This site and so many other resources give you great “to do’s” that can have a tremendously positive impact on your job search. Sometimes, however, it’s important to look at what you’re doing now that you should stop doing!
What are those things you do, perhaps daily, that are just not productive and take time away from the things that will make the most headway for you? What are those things that, if you stopped today, may actually improve your job search rather than hurt it?
Here are 5 that you might want to consider:
Spending hours on job boards. While it may intuitively seem to make sense to take the time to scour one job board (i.e. Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, and hundreds of others) after another because of the quantity of openings listed… the process is generally a “black hole” that rarely produces results. The most optimistic figures I’ve found say that only 12% of jobs are filled as a result of someone responding to an online listing. And, when you are responding to a posting online, you are generally one of dozens, or hundreds of others applying to the same job. You are much more likely to be considered for positions when you’re connecting with people and learn about needs before they are ever posted.
That’s not to say that you should ignore online listings. Sometimes you can actually get a job from them. However, use tools like Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, and LinkUp.com to consolidate and deliver the results for you to minimize the time it takes to find appropriate opportunities. Step away from the computer and talk to real people! You’re job search will be much improved.
“Perfecting” your resume. While I’m a firm advocate of creating an effective resume, and customizing it for each position you pursue, I often see too many people spend enormous amounts of time trying to create the “perfect” document. The reality is, there is no perfect resume. They will always be a work in progress, and changes need to be made for specific opportunities. Make tweaks along the way, however, don’t allow yourself to become consumed by trying to achieve perfection. Apply your time toward more effective activities.
Waiting for a call. Applying for a position online, and then waiting for a response is frustrating and usually futile. Similarly, having an interview and then waiting for weeks for follow up is discouraging. Don’t wait! Be proactive and make the call yourself. Through LinkedIn, networking, or simply calling and asking a receptionist, find someone in the organization to reach out to. Even if they are not related to the role you are pursuing. Anyone at a company can give you insight as to what resonates within the organization, and they can point you to someone else that would be worthwhile to connect to. Taking the initiative will set you apart from most other candidates, will end your frustration from waiting, and will give you a better understanding of the process and people involved. Stop waiting for the phone to ring and make a call yourself!
Depending too much on Social Media. I’m a big fan of social media and how tools can be used to aid in your job search. However… Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so many other sites are not THE answer to getting a job. They each have value, however, generally work best when you can use what you learn on those sites to actually connect with live people over the phone or face-to-face. Spending a great deal of time connecting with people only through social media will almost never produce the results you’re looking for. They are aids, but not the “Holy Grail” for your job search.
Winging it. It’s a competitive job market. Out of dozens, or hundreds of applicants for the jobs you are pursuing, someone is likely to be well prepared when they make networking calls, introductory calls to companies, interview, or follow up. When an employer is interviewing someone that is well prepared, and someone that’s winging it and simply speaking “off the cuff”, the difference is stark. Which one do you think will get the job?
Even someone that’s generally very good at speaking off the cuff, will be better when they prepare in advance. Write scripts for your phone calls. Write out answers for your interview questions. Do the research on the company and the job before an interview. Look up the people you will be meeting on LinkedIn. Be the one that comes well prepared and not the one that just shows up and thinks they’ll do fine.
Consider how you might be spending your time each day, and what habits have you developed. What are the things that don’t seem to produce results? Decide you will redirect some of your efforts into more productive tasks and you may see a great improvement in your search!
Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.
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