How to Avoid the Most Common Job Search Mistakes

Patryk Kosmider; BigStock

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Patryk Kosmider; BigStock

Patryk Kosmider; BigStock

A job search can be a long and difficult process. If your search is dragging on and you see no end in sight, review your efforts and make sure you’re not making any of these seven common job search mistakes.

You only have one resume

Making yourself stand out is an important aspect of any job search. If you only have one resume that you use to apply to every position, you may be missing an opportunity to shine.

Take the time to tweak your resume for each position you apply to. Review the job posting and try to work the keywords and phrases it uses into your work experience descriptions. Try to determine which of your qualifications would be most impressive to each hiring manager and re-order your points to reflect that importance. This “personalization” will emphasize the skills an employer is looking for, and make your resume stand out to the hiring manager.

You aren’t networking enough

There is a reason people say who you know is more important that what you know. In 2014, 60 percent of recruiters and hiring managers said they found their best candidates through referrals. That means, whether you are networking now or not, you should boost your networking efforts.

You don’t have a plan

Many job seekers “wing it” during their search, causing them to endlessly search the Internet and lose valuable time. Don’t make that mistake.

Create a job search calendar that helps you keep track of your goals, application deadlines, follow-up deadlines and networking events. This calendar can be your go-to for prioritizing your search. It is just one of the ways to save time, keep you on task and make your search more efficient.

You’re searching alone

If you haven’t found a job search buddy yet, you should. Having a job search buddy provides you with a support system to count on, decreasing the likelihood of burnout during your long search.

To make the most out of your buddy relationship, keep one another accountable to your job search calendars, build a networking event strategy that allows you both to meet and share information about attendees with one another, and share relevant job listings with one another. Remember, relationships are a two way street.

You’re not following up properly after an interview

There is an art to following up after interviews. Take the time to write a short, five to six sentence handwritten thank you to your interviewer and try to mail it out no later than the day after your meeting. Be sure to mention something you and your interviewer spoke about and, if possible, offer up any information you think the interviewer may still want to know about you.

Fine-tune your application strategy

Recruiters and hiring managers post listings for multiple positions, with multiple companies, at any given time. If your strategy includes applying to every position you can find, you may be spreading yourself too thin and making yourself appear desperate.

Instead of spending your time applying to every position you can find, spend it researching the roles you want to play and the companies you want to play them at. Focus on applying to the positions you research and stay away from applying to multiple positions at the same company.

By focusing your application process, you are showing recruiters and hiring managers that you have given thought to your career path and won’t settle for just landing a job.

Proof, proof and proof again

Time and again, job seekers send hiring managers a resume or cover letter with grammar and spelling errors. More often than not, these errors will land your resume right in the trash.

In order to avoid having your resume put in the “no” pile, triple check all of your communications… not just your resume. Review your cover letter, any emails you send and any any follow-up correspondence – handwritten or electronic – for mistakes. Even though they may not be an “official” part of the application process, they still reflect your writing style and attention to detail.

Review your efforts and do anything you can to avoid these common job search pitfalls, and you will be on your way to finding the job of your dreams.

How do you avoid these common job search mistakes?

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution that gives job seekers complete control over their job search. It's available for individual users, university and military career services centers, libraries, and corporations seeking to offer outplacement assistance to former employees. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.