Ten Mistakes That Kill Your Job Search.
Leslie Ayres, The Real Job Search Guru for Work Goes Strong.
As a job search coach, I hear a lot of “why it’s not my fault” stories to explain a job search that has lots its motivation and momentum.
“The economy is bad, there aren’t enough jobs to go around, I’m being unfairly treated because of I’m (fill in the blank).”
There are plenty of external circumstances people can come up with.
Usually, though, the problem is that something isn’t right about how the person is going about looking for a job.
In other words, it’s usually their own darned fault, and they don’t know it.
See if you recognize yourself in these ten common job search mistakes that can really slow down your progress:
1. Not knowing what you want.
“I’ll do anything” is not a job search strategy. Employers are looking for people who have a purpose and vision, so before you apply to another job, get very clear on exactly what kind of job you are qualified for, and what kind of job fits the career you are building.
2. Having a mediocre resume.
All a company has to go by is your resume, so if it looks ordinary, sloppy and boring, they’re going to figure that you’re ordinary, sloppy and boring, too. Invest your effort into creating a strong resume that represents you in the best possible way.
3. Not spending enough time on your search.
I’m not in the “looking for a job is a fulltime job” camp, but you sure as heck aren’t going to find a job if you only spend an hour or if you get sucked into daytime TV. Schedule your job search time every day at your most productive time, and stick to your schedule. You can get a lot done in three or four focused hours.
4. Trying to do it all by computer.
In the age of online job postings and applications, it may seem that time at the computer is productive job search time, but if you’re not out there actually talking to people, you’re never going to get hired. Be efficient with your computer time, and then get out there and start meeting people, putting faces with names and developing human connections.
5. Avoiding networking events and conferences.
Online networking can do a lot, but face-to-face connections are far more likely to uncover a potential job for you. Conferences, trade shows and networking events are where the people you need to know are going to be, so you need to be there, too. If you’re shy, do it anyway. Your participation in professional events shows your commitment, and one direct connection at a business event could produce the biggest break of your career.
6. Resisting new technology.
The world of job searches is constantly evolving, and you need to evolve with it. For today’s job search, you need be on LinkedIn, know how to Twitter and text, become a master of online searches, interface with hiring software, and it’s probably a good idea to take a course or two about the latest in technology in your field. If you want a new job, you have to be willing to learn new things.
7. Blasting resumes out hoping something clicks.
Stop wasting your time, and the company’s time, applying to jobs just because it’s easy. Clicking the “submit” button for a job posting if you haven’t even bothered to read the description and carefully consider if it could be a good job for you… that’s just pushing buttons. Better to send one quality customized resume and personal cover note than ten random jobs you’ll never get.
8. Not planning how to present and sell yourself.
Each step of a job search is a chance for you to sell yourself into the job, yet many people can’t even articulate why someone would want to hire them. You need to know what you bring to the table, and what you’ll add to a company’s bottom line, and be able to talk about it enthusiastically and persuasively.
9. Not trying to connect to the hiring manager.
HR and recruiters are important in the process, and you must follow their directions, too, but you should also be trying to get your resume in front of the hiring manager. This could mean enlisting the help of a LinkedIn connection to make an introduction, or a little footwork to get the name and send a resume directly to the hiring manager, who will review it with a different eye than a recruiter.
10. Letting your frustration, cynicism or negativity show.
I know, it sucks to job hunt. There’s a lot of rejection, and a lot of uncertainty and loss of feeling of power, and if it’s taking a long time, it could affect you emotionally. But you have to do everything you can to keep that from happening, because the more frustrated or negative you become, the less anyone will want to hire you. Your top job search priority: keep your attitude positive and a smile on your face.
Yes, there are always external circumstances, but you can’t control those. What you can control is how you go about your job search, so take it seriously and give it what it deserves, so you get the job you deserve.