Unbridled stress and angst can exacerbate today’s job search. The economy is uncertain, bad attitudes are ablaze and the competition is fiercer than ever. No wonder job seekers struggle with maintaining poise, hope and focus. With that said, targeted, positive and actionable behaviors are what create the perfect storm for meaningful outcomes in today’s job hunt.
Avoidable job search behaviors abound. We’ve unearthed six more unhealthy job search habits you must steer clear of to ensure a more robust result.
1. Staying in Your Pajamas All Day. It takes time to freshen up and put your best face forward. By remaining unkempt, you are unavailable for impromptu face-to-face meetings such as a Skype call or someone who may want to meet you on-the-fly. While being perfectly coiffed at 8 a.m. may not be the only way to go, at the least, make it a habit to be showered and dressed before lunchtime.
2. Being Constantly Plugged In. If you are always “on,” your brain will never defrag from all the bits and bytes of information that you continually absorb from Google or LinkedIn searches, blog posts, job boards, company websites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more. As well, constantly texting or private messaging friends, colleagues or family to chitchat about this or that, to kvetch or to discuss job search strategy is not healthy. You have to give your brain and your emotions a break in order to present your value, with focused, unfettered energy and optimism.
If the weather permits – and it almost always does regardless of your climate – step outside and take a brisk walk. This time of year, you may need a jacket or heavier coat, but after just a few minutes, you will warm up. Amazingly, your blood flowing, the crispness of the air against your skin and fresh air will help you clear the cobwebs. By invigorating your body, you may even unconsciously solve underlying job search and networking problems.
3. Badgering or Annoying People. For some, especially amid the angst of job search, the line between inquiring and badgering may grow a bit fuzzy. Personality traits become exacerbated and bad behaviors you may not normally employ erupt, almost as if beyond your control.
The reality is, you do have control: the power not to call a recruiter every day to check the status of an opportunity; the capacity not to stalk hiring decision makers on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook; the ability not to grouse about the stalled economy; and the list goes on.
4. Over-Analyzing Your Resume. While an introspective resume process is vital to conducting a healthy job search, once you’ve completed the process, keep moving “forward.” Use your resume; plant seeds with possible contacts; research and act on your next move. Resist the urge to continually tweak, edit and/or rewrite portions of your resume every day.
5. Not Practicing for Interviews. So many people feel that, “If I can only get the interview, I will be fine. I’m great at interviews.” The truth is, interview prep is one of the most critical aspects of a successful job landing.
Preparing doesn’t mean memorizing responses. It means writing out answers to clarify and reinforce your thought processes in response to common interview questions and then practicing your answers: in front of a mirror, with a friend, or by recording yourself or role-playing with a career coach. It also means writing out your challenge-action-result stories so when the interviewer asks you a behavioral interview question, you can relate a story from your past that resonates with their present (or future) needs.
6. Ditching Your Manners. Sending text-like messages, being too informal and beginning your follow-up emails with “Hey John” and showing up at an interview in jeans and t-shirt all are bad form. As well, sassy voice mails intended for your close circle of friends undermine first impressions when a recruiter comes calling.
While communications and dress codes in the workplace these days may be a little less formal, it is better to err on the side of ceremony in matters of job search and career communications. Decorum matters.