There’s no question about it. job hunting can be a long, tedious and frustrating process. There’s a good chance that you’ll face some bumps in the road along the way. However, knowing the most common mistakes that job-seekers tend to make, can save you a lot of valuable time-and stress. Regardless of whether you’re looking for your first job, stuck in a job you hate, have recently become unemployed, or are looking for a career change, everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, even the smallest error could make or break your chances of landing a job so beware of these common mistakes.
1. Keeping Quiet
While job hunting is a personal experience, there are a lot of people around you that might be able to help in a positive way. Knowing which companies are hiring, or will be soon, is a huge plus when searching for a new job. Having some extra pairs of eyes and ears to look out for opportunities can speed up your hunt. Additionally, you may know someone who has a connection with a company that is hiring! Rather than staying quiet about your goal to find a new job, reach out to your network and see who might be able to help!
2. Not Taking Action
Putting off things such as making a big decision, returning a phone call, responding to an email or follow-up, or looking for opportunities are all huge roadblocks when it comes to job hunting. If you receive a request from a company for more information or someone reaches out to you looking to schedule a phone call, take action on these things immediately. Waiting to do so will decrease your chances of landing a job greatly. Be proactive and stay on top of searching for, applying to, and following up with potential jobs.
3. Using Generic Resume & Cover Letters
Many job seekers use the same resume for every job they apply to. This is a huge mistake that can turn a job hunt into a catastrophic disaster. Your resume should be tailored to match the job description, which can be done by inserting keywords used in the job posting that match your experience. The same goes for a cover letter. Beginning with “to whom it may concern…” Is impersonal and shows a lack of research on your end. It shouldn’t take more than some clicking around the company’s website to determine who’s in charge of hiring. Personalizing both the resume and cover letter specifically to each job you apply to will up your chances tremendously.
4. Going to Interviews Unprepared
Most job seekers are well prepared to answer basic questions in an interview. But have you researched the specific company you’re interviewing with? Do you have questions prepared for the interviewer? This is a part of being well-prepared and many people forget about this. While most of the attention is on you during this time, not having any questions prepared will make you look unprofessional and uninterested in the company and job at hand.
5. Not Exploiting Skills & Experience
Everyone has their strengths and value that they bring to the table. Many job seekers fail to use this to their advantage when applying for jobs. Having generic and basic skills listed on a resume doesn’t impress anyone. To market yourself as best as possible to potential employers, you need to highlight the skills that make YOU valuable to a company. What sets you apart? What have you achieved? What difference did you make at your old job? Playing your experience and skills to your advantage will up your chances of landing a job greatly.
6. Poor Attitude & Lack of Commitment
Many people underestimate the power of attitude. Being negative or having a poor attitude in any way affects the job-seeker, the employer, and the process as a whole. Sure, it can be defeating (and very common) to interview with 5 companies and still not land a role. But it doesn’t mean you won’t. It simply means you haven’t found the right fit yet. Additionally, not making adequate time for preparing and searching or not giving it the highest priority, will negatively impact your chances of landing a job. Rather than having the attitude of “hoping something will turn up”, be positive about new opportunities you come across and stay committed to the job hunt. Having a daily goal, such as applying to or following up with 5 jobs per day, is a great way to stay on track.
Job Hunting is a long, stressful process. Don’t make it any harder for yourself by falling victim to these easily avoidable, and very common, mistakes.