It’s no secret that finding a job takes focus. And in a tough market like today’s, even the most qualified candidates are spending more time than usual finding their next job.
But for many job seekers, the market is only part of the problem. For some, it’s their lack of knowing how job search itself has changed that has them spinning their wheels. Here are 3 common mistakes that may be slowing you down:
- Looking for ‘Any Job’
When someone says they’re looking for ‘any job’, they are often making the mistake of thinking that there are hundreds of unskilled, easily obtained jobs that they can just walk into. While that may have been true in the past, it’s not anymore. With the exception of entry-level sales and customer service jobs, employers are looking for employees with proven skills, specific training, and the right attitude. And because of the volume of candidates looking, they can get what they’re looking for.
This means looking for ‘anything’ in today’s job market is a waste of your time. It’s more likely that you’ll find a job faster if you focus on matching your skills and expertise to 1 or 2 specific positions, and going after the jobs and companies that want what you have to offer.
- A Bad Resume and Cover Letter
Most people who haven’t job searched for a while don’t know how resumes and cover letters have changed over the last few years. And some people keep sending out the same resume over and over for weeks or months, not realizing that it needs serious changes in order to work for them.
Just in case you didn’t know…
- If your resume doesn’t match what the job posting is looking for, you’re not going to get called for an interview.
- If your resume doesn’t present your top skills and qualifications for the job quickly and concisely, you won’t get called for an interview.
- If your resume isn’t formatted, looks messy and has poor spelling and grammar, you won’t get a call.
- If your cover letter looks and reads like everybody else’s cover letter, you won’t get a call.
- Your Interview Skills Lack Polish
Another part of job searching that people take for granted is interview skills. If you go to an interview not knowing anything about the position, the company, and how you’re going to fit in, you may as well stay home.
Interviews boil down to 2 things: Showing how you fit with the company’s culture and values, and being able to tell stories of you demonstrating the skills, abilities and attitudes that they’re looking for.
Fortunately, learning about a company’s culture and values is as simple as going to their website and doing a bit of research. As for telling stories about yourself, you only need 3 or 4 good ones to answer most of the behavioral questions asked in the average job interview. For more detailed help, check out the articles here and here, or come to one of our Interview Skills workshops.
While all 3 of these mistakes can slow down your job search, they’re not the worst mistake you can make. The worst mistake that a job seeker can make is thinking that they know it all, that they don’t need to change their approach.
But the job market has changed, some say forever. And if you’re someone who has been working hard, searching for months without any serious leads or offers, maybe your job search skills need a bit of updating. There’s nothing wrong with that. After all, that’s what we’re here for.