Graduation is an exciting time for graduates, friends, and family. The future appears rich with the promise of independence and new opportunities.
Then the summer is almost over, and the panic begins. Perhaps, the hundreds of resumes you or your son or daughter sent out did not yield results. Maybe, you thought you would start your search after the summer when everyone is hiring, but money is dwindling. You are starting to realize that finding the job of your dreams is not as easy as you thought it would be.
Below is a list of the ten most common mistakes made by newbies, expats, and people who have been out of the market for a while, along with strategies to overcome them.
1) Keep options open / apply to everything. Responding to every job posting is comparable to shopping when you are hungry. Chances are you either get nothing or wind up with everything but what you wanted. Before your next posting spree, consider these three things when submitting your application:
a. How does this position set the stage for future opportunities?
b. What are the skills and experience you need to develop?
c. What size and organizational culture is the best fit for you?
2) Kitchen-sinking your resume. The length of your job search may be determined by whether your resume documents your entire career history or that proves you are the right solution for the position. The latter focuses on the results you have produced and have relevance to your target position.
3) Spend the entire day in front of the computer sending out resumes. This strategy is number one on the backward job search list. The folks in human resources want to reduce the candidate. The first thing they do is to scan the resumes they want to eliminate. People hire people they know and trust. You are more likely to get called for an interview and possibly get an offer when you volunteer or intern for a company or are recommended for the position by a friend or peer.
4) Wing it on job interviews. It never fails to surprise me when someone says they do great on interviews. When asked how they will prepare for the meeting, they either say they will wing it or look at the companies website.
Each job interview is different and knowing the needs of company you are interviewing for can mean the difference between getting an offer or receiving a reject letter. Sound preparation means you will review the company’s entire website; research the company and its competitors to; script out a response(s) that supports your brand and unique value proposition (UVP) and use the “tell me about yourself” question to demonstrate what you can do.
5) Not dressing appropriately, especially when running errands. I believe the Boys Scouts of America motto is “be prepared” Whether you are going to a network meeting or getting eggs at the grocery store, it is important you look neat and polished. In addition to being well groomed, consider investing in business cards. Vista Print and Moo offer affordable options. You never know how you find your next position.
6) Putting your eggs in one basket. Overconfidence that a job offer is imminent will close you off to other and even better options. If the offer does not come through, you will likely be disappointed and even disillusioned. These thoughts and feelings can have a negative impact on your job search. Before you break out the champagne, think about went well during the interview and what you need to improve. An honest self-appraisal will help you hone your interview skills, temper your enthusiasm, and can protect against a letdown.
7) Failing to send out a thank you letter. According to Quintessential, a robust site for job seekers, career professionals, and human resource professionals, only 5% of job seekers send a thank you letter after a job interview. A clear, concise letter that thanks the interviewer(s) for the time they spent with you and then reiterates how you can make a difference may be what you need to tip the scales in your favor.
8) Inquiring about salary, days off, sponsorship, and other benefits before receiving a job offer. Asking about salary and benefits says you are interested in your needs and not those of the company. Resist the temptation to have a conversation about compensation until an offer is made. If asked about your recent wage or what salary you are interested in answer “I am not sure how this is relevant to our discussion today. However, I am sure once we agree that there is a fit here, we will reach an agreement on a compensation package that benefits both of us.”
9) Stalking employers. For some people being in a job search can be extremely stressful. Fear of the unknown combined with the stress of waiting for “the call” may cause you to behave uncharacteristically. If you sent a thank you letter and do not hear back from the hiring manager for at least two weeks, you might want to call to express your interest in the position. If there is no response, move on. The position is probably not the right fit for you.
10) Express your thoughts about with the search process, college or university, the current employer on social media. No doubt, if you are just starting out or living in a new country, the job search process can be frustrating. You may be tempted to tell the world about the interviewer who was more interested in the stain on his tie than he was with the interview but think before you hit the enter key.
Several years ago, a woman boasted on Twitter that she had accepted an offer despite her lack of interest in the company because she needed the money. The company rescinded the offer when one of their employees saw the post on Twitter.
Avoid letting stress take control of your job search. Speak with friends and family about your thoughts and feelings. Make sure to get enough rest, do things that help you relax, and rejoice even the little wins. If you are not getting the results, you would like, speak with a certified career coach.
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