“If you got the job, would you really be happy?” – a really interesting question to ask. In North America and Europe, unemployment rates are the lowest they have been since before the recession, according to Eurostat, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Statistics Canada.

When the unemployment rate is low, more people are employed and there are less people looking for work. This makes for a very interesting paradox for recruiters and employers, as it becomes increasingly difficult for them to find talent and fill jobs.  For the candidate, on the other hand, this irony presents opportunity to pick and choose the jobs they apply to. Therefore, it’s in your favor to be more cognizant of the jobs to which you apply, rather than making blind applications to positions you aren’t really sure about.

Applying for a job no longer solidifies that you are interested in the role.

In the past, and in some cases even today, recruiters and hiring managers assume that your application to the job means that you are very eager and interested in the job at hand. In reality, many applicants will apply to a job due to feelings of interest and fit, but more often, out of convenience and ease. Considering that the online application process of today allows someone to put their hat in for a job while using their smart phone and during their commute home, recruiters and hiring managers are becoming more watchful of the serial applicant. Find out more about serial applicants, follow this link.

Rather than the method of “apply and pray” to as many jobs as possible, alternatively, try picking a smaller number of jobs that fit your background, skills, and interests. Once you identify the specific types of roles that suit you, do as much research about these roles, employers and industry as you can. Learn about key influencers in that industry or job field, follow them on social media, join groups and make connections.  The more you are involved with the social, professional and networking aspects of your prospective industry, the more powerful and less impersonal your job applicant will feel. Following this approach, in your job application, you will be able to speak about your industry, field or company with greater knowledge and better understanding of what to include/exclude on your resume.

Before you apply to any job, you should be asking yourself questions that lead back to the main question in consideration here:

If you got the job, would you really be happy? In other words, would you be proud to accept an offer?

In order to answer this question, trying asking and then answering the following:

Why do you want the job?  If you got the job, would you really be happy?  Why or why not?

Once you start determining answers to these questions, as you go through each job application, one of two things could happen.  First, you might find that the job really isn’t something you want to pursue, therefore saving you time and energy, tailoring a resume and making an application. Second, you might discover that the job really does make sense against your skills, interests and experience; you may become even more convinced that the job is right for you – further motivating you to put your best foot forward in making your application.