There’s nothing like the start of a new year to celebrate our successes, reflect on our mistakes, and try to learn something from our job search blunders. Your job search may have fallen short of your expectations not because you weren’t qualified, but because of common mistakes, you didn’t even know you were making. For example, a study last year by the research firm Future Workplace showed that while 71% of HR professionals thought that employee referrals were the top source for finding candidates, only 7% of job seekers saw referrals as the best source, indicating that many job seekers are not clued into the best ways to find and obtain employment.
By investing in strengthening your job search prowess, you’re investing in your future. If your New Year’s resolution is “find a job,” then you can’t miss out on learning from these common job search mistakes.
1. Not following up
“The type of company and the type of role should guide how you follow up to a job application,” says Glassdoor’s Talent Acquisition Partner and resident recruitment expert, James Parker. He also recommends crafting a unique follow-up message for every recruiter you talk to, especially if they’re from the same company. If you want to be a memorable candidate, following up with recruiters is a must – both before and after you submit your application.
2. Sending out a generic resume
You’ve crafted a killer resume, and you’re excited to send it out to every company on your list. But wait! That resume might look great, but chances are it’s not equally great for every job you’re applying for. “You should absolutely tailor your resume to suit the company, industry, location, and other parameters of the role,” told career coach Michele Moore to Glassdoor. By only sending out one resume, you’re selling yourself short.
3. Not reading reviews beforehand
A job description can only tell you so much. What is the company culture like? Are employees satisfied with their pay and benefits? What is the average salary of someone in your position? All of these questions can be answered by reading Glassdoor reviews of companies, where current and former employees can give you the inside scoop.
4. Skimming the job description
You see the perfect job description, get your resume and cover letter, and quickly apply. Week go by and you don’t hear anything back, so you look back at the job description. “Fluent Japanese is a must.” Oops! Missed that one. Trying to save time when you read through job descriptions only costs you more time in the end, of wasted time and energy updating your resume and writing a cover letter. Read carefully!
5. Forgetting to network
“At least 70 percent if not 80 percent, of jobs are not published,” told Matt Youngquist, the president of Career Horizons, to NPR. Youngquist says that job seekers waste time surfing the internet when many times, it’s talking to employers and leveraging personal connections that get your foot in the door. In addition, connecting with employers on social media can be the ticket to finding you that “invisible” position.
6. Skipping the cover letter
While some may say that “the cover letter is dead,” it’s important to remember that is from a hiring manager’s perspective. As a job candidate, if a cover letter is asked for, the cover letter is certainly not “dead.” And if a cover letter is optional? Better to include it – in the employment search, anything that can set you apart from the pack and show your dedication will boost your chances of landing a job.
7. Not knowing your worth
When you’re looking for a job, you should also have an idea in your mind of what kind of pay you’re looking for. You should also be prepared to negotiate a higher salary, in case the one you’re offered isn’t up to par. Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool uses information like your current job title, base salary, employer, work location, and more, to determine the amount that you could reasonably expect for a job.
8. Skipping your research
A well-informed candidate is always preferable to the alternative. Asking questions about your specific interests in the company, and even just asking general questions about what the company does, are some of the most common interview questions out there. If you haven’t done your research, it’s ultimately a waste – not only of the recruiter’s time, but also of your own.
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