Common Job Search Mistakes

Posted November 28, 2008 by

Guest post by Susan Kennedy
Here are some very common mistakes we see people making. Make sure you are not one of them.
Lack of Focus. A specific career goal is the single most important component in a successful job search. People spend more time researching a laptop purchase than they do researching the job that’s right for them. When you went to college, you did your research. You knew where the college was, what it had to offer and you felt like you could fit in well. Identifying the right job for you works the same way: you need to be aware of what you do well, what you want to do and how this translates into the job that’s right for you.
Job Search without a Plan. What will you do today to land that great job? Will you attend a job fair? Will you call three people? What organizations have you targeted? Once you have a goal in mind, you should have a plan in place which will use all sources available to you to find the right job. Every day, you should wake up knowing how you will spend your job search time that day. Plan to spend 20 hours each week looking for that job. If you are already working, that number can drop to 10 hours each week.

Writing your resume first. Without a clear cut career goal, it’s difficult to write a resume that highlights your experiences and demonstrates why you are the best person for the job. A resume is a tool to screen you out, not into, a job. People spend hours writing their resume only to have it put in a circular file. It’s better to spend more time establishing your career goals and working your plan than on a resume.
Jumping at the first job. It’s tempting to take the first job offered. And if it’s truly the right job, then you are one of the lucky ones. If you need to generate cash flow, consider part time work or temp work. The right job will come along. You may have to be patient.
Not following up. This stalls any job search. Not following up on an interview or a contact can cause you to miss out on opportunities. I had a client who got a rejection letter in the mail. He thought the interview went well so he was mystified. At my suggestion, he called the recruiter back for feedback. As it turned out, he got the wrong letter; they very much wanted to hire him.
Not using all the tools available to you. Posting resumes on various job boards is a good step but it is not a complete job search. Use your friends and family’s contacts. Make use of the social media tools that are out here (Linked In, blogs, etc). And, use your creativity to get the job.
Isolation. It’s lonely looking for a job. Make sure you talk or meet up with someone every day. Join a job search networking group or do some volunteer work. Whatever you can do to get out of the house each day will help.
Article by, Susan Kennedy, career counselor for college graduates and young professionals

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