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10 Common Job Hunting Mistakes You Need to Avoid

10 Common Job Hunting Mistakes You Need to Avoid

In this day and age, there are a lot of people looking for jobs. With universities pumping out hyper-qualified people in all fields, any little advantage you can get in searching for a job can go a long way. Avoid these 10 common job-hunting mistakes to get on the path to success!

1. Lack of Focus

Your resume should clearly tell a hiring manager why you are qualified for the position being offered. You may have been a great fry cook at that fast food chain, but that experience isn’t relevant to a job at a tech desk. Ideally you should have a few versions of your resume that are tailor-made for jobs in different fields.

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2. Typos

Proofreading your own writing is incredibly difficult. Your brain knows what you intended to write, so it will often skip over blatant errors that will jump out at anyone reading your resume. Enlist your friends to help you proofread your resume. Read all your emails backwards one word at a time. Doing everything you can to communicate clearly and without mistakes can separate you from the pack.

3. No Online Presence

There was once a time when you didn’t need to use the Internet to find a job, but that time has passed. Hiring managers will Google you, and the only thing worse than finding pictures of you doing a keg stand is finding nothing at all. At the very least, every job seeker should have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile with a few connections and maybe even a few recommendations.

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flickr via bpsusf
    flickr via bpsusf

    4. Not Doing Your Research

    When you finally get an interview don’t forget to find out everything you can about the company beforehand. Showing that you have taken an interest in the company and know about their mission and values will help prove that you are taking the opportunity seriously. Most companies have in depth “About Us” pages on their websites which are a great place to start!

    5. Only Applying to Job Postings

    If you walk through an apple orchard and only collect the fruit that has fallen on the ground, you are going to miss out on a lot of juicy apples still hanging in the trees. Don’t be afraid to be similarly proactive in your job search. Make a list of companies you would like to work for and email their HR people to inquire about current and upcoming jobs. Show them you want to be a part of their long-term vision and aren’t just applying to everything.

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    6. Not Using Your Network

    Part of knowing what companies might be hiring and which companies you actually would want to work for is talking to people with first-hand experience. Talk to friends and family working in similar fields and try to use your connections to get in touch with the right people. If you don’t know anyone working in your field, find some networking events and shake some hands. Who you know goes a long way.

    Eugene Kim
      flickr via Eugene Kim

      7. Bad Attitude

      Spending all day writing cover letters and cruising job boards with limited success is enough to frustrate anyone. However, it is important to stay positive. If you have a negative attitude about the entire job-hunting process, that will come through in your writing and in your interviews. Don’t take rejections personally and view each application as a new opportunity.

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      8. Being a Pest

      No one likes to be hounded constantly by an overeager stranger. Don’t spend your valuable time calling the same hiring managers over and over to stay on top of an application. One phone call to follow up is acceptable; anything beyond that gets you too close to the “annoying” pile.

      9. Unprofessional Email Address

      It may seem obvious, but an often overlooked element of applying to jobs is the email address you use. You may indeed use your sk8rboi87@hotmail.com email more than any other account, but it is not what your potential employers want to see. If you don’t have a university email to use, make a simple name-based account (firstname.lastname@website.com). It will make a world of difference.

      10. Botching the Cover Letter

      One of the easiest places to get lazy is on your cover letter. First of all, you always need one so never send in a bare resume again. Second, pay attention to what you are sending. If you are applying to a large number of jobs, you may use a form cover letter where you replace the company name and job title each time, but make sure you don’t miss an incorrect piece of information. Pay attention and proofread.

      Featured photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on November 5, 2020

      Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

      Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It)

      Nobody enjoys failing. Fear of failure can be so strong that avoiding failure eclipses the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly causes many people to unconsciously sabotage their chances for success.

      Fear is part of human nature. As an entrepreneur, I faced this same fear. My ego and identity became intertwined with my work, and when things didn’t go as planned, I completely shut down. I overcame this unhealthy relationship with fear, and I believe that you can, too.

      Together we’ll examine how you can use failure to your advantage instead of letting it run your life. We’ll also look at how to overcome fear of failure so that you can enjoy success in your work and life.

      What Is Fear of Failure?

      If you are afraid of failure, it will cause you to avoid potentially harmful situations.

      Fear of failure keeps you from trying, creates self-doubt, stalls progress, and may lead you to go against your morals.

      What causes a fear of failure? Here are the main reasons why fear of failing exists:

      Patterns From Childhood

      Hyper-critical adults cause children to internalize damaging mindsets.[1] They establish ultimatums and fear-based rules. This causes children to feel the constant need to ask for permission and reassurance. They carry this need for validation into adulthood.

      Perfectionism

      Perfectionism is often at the root of a fear of failure.[2] For perfectionists, failure is so terrible and humiliating that they don’t try. Stepping outside your comfort zone becomes terrifying.

      Over-Personalization

      The ego may lead us to over-identify with failures. It’s hard to look beyond failure at things like the quality of the effort, extenuating circumstances, or growth opportunities.[3]

      False Self-Confidence

      People with true confidence know they won’t always succeed. A person with fragile self-confidence avoids risks. They’d rather play it safe than try something new.[4]

      How the Fear of Failure Holds You Back

      Unhealthy Organization Culture

      Too many organizations today have cultures of perfection: a set of organizational beliefs that any failure is unacceptable. Only pure, untainted success will do.

      Imagine the stress and terror in an organization like that. The constant covering up of the smallest blemishes. The wild finger-pointing as everyone tries to shift the blame for the inevitable messes onto someone else. The lying, cheating, falsification of data, and hiding of problems—until they become crises that defy being hidden any longer.

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      Miss out on Valuable Opportunities

      If some people fail to reach a complete answer because of the lure of some early success, many more fail because of their ego-driven commitment to what worked in the past. You often see this with senior people, especially those who made their names by introducing some critical change years ago.

      They shy away from further innovation, afraid that this time they might fail, diminishing the luster they try to keep around their names from past triumph.

      Besides, they reason, the success of something new might even prove that those achievements they made in the past weren’t so great after all. Why take the risk when you can hang on to your reputation by doing nothing?

      Such people are so deeply invested in their egos and the glories of their past that they prefer to set aside opportunities for future glory rather than risk even the possibility of failure.

      High Achievers Become Losers

      Every talent contains an opposite that sometimes turns it into a problem. Successful people like to win and achieve high standards. This can make them so terrified of failure that it ruins their lives. When a positive trait, like achievement, becomes too strong in someone’s life, it’s on the way to becoming a major obstacle.

      Achievement is a powerful value for many successful people. They’ve built their lives on it. They achieve at everything they do: school, college, sports, the arts, hobbies, work. Each fresh achievement adds to the power of the value in their lives.

      Gradually, failure becomes unthinkable. Maybe they’ve never failed yet in anything that they’ve done, so they have no experience of rising above it. Failure becomes the supreme nightmare: a frightful horror they must avoid at any cost.

      The simplest way to do this is never to take a risk, stick rigidly to what you know you can do, protect yourself, work the longest hours, double and triple check everything, and be the most conscientious and conservative person in the universe.

      If constant hard work, diligence, brutal working schedules and harrying subordinates won’t ward off the possibility of failing, use every other possible means to to keep it away. Falsify numbers, hide anything negative, conceal errors, avoid customer feedback, constantly shift the blame for errors onto anyone too weak to fight back.

      Loss of Creativity

      Over-achievers destroy their own peace of mind and the lives of those who work for them. People too attached to “goodness” and morality become self-righteous bigots. Those whose values for building close relationships become unbalanced slide into smothering their friends and family with constant expressions of affection and demands for love in return.

      Everyone likes to succeed. The problem comes when fear of failure is dominant, when you can no longer accept the inevitability of making mistakes, nor recognize the importance of trial and error in finding the most creative solution.

      The more creative you are, the more errors you are going to make. Deciding to avoid the errors will destroy your creativity, too.

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      Balance counts more than you think. Some tartness must season the sweetest dish. A little selfishness is valuable even in the most caring person. And a little failure is essential to preserve everyone’s perspective on success.

      We hear a lot about being positive. Maybe we also need to recognize that the negative parts of our lives and experience have just as important a role to play in finding success, in work, and in life.

      How to Overcome Fear of Failure (Step-by-Step)

      1. Figure out Where the Fear Comes From

      Ask yourself what the root cause of your negative belief could be.[5] When you look at the four main causes for a fear of failure, which ones resonate with you?

      Write down where you think the fear comes from, and try to understand it as an outsider.

      If it helps, imagine you’re trying to help one of your best friends. Perhaps your fear stems from something that happened in your childhood, or a deep-seated insecurity.

      Naming the source of the fear takes away some of its power.

      2. Reframe Beliefs About Your Goal

      Having an all or nothing mentality leaves you with nothing sometimes. Have a clear vision for what you’d like to accomplish but include learning something new in your goal.

      If you always aim for improvement and learning, you are much less likely to fail.[6]

      At Pixar, people are actually encouraged to “fail early and fail fast.”[7] They encourage experimentation and innovation so that they can stay on the cutting edge. That mindset involves failure, but as long as they achieve their vision of telling great stories, all the stumbling blocks are just opportunities to grow.

      3. Learn to Think Positive

      In many cases, you believe what you tell yourself. Your internal dialogue affects how you react and behave.

      Our society is obsessed with success, but it’s important to recognize that even the most successful people encounter failure.

      Walt Disney was once fired from a newspaper because they thought he lacked creativity. He went on to found an animation studio that failed. He never gave up, and now Disney is a household name.

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      Steve Jobs was also once fired from Apple before returning as the face of the company for many years. [8]

      If Disney and Jobs had believed the negative feedback, they wouldn’t have made it.

      It’s up to you to notice your negative self talk and identify triggers[9]. Replace negative thoughts with positive facts about yourself and the situation. You’ll be able to create a new mental scripts that you can reach for when you feel negativity creeping in. The voice inside your head has a great effect on what you do.

      How To Be A Positive Thinker: Positivity Exercises, Affirmations, & Quotes

        4. Visualize all Potential Outcomes

        Uncertainty about what will happen next is terrifying. Take time to visualize the possible outcomes of your decision. Think about the best and worst-case scenarios. You’ll feel better if you’ve already had a chance to mentally prepare for what could happen.

        Fear of the unknown might keep you from taking a new job. Weigh the pros and cons, and imagine potential successes and failures in making such a life-altering decision. Knowing how things could turn out might help you get unstuck.

        5. Look at the Worst-Case Scenario

        There are times when the worst case could be absolutely devastating. In many cases, if something bad happens, it won’t be the end of the world.

        It’s important to define how bad the worst case scenario is in the grand scheme of your life. Sometimes, we give situations more power than they deserve. In most cases, a failure is not permanent.

        For example, when you start a new business, it’s bound to be a learning experience. You’ll make decisions that don’t pan out, but often that discomfort is temporary. You can change your strategy and rebound. Even in the worst case scenario, if the perceived failure led to the end of that business, it might be the launching point for something new.

        6. Have a Backup Plan

        It never hurts to have a backup plan. The last thing you want to do is scramble for a solution when the worst has happened. The old adage is solid wisdom:

        “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

        Having a backup plan gives you more confidence to move forward and take calculated risks.

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        Perhaps you’ve applied for a grant to fund an initiative at work. In the worst-case scenario, if you don’t get the grant, are there other ways you could get the funds?

        There are usually multiple ways to tackle a problem, so having a backup is a great way to reduce anxiety about possible failure.

        7. Learn From Whatever Happens

        Things may not go the way you planned, but that doesn’t automatically mean you’ve failed. Learn from whatever arises.[10] Even a less than ideal situation can be a great opportunity to make changes and grow.

        “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

        Dig deep enough, and you’re bound to find the silver lining. When you’ve learned that “failure” is an opportunity for growth instead of a death sentence, you conquer the fear of failure.

        For more tips on how to overcome fear of failure, check out the video below:

        Final Thoughts

        To overcome fear of failure, we can start by figuring out where it comes from and reframing the way we feel about failure. When failure is a chance for growth, and you’ve looked at all possible outcomes, it’s easier to overcome fear.

        Stay positive, have a backup plan, and learn from whatever happens. Your failures will be sources of education and inspiration rather than humiliation.

        “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison

        Failures can be blessings in disguise. Go boldly in the direction of your dreams and long-term goals.

        More Tips for Conquering Fear

        Featured photo credit: Patrick Hendry via unsplash.com

        Reference

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