Searching for a new job can be difficult. But, it’s important to stay on top of your search and avoid small mistakes that may cost you an opportunity. In a tough market, even the smallest of mistakes may land your resume in the “no” pile.
Avoid the following mistakes to be on your way to job search success:
Mistake #1: Using the Internet only for combing job boards.
In today’s diverse online world of social networks, professional communities, and blogs, you’re truly doing yourself a disservice if you rely solely on job boards to find a new job. Your job search should consist of networking, branding yourself, creating a positive online presence, joining groups and communities, and many more activities in order to learn about new opportunities.
Mistake #2: Only using the few “major” job boards.
The big job boards may seem to have the most opportunities posted, but you’ll spend so much time looking for them it could be counterproductive to your job search. Instead, put your attention toward niche job sites related to your field or the type of job you’re looking for (internship, entry-level, etc.). These niche sites are more likely to have postings that you’re qualified for, and often have surrounding communities to interact directly with other individuals similar to you. You should also be looking directly on company career sites to see open opportunities that may not be posted on job boards at all.
Mistake #3: Applying for jobs you’re unqualified for.
This is easy to do on some job boards. There’s an opening that you’re almost qualified for, so you click “Apply” thinking it can’t hurt. Wrong! Qualifications are written out in a job description as a minimum to apply for the job—if you don’t meet them, you’re wasting the hiring manager’s time by submitting your resume and, at times, offending the person by doing so. (His or her time is valuable, too!)
Instead, spend the time you would apply for jobs that don’t quite meet your criteria to perfect your resume or cover letter for an ideal opening. You should also focus on networking (whether online or offline) to broaden your professional network and learn about jobs that aren’t posted online.
Mistake #4: Asking for things instead of creating mutually beneficial relationships.
Many job seekers think that networking is all about approaching others and asking for help in your job search. It’s not—networking should be about creating relationships with other individuals. So, don’t send emails to people you don’t personally know asking for a contact at a company or resume help. However, once a relationship is formed, or you’ve helped the person in some way, it’s okay to ask for some type of help—but not before then.
Mistake #5: Failing to maintain your online presence.
Employers are looking at your social networking profiles and search results. While you’re job seeking, it may be your online presence keeping you from nabbing that interview. With so many tools to help you maintain your online brand, there’s really no excuse for a poor presence. Use tools like MyWebCareer to evaluate and monitor your online brand across networking sites and search engines, and Vizibility to ensure the correct results appear in a search for your name on Google.
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.
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