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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 (email@example.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