Five Big Mistakes That Job Seekers Make

October 18, 2010

Growing frustrated by your job search? Or are you procrastinating because starting the process seems too daunting? If you want your search to yield results, don’t make these mistakes!

Mistake #1: Not Spending Time on Networking

In spite of the popularity of online job boards, most jobs are found through networking. When you network you can find out about jobs before they are posted – or connect with jobs that never find their way to the job boards. You’ll increase your chances of success by letting everyone in your network know that you’re looking.

Don’t think that you know enough people? Then grow your network by attending business and social networking events. In addition, non-business social events are also a great way to connect with people. The point is to connect and build relationships. As people get to know you (and you get to know them) you will increase the likelihood that you will find out about opportunities. While you are going out and meeting new people, don’t forget that you can also network from your computer by joining online groups such as LinkedIn and Facebook. No matter how you do it, just make sure to get out there.

Mistake #2: Being Too Scattered in Your Search

Sometimes job seekers are reluctant to narrow their search by committing to a specific job. They think they will increase their chances by applying for many different types of positions. However, it’s not a good idea to apply for any job that comes along because it sounds like it might be a fit. Employers are looking for candidates who have proven skills that are in line with the requirements. The more you scatter your efforts across the board, the more time you’ll waste applying for positions that aren’t a good match for you.

Focus on positions that are in line with your skills and your career direction. You want to be seen as an expert – someone who will be an asset to a prospective employer. It will be hard to be seen as someone with a high level of expertise (and decrease your chances of being called in for an interview) if you apply for positions that have little or nothing to do with what’s on your resume.

Mistake #3: Not Doing Your Research

Take the time to find out about the job you want. For instance, does it require specialized training or certifications? Are the jobs based in your geographic location or will you have to move? What is the salary range? Whether you are looking for a position within your current industry or looking at positions in related fields, you will reduce your chances of success if you aren’t prepared before you begin submitting resumes.

Knowing the details about the position will help you when you update your resume. If you know what specific skills are required, you can play up those points on your resume and in your cover letter.

In addition, if on an interview you can mention facts you’ve learned about the company, or show that you have stayed up to date on trends, it will make you stand out. Not to mention that doing your research up front will also assist you if you decide to look for a job in a new industry. Get your facts first and lessen the chance you’ll regret your job choice later.

Mistake #4: Not Having Your Resume Updated

Does your resume have the right keywords? Did you include details about your present (or last) position? Does your resume include the job title you’re applying for? Look at job ads for the position you want and note what is mentioned in the job requirements. Use those phrases and keywords in your resume to increase the possibility that your resume will be found in database searches.

If you are applying for more than one position, you should have a resume tailored to each one. For instance, if you are applying for a technical writer position and a business analyst position, be sure that you have two versions of your resume. Those two types of positions require related types of skills; however you may want to play up certain accomplishments in one version or the other.

Do not include jobs that you had over ten years ago. Employers are more interested in what you’ve done lately. If your resume is geared to internal company job searching, make sure to revise it before you send it out. Don’t include acronyms and abbreviations that no one outside of your current company (or industry) will understand.

Mistake #5: Not Being Consistent in Your Search

If you’re stopping and starting your job search, your results will be equally inconsistent. Set up daily and weekly tasks in your calendar to insure that you are on track. Have a vision for where you want to go, and don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect. With more people out in the market looking for jobs, there’s increased competition.

Follow up with leads and contacts, and set up a schedule so that you can be sure to follow through. In all honesty, looking for a job is a job, and you have to bring the same commitment to it as you would to your job responsibilities.

Consistent and steady work towards your goal will get you where you want to go!

Looking for advice on how to update your resume? Learn more about “Secrets of a Great Resume.”

Copyright © 2009 – 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Deborah A Bailey

Deborah is a writer, writing workshop presenter and published author. She's host of the Women Entrepreneurs Radio podcast.

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  • eastlandgrl October 18, 2010 at 6:44 AM

    interesting, thanks

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