Article Looking for a job? Make sure you aren't guilty of making any of these crucial job search mistakes. 0 2014 Life coaching Career coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

10 Crucial Job Search Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

TAGS: coaching, life coaching, business coaching, coach, life coach, self help, personal development job searching, resume, resume writing, cover letter, hidden job market, networking, interview questions, interview skills, interviewing, interviews, job offer

Persistence and diligence are required in a job search process in order to overcome the many challenges and obstacles you will come up against in your journey. Most job seekers stumble and make the same errors over and over again. These errors need to be avoided if you want to move your candidacy forward.

Here are the top ten job search mistakes you should learn to avoid at all costs!

1. Your resume lacks vision

You’ve just become unemployed and know you need to find a new job, but you have little idea how to go about it, or where to begin.

The best place to start is with a vision. What is your vision for yourself? You can continue doing the same things you’ve been doing, or there could be other avenues to explore – perhaps a different career you’ve been wanting to pursue.

While most people view unemployment as a negative experience, truly it is an opportunity to look at your life from a fresh perspective. Having a vision that has the potential of moving you into a new direction can be a very exciting way to begin converting your unemployment into a fresh start for yourself.

Begin your search with a clear vision of what you want for yourself in this next phase of your career:

  • Write it out;
  • Look at it often;
  • Keep your focus on it;
  • Maintain a strong intention of following your vision no matter what obstacles may get in your way.
  • Follow your passion - you won’t be disappointed.


2. Your resume falls short

Very few people know how to create a truly winning resume.

  • Your resume may be too long,
  • It may lack crucial elements,
  • It may appear confusing or unfocused,
  • It may have inaccuracies,
  • It may contain employment gaps,
  • There may be nothing in your resume that sparks interest or grabs the attention of the person reading it,
  • It may lack the unique differentiators that set you apart from the crowd.

Having a weak or mediocre resume can destroy your chances of getting interviews and being hired. Your resume represents one of the first of a series of links on your path to getting hired. A quick and successful search starts with a powerful vision and a strong, well-written resume that reflects that vision. Be diligent in this; your efforts will pay off.

3. Your cover letter needs some help

As critical as your resume is to your success, your cover letter can be even more important. Your cover letter is an introductory note to your resume, and is usually read before your resume.

If you don’t have a cover letter, or you have one that is poorly written, the chance of your resume getting read is diminished. There are specific ingredients your cover letter must have that are elaborated within the body of your resume. Knowing what these crucial elements are will support your getting in doors and moving your candidacy forward.

4. You are not tapping the hidden job market

You may think you are doing justice to your search efforts by scouring the classifieds and online career sites for job postings, and then responding by sending your resume.

In fact, there are two shortcomings to this approach.

  1. The first is that every other job candidate is doing the exact same thing. Unless you have figured out how to write a resume that differentiates you from the sea of candidates out there, you don’t stand much of a chance.
  2. Secondly, by focusing on these job ads, you’re attending to only twenty-five percent of all job openings available, and therefore missing out on the majority of positions that are in the hidden, or unadvertised, job market. To tap this hidden job market, you need to network, post your resume to the top job sites and begin contacting recruiters.

5. Your networking may need refinement

Networking is an art. It takes communication to a whole new level. There is typically a certain hesitation, or fear, associated with networking which can be akin to cold-calling. Once you get past this trepidation, you will begin to reap the rewards that networking offers.

Start networking with the people you know, telling them about yourself and your unique gifts. Make sure it’s a two-way street, so find out as much as you can about them, as well.

Always end an encounter with the question, “Who else should I be talking to?” This process truly mushrooms. Roughly 80% of jobs are filled through a networking effort. Untold opportunities are out there; it’s through a concerted and committed networking effort that jobs are found.

6. You may not be preparing sufficiently for your interviews

Have you ever watched the Olympics, or professional figure skating, or a politician giving a speech? Do these people get out of bed, get dressed and decide to go out and perform, or do they go through rigorous training and preparation before considering themselves ready for the big event?

Not preparing for an interview is sure to produce mediocre results. Every step you take in life will be much more successful with sufficient preparation.

  • Before every interview, make sure you are well-versed in yourself – your qualities, your competencies, your accomplishments, and your uniqueness.
  • Research every aspect of the position, including the company, the industry and the reason(s) for the position in the first place.
  • Prepare yourself with the types of interview questions that will show the interviewer you did your homework.

The difference between success and failure is in the preparation. Walk into an interview fully armed and prepared, and you will stand a far better chance of being successful.

7. Your interview skills are lacking

Despite all your preparation, interviews can still go south if your interview skills are lacking. Your listening skills may need some work or you may have a tendency to ramble on rather than answer a question in a concise way.

While your answers will help the interviewer assess your skills for the position at hand, it’s how you respond that more importantly determines your overall fit with the company. Personality is ninety percent of the battle. You may answer a question factually, but your attitude might tell them no.

Similarly, it’s far better to establish a rapport with your interviewer than to answer every question correctly. A skill can always be taught, but when was the last time you successfully altered someone’s personality?

Establish a comfort level early in the interview and maintain that rapport throughout. Come to the interview dressed appropriately. The initial handshake must be of a certain quality. Eye contact is critical throughout the interview. How you sit in your chair and shift your posture can make or break your effectiveness. Remember, you’re there to sell yourself, so be sure to ask for the offer before the interview is over.

8. You have poor follow-up after your interviews

Once the interview has concluded, write and send a thank you letter. It serves to keep your name and information uppermost in the eyes and mind of the interviewer. It also helps reinforce your qualifications and increases your chance of clinching an offer.

9. Your offer negotiations skills are lacking

It's rare that a person will negotiate their offer. Most job candidates are so thrilled to have received it, they just want to get started in their new position and start receiving a salary again.

There is also a bit of apprehension surrounding the idea of negotiating. It is assumed that negotiating will change the company’s mind about you and they’ll rescind the offer.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There is always a higher amount that you can receive over and above the compensation you are initially offered. Employers fully expect you to negotiate. It’s when you don’t that suspicions arise as to your qualifications for the position.

Negotiating is an opportunity to get what you truly want, and deserve. It is a way to significantly raise your standard of living and sense of self, simply by taking stock of what you have to offer and then knowing how to use it for your advancement. What you receive now becomes your benchmark for future positions, so go for what you are worth.

10. You have the wrong Attitude

A tremendous level of stress can accompany being unemployed.

  • You can be affected by the loss of income.
  • You may also experience less confidence in yourself.
  • Your unemployment may be impacting your home life and personal relationships.
  • There may be a degree of depression that you are dealing with.
  • You may be harboring lingering resentments toward those people responsible for your layoff.

Finding a job is challenging enough. If you bring these emotions into your search efforts, you will be taxing your process in ways that will be quite formidable.

You need to be clear-headed and focused to move your search process forward. You need to find a way to bring yourself into a more balanced state.

  • Realizing that you are not alone may be a good first step.
  • Renewing friendships is another.
  • Appreciating yourself in every way possible goes a long way.
  • Relaxation exercises, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, working out, and eating healthier foods can make you feel really good about yourself.

These are things that can help move you past any negative emotions and toward a much healthier mental state. Having a vision will assist you in launching your job search process, move you quickly in the direction of obtaining your career goals, and help you maintain a strong, positive attitude.

Want some focused career advice or resume help? Contact me or leave a comment below!


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