With 14 million people unemployed, the competition to land a job has never been fiercer. HR managers and corporate recruiters now have more leverage than ever in who they select to fill open positions. Unfortunately, many job seekers are making the same mistakes.
Here are ten of the biggest mistakes that are currently being made by job seekers:
- Wasting too much time with online job postings: Much like print-based want ads, online job postings pay little dividends. Don’t eliminate them all together, but be cautious as to how much time is being used. Don’t forget that specialty trade publications on niche websites can offer good leads.
- Sending unsolicited resumes: Don’t waste a lot time and effort sending out unsolicited resumes when they are often discarded or filed away in a drawer. EEOC restrictions govern the way many larger companies conduct their application processes and will not accept unsolicited resumes. Target companies or organizations where you have contacts who are willing to navigate your information to key decision makers. It’s been estimated that more than 50% of positions are never listed publicly. Who knows, your timing could be perfect.
- Allowing your past to come back and bite you: Be conscious of any issues in your past that could return to haunt you. Most employers run background investigations so, insufficient credit, liens, and pending lawsuits can be a major stumbling block in landing a new job. Many employers will even canvass the internet to collect information about you while you’re only being considered for the position. If you use Facebook or other social media platforms, be cautious about what personal information, including photos is floating around about you.
- Ineffective networking: Networking should be the primary focus of every job search. Personal introductions can open doors for opportunities that might otherwise escape you. Networking doesn’t mean just putting out feelers among those you know in your profession. Great job leads can derive from the most unlikely people and sources — your barber, mailman, auto mechanic, dry cleaner or even the next door neighbor. It makes sense to talk to almost anyone who will listen, not just people in your field.
- Focusing on the wrong jobs: The key to a successful search begins with finding the right job instead of just any job. Focus on opportunities with growth potential, location, cultural fit, and a pleasing environment. Compensation should never the driving force in either accepting or declining a job.
- Poor planning: Various studies have shown that most people spend more time planning their vacations than a job search. A successful job search requires a well-thought out methodology, daily solitude and thorough planning.
- Not asking for help: Consider getting professional help with your job search. Do your homework and choose someone well-established and trustworthy. Take advantage of free job search assistance options such as public libraries and church organizations. Obviously, the Workforce Solutions offers a wealth of free job search assistance.
- Poor interviewing skills: Each aspect of the interview should be well-thought out and rehearsed before time. Winging it just won’t do. A good interview should consist of a 50/50 active dialogue where you have two professionals checking each other out to see if there is a potential match and mutual benefit.
- Underestimating your professional worth: Research and assess your value in the marketplace before you attend scheduled interviews. Never arbitrarily disclose your salary requirements. Wait until the employer has made it clear that you are their top candidate then negotiate as needed. Otherwise you run the risk of undervaluing yourself or, conversely, pricing yourself out of the job.
- Listening to the economic news: Listening to all the abysmal labor reports coupled with the other tough issues related to the economy can be downright depressing. Avoid the news as much as possible and try to focus on the task at hand.
Always remember that life goes on despite your setback and that people are actually finding new jobs each day.
Good luck in your job search endeavors remember to always keep your head in the game.
Wil Smith is a Business Consultant for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. Wil has collected over 20 years of expertise in the areas of Corporate Training & Development, Recruitment and Operational Management; with the majority of that time working with a Fortune 500 Corporation. He has also worked in the Sports/ News industry as a Reporter and Broadcaster.