Any analysis of your job search possibilities should include consideration of your likely competition. Very few job seekers can depend on having zero competition. That’s not a real-world situation in most cases. But do you know who your competitors might be, their qualifications that you might or might not have, and so on?

Replacing unrealistic job search expectations with realistic ones will give you your best shot at a successful job search. So what are some realistic expectations? Here are just a few:

  1. You will have competition–sometimes stiff competition. Research it carefully and evaluate your situation to identify any possible competitive advantages you might have.
  2. If you do thorough job search due diligence and interview preparation, you will minimize the potential obstacles you face. Fewer surprises should make for a less stressful search.
  3. Being as flexible as possible about various aspects of your job search and ultimate employment goal should help you overcome obstacles you encounter. Decide ahead of time where you might have a bit of “wiggle room.”
  4. Persistence is sometimes essential, as long as it doesn’t become obnoxious. You’ll need to be consistent about following up on inquiries and interview outcomes–employers don’t always get back to you when you’d like them to.
  5. As the old saying goes, “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.” A new job isn’t in your pocket until you have a signed offer and have started your job.

Take a realistic approach to your job search, and you put yourself ahead of the game in terms of probable success. That’s a much better proposition than indulging in unrealistic job search expectations!

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