I’m not going to bore you with the same old job search mistakes – letting your cell phone ring at an interview, blah blah. Here are some crazy job search mistakes that are often made even by smart job seekers like you.
1. Making no attempt to get their resume past the gatekeeper when they apply online.
Sending your resume to Human Resources without also sending a copy directly to the hiring manager is a huge missed opportunity. Sure, the job posting doesn’t tell you the manager’s name, but there are ways to find out.
2. Basing their job search on answering job postings.
Given that about three-quarters of jobs are obtained through word of mouth, networking and personal referrals, does it make sense to spend nine-tenths of your job search time looking for jobs online? Learn how to use informational interviews to get a job faster.
3. Under-utilizing LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a great way to advertise your skills to recruiters and make useful connections – if you do it right. Most people don’t know how to use it, starting with how to put together an excellent profile.
4. Not getting serious about job search until they’ve been unemployed for months.
I’m going to be blunt: the longer you’re unemployed the worse you look to employers. If you’ve been out of a job for, say, six months you’re considered “long-term unemployed.” Don’t let yourself fall into that vicious cycle.
If you have just gotten laid off, my advice is to take a reasonable-length vacation if you need to – I suggest a few weeks – then start spending 25-40 hours a week doing a smart, well planned, proactive job search.
If you really feel you’ve got to go crazy and take a year off, I doubt I can talk you out of it – but be prepared for a tough job search when you get back.
5. Being under-prepared for phone screenings and other interviews.
If you haven’t prepared well, it’s all too likely you’ll be nervous, and/or your “Tell me about yourself” answer may be just an unfocused rehash of your resume, and/or your other answers may be vague and rambling, and/or there will at least one or two questions where you’ll feel you really missed the boat. Sound familiar? Put in the time, way ahead of time, to prepare for successful interviews.
Just to give you a little more than I promised, I’ll include one more:
6. Trusting themselves to proofread their own writing.
I’ve worked in publishing houses, and I can tell you that even professional writers need a second and maybe third pair of eyes to catch the mistakes they don’t notice because they were too familiar with their own writing. Proofreading isn’t even expensive. Did you know you can get a resume proofread by a professional for $5-10? Go on LinkedIn and find a qualified proofreader. It’s crazy not to.
That’s enough craziness for now. Be smart and get a great job sooner!