Job search mistakes can be devastating, especially for newer candidates.
Every day, thousands of job candidates in the region are out looking for a job. The truth is that many of them, especially newer job candidates, make at least one mistake in the process. The worst part is that many of these mistakes are avoidable.
Job candidates want to focus on minimizing mistakes on the job search trail. Finding a job is tough enough in today’s economy. The last thing a job candidates needs is forgettable, regrettable moments to compound the issue.
The following list is comprised of mistakes that are avoidable if job candidates are extra cautious and put a little thought into the process.
· Do not use a personal e-mail address. Personal email addresses can highlight heritage and cultural roots. But for the job search, use an address that is professional and nondescript. First and last name should be part of the address.
· Do not enter a career search without a career plan. Every hiring manager will ask the where the candidate wants to be in five years. They will also ask why they are unemployed and why they are looking for a particular type of job. Have the interview answers down pat.
· Do not under-dress for a job interview. If anything, over-dress. A good rule of thumb given by hiring managers is to dress for the next job up the ladder, not the one being applied for. Even in a casual environment, candidates need to look professional.
· Do not depend on the Internet for the job search. Many job candidates misunderstand the role of the Internet in their job search. It is good for research and for professional connections. That does not mean the Internet will provide the next job.
· Do not be sloppy with a cover letter or a resume. Double-check everything. Make sure the company name and job title match what the hiring manager is looking for. Always customize the cover letter and resume.
· Do not withdraw. Go to networking events, and make sure to network there. Real networking is building mutually beneficial relationships. That can be hard to do in a group setting. Make sure to have at least three to five one-on-one meetings at every event attended.
· Do not apply for jobs that are outside of the circle. No one is a good fit everywhere. No one is good at everything. The job search will be much more effective if the focus is put on exactly what kind of work the candidate is qualified for and/or experienced in.
· Do not fail to follow directions. Many job ads are very specific about details regarding job description, experience, references, or relocation. Job candidates need to read everything thoroughly to avoid missing pertinent details. Nothing frustrates a hiring manager more than candidates who can’t follow directions.
· Do not skip joining professional networking groups. Job candidates should join the local Chamber of Commerce. When they attend Chamber meetings, they should ask about other local networking groups that have helped people in the audience. Success breeds success.
· Do not shortchange a social media presence. Job candidates need to be mindful of social profiles and pictures they may have out on the Internet that may be deemed inappropriate by others. In some cases, employers may secretly try to ‘friend’ candidates on a given social network so they can have access to photos.
· Do not try to turn an informational interview into a job interview. Many network contacts think of this as pushing the envelope too far. An informational interview is to get information, not an offer. When job candidates pester a network contact about job opening, the contact may feel they are being taken advantage of.
· Do not forget to have a LinkedIn profile. Many employers and hiring managers use LinkedIn as their go-to resource for more information about a candidate. A job candidate who does not have a LinkedIn profile may be missing out on a critical opportunity to showcase skills and experience.
· Do not forget to research the company. Take some time to review the company’s website and use some of that knowledge in a résumé and cover letter. A job candidate will need to know more about the company in order to get an interview.
· Do not forget to follow-up. This means a follow-up after a job application as well as a job interview. Following up is critical to being apart from other applicants. Job candidates often neglect this key step because they applied online or don’t have a name to follow up with. Get the name of a contact in human resources.
· Do not fail to ask questions at the interview. Candidates want to find out about the company and hiring manager as much as they want to find out about the candidate. Failing to ask questions may send the wrong message. Questions imply interest in the job. Employers want candidates who are interested.
· Do not rely on a single job-hunt strategy. Some job candidates only use online job boards, or avoid the online scene. They may miss excellent opportunities. Job candidates make more connections that can lead to jobs when they use a multipronged approach. Job boards, face-to-face meetings, networking at professional development meetings, phone networking and other search strategies should all be implemented.