Posted by: careerworks | April 15, 2011

9 Common Job Hunting Mistakes

In today’s competitive job market you can’t afford to make any mistakes in your job search. Avoiding these common mistakes will make your transition easier and have you finishing ahead of the pack.

  1. Being a generalist – Our instincts tell us that if we generalize, we’ll get noticed and hired faster because you can do so many things. Not so fast! Companies are looking for specialists. When was the last time a professional football team play the same 11 players on either offense or defense for the entire game? Te answer is it’s been years. Even pro football employs specialists.
  2. Resume bulge – Most resumes are augmented with extra words. If this describes yours, put your resume on a diet. Make sure that your story is easy to understand and not hidden with extra words.
  3. What’s your target? – Many of the resumes I see are “job seeker-centric.” Companies don’t care about you yet, they care about their needs and the problems they are looking to solve. Target your resume to solving those problems.
  4. Spending too much time online – If the published job market is less than 20%, why spend 80% of your time there? It’s time to allocate your time in more accurate proportion to the job market. If 80% of jobs are filled by networking, then spend 80% of your time networking.
  5. Working your network – Never ask for a job when you’re networking. You network to get information and advice to advance your search. Asking for a job will sabotage your efforts.
  6. Winging it – Too many job seekers believe that they are great in an interview and prepare too little. Think about the questions that you’ll be asked from “Why should we hire you” to ” your plan for the first 90 days.”  Your answers need to be clear, crisp, and concise.
  7. Talking about stuff that bores others – Answering the question “What do you do” gets a myriad of answers most of which bore the listener rather than begs them to ask for more. Stop talking about titles and processes and replace them with problems you solve and solutions you provide.
  8. Managing time – Time management is critical for the job seeker. Most people struggle with the “freedom” that comes with being on a career search. Especially those who come from environments that are very structured. Schedule your week to regularly include sufficient time to complete your search quickly and efficiently. Thinking of your search as your full time job is a good idea.
  9. Accountability – Going it alone as a job seeker is tough so finding someone to share the experience with you is a huge benefit. Pairing up and meeting weekly to hold each other accountable, pick each other up, and provide advise and inspiration can be very helpful.
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