Would you like some good news about errors? The simplest mistakes to make are the easiest to correct. If you’re having a frustrating job search, it’s probably because you’re making these ten simple job search mistakes.
1 Failing to make a strong first impression
Never forget that while you are searching for the perfect job, employers are searching for the ideal employee. If your résumé doesn’t stand out, you’ll never get an interview. First, tailor your résumé to each job posting by demonstrating you possess the desired qualifications listed in the advertisement. Then, reinforce your strongest points by including a pain letter with your application. With a little TLC, the attention to detail and experience reflected in your résumé will serve as a fine introduction.
2 Missing opportunities to network
Of course, you bring your résumé and business cards to job fairs and networking events. But if these are the only times you think about networking, you’re probably missing excellent opportunities. For example, have you ever thought about keeping in touch with previous managers? Even if you don’t ever want to return to your former position, these people may be able to let you know about new developments. Also, if they change companies, they may remember you when they’re building a new team. You can also try to check in occasionally with companies whose interviews or offers you declined. You might try: “I loved your work environment when I came to interview for the administrative position. I declined it because I would flourish in a more creative role. When I saw your opening for a creative director, I knew I should reach out to you.”
3 Failing to recognize the importance of writing
If you are applying for a nonacademic job, do your writing skills matter? Absolutely, according to MBA.com. Employers consider communication to be the most valuable of the top five skill sets for all recent graduates. (The others are teamwork, technical, leadership, and managerial skills.) If you don’t display writing ability, you won’t be able to compete with your peers. So write the cover letter, even if it’s optional.
4 Failing to correct spelling and grammar mistakes
Speaking of writing, the number of people who fail to proofread would surprise you. Even if you haven’t used any complex or unfamiliar expressions, carefully read over every piece of communication with a potential employer, including email subject lines, document titles, phone numbers, and addresses. Take international spelling differences into consideration if you are applying for employment in a foreign country.
5 Bombing an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a brief summary of who you are and what talents you have. In formal interviews, interviewers may ask you to tell them about yourself. If you practice an effective elevator speech in advance, you’ll avoid the tendency to ramble. Your clearly stated expressions will indicate that you are confident in your abilities. As you may have guessed from the name, not every elevator pitch happens in a formal setting. Be ready to talk about yourself wherever you happen to run into someone influential.
6 Giving too much information
Recruiters may not warn you that you’re oversharing, but they hate TMI. Hiring managers want to know an overview of your applicable skills in as short a time as possible. Be succinct. Keep your résumé to one page of the most relevant highlights.
7 Limiting yourself to online vacancies
You’ll find lots of intriguing openings advertised on online job boards such as Monster and CareerBuilder. However, only about 20% of vacancies are ever posted online, according to Payscale. Besides missing many possible opportunities, you also have a huge pool of competition if you limit your focus to online listings. Expand your job hunt to include college career centers, job fairs, and employment agencies. Ask your friends and family to keep their ears open too. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.
8 Surprising your references
Let your references know that you are job hunting. Otherwise, they may be scrambling to remember your fine points (or even worse, who you are) when they get the call.
9 Failing to follow up on all inquiries
It’s not enough to turn in an application. Contact a specific person in human resources by phone or email after you submit your application materials. Within a few days of your interview, send a follow-up note or email to thank hiring managers for their time.
10 Failing to relax
If you stress too much about finding a job, you might arrive at an interview a frazzled mess. Take the time between jobs to travel, catch up with family and friends, and enjoy your hobbies.
Are you guilty of one or more of these common job search mistakes? Why not work on correcting them today? Doing so may be your first step toward finding employment.