This is a great article by Charles Purdy of Monster. I’ve added some additional thoughts to each of his points.
Stupid Job Search Mistakes (The link opens in a new window.)
1. RESTING ON YOUR PAST ACHIEVEMENTS: One of the things I teach my clients how to do in their cover letter, their resume, and on the interview is show how their past will benefit the company interviewing them. In order of interview mistakes, here are the greatest to the least. The first two are the most common; number 4 is what you need to do.
2. GOING OVERBOARD WITH INFORMATION: I’ve done a few columns on variations of this.
- One version is the person who constantly interrupts, saying “Oh, I know what you mean. When I was….” or “Oh I can do that. When I was….” and launching into some long story about what they did with a previous employer that they think ties in to the topic and is relevant, but isn’t.
- Another is the person who provides endlessly inane details, thinking they’re relevant to the story, but aren’t. And the lack of awareness not only impacts their story, but their inability to register that the interviewer is getting bored, is restless, and is looking for a place to break into your monologue.
3. TRYING TO OUTSMART THE RECRUITER: These include:
- sending your resume everywhere, then working with a recruiter to get you in somewhere you couldn’t get in on your own
- trying to find out the company so you can go behind the recruiter’s back, figuring the company would rather hire you if you don’t have a fee attached
- agreeing to work with one recruiter and their client, then agreeing to work with a second recruiter hoping they’ll do better for you with the same client company
- not telling them your salary because you think you’ll get undercut
- play an offer you got on your own off against an offer you got through a recruiter
As a recruiter for 22 years before I became a career coach, the best way to work with your recruiter is to be honest. About everything. They’re a partner, not a foe. Yes, not all of them are good, and many of them don’t “get it.” But that’s no reason for any of the above – or similar – behaviors. Here’s what happens when you do that kind of thing: your file gets marked and no one in the firm will work you for any reason on any search even if you’re perfect for the position.
4. THINKING YOU’RE TOO IMPRESSIVE TO NEED A DIGITAL PROFILE: Before there was the internet, companies who were in the news had to manage their reputation. When there was a problem or something damaging that came out, they had to take steps to control it. It’s called spin and it means managing your public image, and expressly stated is that you need one. At the very least, LinkedIn. These days, no digital image screams OLD more than a degree date that is 1978.
5. NOT ASKING YOUR NETWORK FOR HELP: Here’s the best way to do that:
- Remember it’s not always about you. Pay attention to people and think of ways you can help them by providing information or articles that might be of interest
- Develop a relationship. That means take an interest in them. Take a few notes on things they mention like kids or vacation. Ask about those things. One of my friends, who also has a sales background, once asked me, “Did you ever notice how many people don’t know how to hold a conversation?” Yes, I have. Don’t be one of those.
- Ask for help. And make a concerted effort to provide some in return.