If your job search isn’t yielding the results you’d like, chances are you’re sabotaging your own efforts. Over the course of 22 years as a recruiter and 3 years as a coach, I have repeatedly seen people get in their own way and not realize it. Here are 11 ways in which you might be compromising yourself.
- Not knowing what you want – Are you answering any and all ads that address your function, with little thought to title, the job description, your background, the size of the company, and how they interrelate? Are you saying “I can learn it,” or “Piece of cake; I can do that in my sleep,” and applying little to no discernment? Take an hour and plot, based on your entire career, what size company you prefer, how much creativity you need, if you get bored easily and need the stimulus of fixing or growing something, and what kind of environment you excel in. Then focus on the job descriptions that meet that and ignore the rest of them.
- Being too picky – Some people time researching companies, trying to ascertain if they’d want to work there or not. Often they’re looking for ways to screen it out so they don’t have deal with possible rejection. Either way, you can’t possibly gauge the answer to that until you interview and find out about the job and the company, first hand, on a face-to-face basis.
- Carelessness – in your spelling and grammar. Carelessness, coupled with poor English skills, seems to be increasing at an alarming rate.
- Failing to communicate your uniqueness through the results of your actions – 99.9% of all resumes list job descriptions for the bullets. Job descriptions don’t differentiate your resume from everyone else’s. If there are ten people with the same job title, and the same job description, there will be ten different results. Make sure you communicate yours, because that’s what shows a hiring company what you can do.
- Using a generic cover letter – All companies are not created equally. That’s because they’re run by people and people differ, which means each company, and each job, are going to be slightly different, even if the titles are the same. Ads tell you what the company wants, and they want to know how your experience fits with their needs. Sending a generic cover letter is the same as telling a car dealer you want a sun roof, and he talks about how great the radio is.
- Having too much fun with Facebook – Every time you make a post or add a picture, ask yourself, “Is there anyone I wouldn’t want to see this?” Don’t rely on your Facebook privacy settings. Contrary to what some might think, this tip isn’t only for those in their 20s and 30s.
- Not following directions – “No calls please” means don’t call. “Please provide salary requirements in your cover letter” means – to me – at least address the question rather than ignore it (there are ways around giving them numbers). “Only online applications will be considered.” Yes, snail mail is better. Unless they say don’t do it.
- Not writing a thank you letter – Incredible that so many don’t do this. It’s extremely bad etiquette. No excuses.
- Not researching the company – Yes, people wing it. What were you thinking when you assumed you could fake your way through it? You can’t. Next time don’t bother to show up, because you wasted everyone’s time, including yours.
- Lack of enthusiasm – if you aren’t excited to learn more about the job, why are you there? Some job seekers think that smiling, showing interest, and exhibiting vitality is unprofessional. No, it just looks like you don’t care if you get the job or not.
- Having a lousy resume – What’s a lousy resume? Any or a combination of the following: teeny font, bad layout, difficulty determining one job from another, too many sections for each job, having a section called “selected accomplishments,” having an objective, having no summary/profile at the top, and most of all – which almost every resume has even if the rest of the problems aren’t present: having boring bullets that don’t communicate your uniqueness.
Finding a job is a skill. If you’re not satisfied with how your search is going, you can change that.