Avoid these 6 mistakes when job-hunting

by | Oct 28, 2018 | Career Advice, How to get into tech | 0 comments

Written by Hela Maria Jaffar at our workshop on Finding your Unicorn Job. Hela is a blockchain and cryptocurrency expert, as well as a Director of Girls in Tech Switzerland.

Six mistakes to avoid when searching for your unicorn job

Mistake #1: Looking at job listings for a job that “will do”.

Solution: Identify your values first. Finding and getting what you want starts from within – ensure you take the time to really get clarity on this and what excites you. What kind of company culture do you want to be a part of? Who are the types of colleagues you want around you? What is the mission you want to work towards? What does the content of your everyday work involve?

Once you know the answer to these, start by looking for companies that offer what you’re after.

Mistake #2: You only apply for roles that sound perfect – where you meet 100% of the criteria.

Solution: Take a job description as a starting point for a more meaningful conversation. Look for the possibilities and the opportunities to grow, develop and evolve within and beyond that role. Job descriptions might not give the full picture of what is needed or what you could bring to the table. Remember you can negotiate any role and waiting to meet 100% of the criteria for a job limits you and your potential.

Mistake #3: Wasting your energy and time sending countless cv’s and cover letters.

Solution: coffee and chat. Many of the ‘cooler’ open positions might not get listed so

find someone in your network that could either connect you to someone else or give you an insight into the job and company you want to work for – reach out to them and invite them for a coffee and chat. But don’t interview them, treat it more like a discovery conversation about what’s going on in the industry, and what challenges they’re facing.

Mistake #4: You stop at one coffee and chat.

Solution: Connect with their connections. By the end of the conversation with your contact from the solution above, make sure you ask them for another two or three other leads they can put you in touch with. If possible, aim to get the email of the hiring manager as well. All these conversations will take time and effort, but they will also be the best test of your ideas about your dream job and landing it.

Mistake #5: At the interview you focus too much on selling yourself and do not interview them.

Solution: Be the bridge. Interview them to find out what challenges and problems they’re facing and then ensure to link how your skills and personality will help them tackle these challenges. They will hire you not only because they like you but also because they want to work with you for one main reason – because you can help them solve their problems!

Mistake #6: Not negotiating your worth.

Solution: Educate yourself on your worth. You can always get 5% more of your salary but the key here is to research, talk to headhunters and recruiters, compare what you want with what is out there and really understand what you should be getting paid. Also, ensure you have other job alternatives – knowing one offer is not your only offer will give you another advantage and “source of power” when you negotiate.


Finding your unicorn job is not a walk in the park – it will take some time and some self-reflection on what’s important to you and what you value. Fortunately, Wies Bratby, owner of Women in Negotiation and guest speaker at our recent workshop on Finding your Unicorn Job, revealed some of the most common mistakes we make when searching for our unicorn job. Make sure you click “Join Us” to be the first to know about our upcoming tech and career events.

Hela Maria Jaffar is currently Content Writer and Creator at TechFace and Director of Girls in Tech Switzerland. Previously, she was a project specialist at the World Economic Forum, Geneva before joining a cryptocurrency start-up in Zug. Hela cares deeply about human connection and authentic communication and has a deep understanding of the intersection between people, business, design and technology. She’s a creative strategist who likes getting intimate with the unknown and getting s*** done.

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