Achieve Job Search Success by Avoiding Common Mistakes
In a tough economy, there are often more job seekers than available positions, making competition amongst job candidates fierce.
In this crowded field, avoiding common mistakes can mean the difference between landing a position and getting overlooked.
Stand out in the crowd and find your next job with help from the following tips.
Search for a Job
- Search online. Searching for a job is a full-time job. Make the most of your time by using search sites such as SimplyHired, Hotjobs, and Indeed.Want to work at a nonprofit? Try Idealist.org. Also, set up alert emails to have job postings sent to you on a daily or weekly basis.
- Network. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking. Talk to friends and family to see if they know someone who is hiring — you never know which contact may be able to help you connect with a job opportunity.
- Cold call companies you want to work for to see if they are hiring. Sometimes a position will be available without being listed on the organization’s web site or job search tool. You can also request an informational interview to learn about a career field, receive job advice, practice your interviewing skills and make valuable professional contacts.
- Build your skills by volunteering in your field to gain experience and enhance your résumé. You can find opportunities on VolunteerMatch, Serve.gov, and AllForGood.
Refine Your Résumé and Cover Letter
- When in doubt, leave it out. If you’re questioning whether to include an item in your résumé or cover letter, then it is probably best to omit it.
- Learn from the experts and read up on tips to make sure you have a spectacular résumé and cover letter.
- Proofread your résumé and cover letter by using a checklist to catch grammatical and formatting mistakes. Ask a friend or family member to take a look to get a second opinion. After all, one misspelled word or punctuation error can ruin all of your hard work and preparation.
Follow up on Your Application
- Call back a week after submitting an application to inquire about the position. This follow-up will demonstrate your interest and help you get noticed in the pool of applicants.
Ace the Interview
- Be pleasant to the receptionist. If you ignore or come across as cold to the receptionist, he or she can inform the hiring manager about your behavior, which could cost you the job.
- Present yourself in a professional way. Dress appropriately and make sure you turn your cell phone off.
- Be aware of your body language. Research has suggested that 60-70 percent of all communication is derived from nonverbal behavior. Small gestures can make a big impression on your prospective employer—maintain eye contact, have a firm hand shake and smile often.
- Put a positive spin on past experiences. When asked about previous work experience, be honest and demonstrate a positive attitude. If you had a bad experience with your previous employer, avoid complaining and focus on the lessons you learned. For example, “I had differences with my boss, but I learned how to deal with the adversity and complete my work.” Employers like to hear how you were able to turn a bad situation around.
- Immediately send a thank-you letter after the interview to stay fresh in the employer’s mind. Many recruiters admit that some candidates get lost in the shuffle, but are rediscovered when they receive a thank-you letter. Since many job seekers fail to follow-up after an interview, this can help distinguish you from other candidates and remind interviewers of why they should hire you.
If you are currently unemployed, don’t be discouraged and keep on applying. With a little strategy, extra effort and attitude awareness, you will be well on your way to new employment opportunities. Good luck!
Have additional suggestions for job seekers? Share your advice below.