Job search is hard work; it’s stressful and riddled with anxiety. Do not exacerbate it by letting highly charged emotions drive bad behavior when you’re looking for a new job. Reign in your anxiety: Manage it with exercise; a few hours spent with understanding and light-hearted friends; attendance at emotionally soothing venues; engagement in empowering job search strategy sessions; and such. By doing so, you can avoid the following examples of bad job search behavior (and you may even find a little joy along the way):
1. Lying on your resume. While a resume is a marketing piece and you do not have to disclose every detail and date of your career ‘history,’ you still mustn’t lie. For example, do not fudge dates or titles and do not exaggerate on sales and profit achievements.
2. Providing references without permission. If you are going to list a name of someone who can verify your credentials, tout your value and sing your praises, then ASK them for their consent to be a reference first. When your former colleague, boss or other business contact receives an unexpected phone call or email from a recruiter or human resource professional on your behalf, this sends immediate signals that you have not exercised proper professionalism and respect. Making an assumption that they will vouch for you is no excuse for lack of courtesy.
3. Scheduling an informational interview and then canceling at the last minute. Whomever you scheduled the informational interview with was willing to give you their valuable time and expertise and probably carved out time from an already busy schedule. If you cancel at the last minute, you prove to them that you do not value them or their time.
4. Scheduling and engaging in an informational interview and then never sending a proper follow-up thank you note. Sending a thank you note shows you respect and appreciate the fact that the person you met with took time out of his or her busy schedule to speak with you. See #3.
5. Scheduling a job interview, showing up late, and then making up a lame excuse as to why you were delayed.
6. Scheduling an interview with a recruiter and then showing up in jeans and a wrinkled t-shirt, because it’s only the recruiter. Wrong! Recruiters are interviewing you, too, with as much—or even MORE—scrutiny than the hiring decision maker. Be on your best behavior with the recruiter. They are your bridge to the hiring manager.
7. Blasting everyone in your database with your resume with a plea regarding how you got the shaft at your job, are down and out and looking for new work. Instead, provide value to your network, actively give of your time, energy and expertise, and as you are doing so, be equipped with conversation points that articulate the specific opportunities and connections you are looking for. You may be surprised that by giving, you will get.
8. Complaining on Social Media (especially Facebook and Twitter) that you are frustrated with your job search, are mad at the world and that you were treated unfairly, once again.
9. Requesting free or paid advice and support with your job search and then disagreeing with any suggestions you receive and/or getting cantankerous because it’s hard work to find work.
10. Displaying constant consternation. Suddenly, your world has stopped spinning, and you are filled with anxiety. Not only is it your job to find a new job, but in the process, you must also find a way to dispel of anxiety, or else that new job will elude you. Anxiety often is a leading driver of poor behavior, which turns off potential hiring managers.
Take this challenging period and use it as an opportunity to improve and grow. You may even learn that by ‘faking it until you make it,’ you will actually start feeling better. Sometimes a forced smile and feigned good-nature converts to real optimism and hope. And this perceived happiness attracts other people who may have the opportunity to connect you to—or even hire you in—your next great gig!