It takes effort to conduct a successful job search. If you jump into your job hunt without thinking, or if you get lazy in executing your job search, it may take a long time for you to get hired. Although a lot can go wrong while job searching, some job hunt blunders are deadly to your progress. What are these mistakes? I'm here to help! But rather than take the easy way out and call the following list the “10 Deadly Sins of Job Searching,” I instead am calling it the “10 Grim Gaffes of Job Searching” to be more original. So here they are:
|Avoid these 10 grim gaffes of job searching.|
- Not knowing your skills and what you want to do. If you don’t know what type of work you are qualified for, are good at, and enjoy, spend some time thinking about it. What type of activity have you liked in the past, even if it wasn’t paid work? What type of work is easy for you? What can you do better than most people? Try to define what you want to do so you can focus your job search and emphasize your best skills in your resume, cover letter, and job interviews. Also try this free online tool from the U.S. Department of Labor to help you figure out your best career options: http://www.mynextmove.org.
- Procrastinating. Do you want to find a new job but keep putting it off? Procrastination is natural to many people, but it will weaken your skills, your motivation, and your network. Your job search may take a long time, so don’t make it longer by waiting to get started.
- Being disorganized. How much time will you put into your job search every day or week? What will you do with that time? How will you keep track of jobs you’ve applied for? How will you know when to follow up with employers? If you can’t answer these questions, use a calendar and create a checklist to help you plan your job search activities, which should go beyond applying for jobs online endlessly. What sort of activities? You want to talk with people who can connect you to employers, research potential employers and jobs, refine your cover letter and resume for each opportunity, build your job skills, practice interview questions, and follow up with employers. The more time you spend on these activities, the sooner you will find a job, so get organized and methodical in your approach.
- Making errors in your resume and cover letter. Please reread your resume and cover letter forward and backward—literally. Reading your job search materials backward may help uncover missing words, misspellings, and other mistakes because you are looking at everything with fresh eyes. Be sure you’ve used words correctly. Confirm that you have changed the employer’s name and other details in your cover letter. Run spell-check but also get a friend or two with good writing and proofreading skills to check your job search correspondence if you’re not good at this yourself.
- Applying for everything. Please don’t apply for every job opportunity because you think more is better. You are wasting your time. You are wasting employers’ time. You won’t make it past automated job applicant tracking systems that search for keywords on job skills and qualifications. Focus, focus, focus.
- Using the same resume and cover letter for every job opening. If you want to get job interviews, make it easy for employers to see how your qualifications fit their needs. Don’t use the same resume and cover letter for every opening. Instead, take a little time to explain how you can meet their specific needs. Analyze job ads and discern what an employer’s problem is and how you can be solve it. Sometimes ads will repeat the need for candidates to possess certain skills. This is a sure sign that you must have this skill. It’s possibly a sign that someone who held the job previously didn’t have the skill or failed in that area. So reassure the employer in writing that you can do it by giving examples and statistics (such as number of years, dollar amounts, etc.).
- Not researching employers. By learning about employers and their needs and plans, you can more effectively prove you are the best candidate for a job. For example, if Company Z is expanding its call center, you know it will be interested in someone with solid customer service experience. You will stand out if you clearly express your skills and knowledge in this area.
- Not contacting employers directly. You don’t always have to wait for a job to be advertised. If you like a certain company, learn about its needs and call or write the organization and express your interest in working there. I once got a job this way! Some people still knock on doors and get hired the old-fashioned way, especially in smaller organizations.
- Winging it in job interviews. Be prepared for job interviews! Think about what employers may ask you. Be ready to answer questions tough questions, such as “Why do you want to work here?” and “Tell me about yourself.” Make a list of questions for the interviewer. Dress professionally. Don’t just go in and see what happens. Be clear-minded and focused on the fact that you want to get hired. Be ready to prove to an employer that you are the best person for the job.
- Forgetting to follow up. Be sure to thank the interviewer and send a thank-you note or email. Then contact the employer again and restate your interest in the job. If you don’t follow up, the employer may think you don’t care.