Ten common mistakes jobseekers make
- They don’t brand themselves.
- They begin job-hunting without knowing their value to employers.
- They rely on one (broken) method in their job search.
- They neglect their networks.
- They forget to customize their resume for different opportunities.
- They fail to research employers before job interviews.
- They stay too long in recruiting pipelines that are going nowhere.
- They let employers drive their job search instead of driving it themselves.
- They take the first job offer they get, no matter how disappointing it is — and then they don’t job-hunt again until that job goes away.
- Forgetting that not every employer deserves your talents.
How To Fix These 10 Mistakes
Mistake Number One: Failing To Brand Yourself
Your resume and LinkedIn profile are more than just a recitation of the jobs you’ve held so far. Your brand is a statement about who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re headed. Decide what sorts of jobs you want, and then brand yourself specifically for those roles.
Use your LinkedIn profile, especially the headline and the Summary, to tell us why you do the sort of work you do (or plan to do). Use a human voice in your LinkedIn profile and your Human-Voiced Resume to bring more of your personality across on the page, or the screen.
Mistake Number Two: Starting A Job Search Without Knowing Your Value
Use Payscale and Salary to determine what your skills can command in the talent marketplace. If you know a recruiter or two, ask them what employers will pay someone with your background. Ask your friends.
Most job-seekers shoot too low. They don’t realize how many jobs they are qualified for. Every job search includes an element of reinvention. Take the opportunity your job search gives you to set a new course for yourself, and don’t value your talents too modestly!
Mistake Number Three: Relying On Online Job Applications In Your Job Search
Most of us have been trained to submit online job applications and wait forever to hear back from employers, but that system is broken. Try a Pain Letter in your job search next time. Send the Pain Letter to your hiring manager’s desk via the postal service to get your hiring manager’s attention.
Another great job-search channel is a part-time consulting business. All you need to launch that business is a box of business cards that you can buy for ten or fifteen bucks plus shipping. You are a consultant now, not a job-seeker!
Decide what kind of Business Pain you can solve for employers. When you are a consultant who can take on small engagements as well as large (full-time) jobs, you give yourself a much better platform from which to find your next gig.
Mistake Number Four: Neglecting Your Network
Get out and touch base with the people you know when you’re job-hunting! Have coffee, lunch, breakfast or dinner with new friends and people you’ve known for years, or take a walk around the lake or go to the library together.
Most job seekers are too isolated for their own good. They sit at their computers typing away, but your job search requires human contact!
Mistake Number Five: Forgetting To Customize Your Resume
You don’t have to customize your resume every time you send it out, but customizing your resume is a great way to show the relevance of your background to each specific job you go after.
The two parts of your resume that most require customization are the Summary at the top of your resume and the descriptions of your two or three most recent positions. Highlight projects and responsibilities that match those of the job you’re applying for.
Mistake Number Six: Failing to Research an Employer Before a Job Interview
You can’t walk into a job interview knowing nothing more about an organization than what you read in a job ad! Get on the employer’s website and learn about them. What is their business — what do they sell to their customers?
Read their press releases and read their leaders’ bios. Think about your hiring manager’s goals and challenges. What would be keeping you up at night if you were the manager of his or her department?
Mistake Number Seven: Staying Too Long In A Recruiting Process That’s Going Nowhere
There are signs that will tell you when to bail on a recruiting pipeline that is going nowhere. Get out at that moment and don’t look back!
Mistake Number Eight: Letting Employers Drive Your Job Search
Don’t stop actively pursuing positions and employers until you start your new job. Until then, don’t rest and assume “one of these opportunities will certainly come through.” Keep putting new irons in the fire all the time! That way, you will never become too dependent on any one employer making you an offer.
Mistake Number Nine: Taking The First Job Offer You Get
Sometimes the first job offer you get is a great offer, but much more often that’s not the case — because the easier it is to get a particular job, the worse that jobs tends to be. It’s hard to turn down an offer when you don’t have an income but it’s much worse to take the job and hate it — then start to hate yourself for being there!
Mistake Number 10: Forgetting That Not Every Employer Deserves You
You are a tremendous candidate for lots of positions, but not every employer deserves you! If you don’t stand up for your own value, no one else will do it. You are smart and capable whether you’re working or not.
The right job is waiting for you, and you’ll know when you find it — because you won’t have a sick feeling in your stomach when you sign the offer letter. Hold out for that job if you can!
By Liz Ryan