Often, a job seeker makes some serious mistakes, not realizing that something is wrong until after it is too late, and the job goes to someone else.
The 10 greatest blunders you are probably making in your job search—catch them before they hold you back:
- Majority of your time is spent on online “job posts.” Don’t ignore them, but they shouldn’t be the bulk of your search, either. Online job boards are both useful but limited—the top jobs rarely make it there. Try trade organizations, professional groups and other outlets related to the field you want to join.
- Mailing resumes unsolicited. Rarely does an unsolicited resume make it past an HR manager, and is a waste of your time and resources, which will better be served elsewhere.
- Focusing only on job “openings.” The best jobs are never advertised; they come from employee referrals or other non-advertised sources. Focus more on opportunities than openings.
- A job search is one thing, networking is something else. The primary focus of any job seeker should be building a network; this means listening more than talking. When you do say something, try not to ask explicitly for a job.
- Not knowing your true value. Research is everything; from job and the company you apply to, to the going rates of pay for the particular job category. You do not have to bring salary up at the interview; if you are the preferred candidate and an offer is made, then consider negotiating—not a moment before.
- Nothing says despair more than someone who will take a job—ANY job. The key is to find the right opportunity, not take the first thing that comes your way. There are several factors in a job—culture, co-workers, workplace environment and (of course) compensation.
- Little or no coordination. A search—any search—is useless without the right strategy. If you do not have a plan, and concrete steps to achieve your goal, your job search will take weeks (or months) longer than it needs to be.
- Going to it on your own. With something as significant in your life as finding the right career, why would you try it alone? You wouldn’t perform surgery or dentistry on yourself; your job search also needs professional help. There are employment centers, school alumni groups and career coaches that can offer advice and assistance. They are available for you—either low-cost or free of charge. Take advantage of the help.
- Not being in charge of your own job search. The only person who can effectively sell what you have to offer is you. Don’t let others—friends or relatives—point you in a way you do not want to go. Remember, you are in charge of your job search. Keep it that way.
- Failing to prepare. Interviews are the heart of the hiring process, and there is simply no reason you should have it down cold—your performance, your “short and sweet” elevator pitch, as well as the way you will present yourself and your talents. Playing it “off the cuff” is only amateur.