When it comes to searching for a job, most people think sending out a hundred resumes a week and/or networking with everyone they know are effective strategies to land a new job. Little do they know, those efforts can actually prevent them from finding a job. From launching an unfocused search to not taking advantage of LinkedIn, here’s a look at five mistakes job seekers often make:
Anyone who has lost their job knows the natural reaction is to panic. How am I going to pay the mortgage, make the car payment or pay the electric bill are things that quickly run through your head. That panic prompts you to call everyone you know to vent or network the day after you were canned. Being proactive? Perhaps, but according to Julie Bauke, a Career Strategist, President of The Bauke Group, and author of “Stop Peeing on our Shoes: Avoiding the 7 Mistakes that Screw Up your Job Search,” what you are actually doing is shooting yourself in the foot. “It can really hinder your job search if you are not in the right frame of mind,” says Bauke. “You are potentially damaging a relationship that could be crucial to moving on.”
Before you start reaching out to your contacts, Bauke says to make sure you have a very clear departure statement and what you want to do next statement so you are starting the job search with clarity and focus.
Mistake 2: Relying on One Source
Maybe the last time you were unemployed you had luck with a specific jobs board or have a hot shot recruiter in your rolodex so you put all your eggs in that one basket this time around. While that strategy requires less work on your part, there’s no guarantee it’s going to get you your next dream job. “It’s a mistake to pick only one of the resources or avenues and hope it will produce the same results,” says Sue Campbell, owner of 1st-Writer.com, a career strategist company. A better idea is to use a variety of sources. Reach out to that recruiter, contact companies directly and search the job boards and online job site databases. Networking and circulating business cards at job fairs will also get your name out among potential employers, says Campbell.
Mistake 3: Networking and Resume Overkill
We’ve all heard time and time again the importance of networking and the need to consider every single person you meet as a potential contact, but do that for a while and it’s going to get old pretty quickly. If you take the scattershot approach to networking, you’re going to wear yourself out, says Bauke. Instead she says you need to “network with purpose.” “You need to know where you want to go and then back up from there,” she says. “Who are the most likely to be able to give me good advice, point me in the right direction or connect me with other people to take me to the road I’m trying to get down.”
According to Bauke, if you don’t know what you are looking for, there’s little chance you are going to find it. “If you don’t care what you do next, you just need a job then you are really shooting yourself in the foot from a networking strategy,” because you’re not being specific enough for people to be able to help, she says.
Just like you can burnout easily with networking overkill, the same concept applies to sending out resumes. You may think you are being productive sitting in front of a computer sending out resumes all day, but according to Bauke the reality is two-thirds of jobs come from someone you know. “Sending out 100 or 200 resumes per week, that is junk mail,” says Bauke. “Sitting at home in front of a computer screen is not productive.”
Mistake 4: Chintzing on Your LinkedIn Profile
Even if you’ve just started using LinkedIn as a way to network and find a job, the countless recruiters that use it every day haven’t. They’ve been using it for years and expect job seekers to use it to its fullest potential. “A lot of job seekers are not done filling out their profile and the problem is an incomplete profile tends to not rank when recruiters do searches,” says Joshua Waldman, an author, career expert and operator of www.careerenlightenment.com. According to Waldman not having a complete profile looks bad to recruiters and hiring managers because it sends the message you’re not serious about your career.
Along with having a complete LinkedIn profile is making sure your profile photo on social media websites is aligned with the type of job you are looking to get, says Waldman. For instance if you are trying to get a job in a record company then a picture of you on stage rocking out with your band is ok. But if you are trying to get hired at a stodgy accounting firm you better be in a suit on your profile pic.
Mistake 5: Quitting the Job Search Before You’re Officially Hired
Weeks or months of looking for a job can be arduous not to mention emotionally draining so it’s not surprising that when you think you’ve finally landed a new job, you throw in the towel and stop looking. That’s fine if the job comes through, but if it doesn’t you may have potentially missed another opportunity. “Until a firm offer is on the table and accepted, never stop looking at what’s on the market, interviewing for other positions or seeking new opportunities,” says Campbell. Even after you started at your new job, she says it’s a good idea to continue to monitor the job market so you know what’s out there and have a good idea of your industry as it relates to the job market.