Searching for a job can be a challenging experience. On the one hand, there are more tools than ever to search for any type of position you want. Between online job boards, LinkedIn, networking events, and many other sources, you’ll never run out of places to apply. At the same time, you’re often competing with hundreds of other applicants. That’s why you have to create a targeted job strategy and avoid making blatant mistakes in your search. The following are some typical job seeker mistakes that are easy to avoid once you’re aware of them.
1. Limiting Yourself to One Type of Job Search
It’s easy to get into a rut with your job search. You might be relying on one job search engine or only applying to companies on LinkedIn. Whatever your favourite method might be, it’s a mistake to rely on it alone. There are too many alternatives nowadays to justify such an approach. Here are a few possibilities to try:
• Rather than simply applying for posted jobs on LinkedIn, also connect with people and ask for their advice. They may tell you about openings at their company or refer you to someone else.
• Attend live events, such as conferences and trade shows. These are great for meeting people and networking.
• Join groups and forums related to your industry. Don’t simply spam the boards asking about jobs, but take the time to make real connections.
2. Being Set on the Perfect Job
Seeking Mr. or Ms. Perfect can prevent you from dating and meeting anyone who has the slightest flaw. Similarly, if you’re set on an ideal job, you may be overlooking some solid interim choices. This doesn’t mean you have to take any job anywhere that posts a “Help Wanted” sign. However, many jobs provide you with valuable experience, not to mention an income, on your way to your dream career.
3. Failing to Leverage Your Personal Contacts
Even if you feel like you don’t know anybody who can help you, it’s a good idea to talk to as many people as possible about your job search. This includes family, friends, present and past co-workers, former teachers and classmates, and anyone else you’re connected to. These connections don’t have to be close. Some people worry about appearing desperate or annoying people. However, there’s nothing wrong with sending someone a brief email or, during a conversation, mentioning that you’re looking for work.
4. Providing Too Much Information (TMI)
TMI is a popular acronym on social media. Keep this in mind when creating CVs, filling out job applications, and even during interviews. Providing too much information can actually hurt your job search. For example, if you’re an older candidate, don’t list every job you’ve had going back 20 or more years. Work experience going back more than 10 years, unless it’s directly relevant to the position, is best omitted. If you need help with your CV, consider enlisting the help of a professional CV writing service. However, to get you started, here are some additional items to leave off your CV:
• Your age or date of birth.
• A photograph, unless you’re in a field such as acting or modelling.
• Your salary at previous positions.
• Personal interests or affiliations that have nothing to do with the position for which you’re applying.
5. Not Doing Research on the Company
When creating a CV or writing a cover letter, don’t make them generic. Customise them for the specific company you’re applying to. It’s even more important do some research on the company if you’re fortunate enough to land an interview. Interviewers often like to test candidates to find out if they’ve done their homework or if they’re just showing up and winging it. You can find out quite a bit about a business with a few minutes of focused research online. Sprinkling your answers with a few pertinent facts about the company can go a long way towards making a strong impression.
6. Lying or Exaggerating
It may be tempting to boost your credentials by stretching the truth, but don’t do it. It’s all too easy today for someone to check out your claims. If you’re caught lying, your reputation will take a major hit and you could even be blacklisted from other jobs. Inventing impressive-sounding degrees and job experience is not worth the risk. On a similar note, make sure any references you provide are people who can be easily reached.
7. Having an Inappropriate Online Presence
Even in the social media age, it’s difficult to remember just how easy it is for people to uncover information about you. This is particularly true of items you voluntarily post on social media sites. If you’re trying to cultivate a professional image, be careful about photos, Facebook posts, videos, and other content that might be circulating online. You should assume that a company considering you for a position will, at the very least, Google you and check out your Facebook and Twitter (LinkedIn is not usually an issue here, as people use that for strictly business purposes). If there’s anything there that could harm your reputation, remove it.
These are some of the most common job-hunting mistakes that will lower your chances of recruitment. Keep in mind that your job search often depends on taking many small actions. You never know what conversation, email, or line of enquiry might lead to a job.
Lee Tonge is one of the UK’s most respected professional CV Consultants having created The CV Store in 2001 Lee has become recognised as one of the UK’s leading CV writing ‘experts’ and is often called upon by some of the world’s most well-known recruiters for CV advice.