Looking for that great new job is a complicated and time-consuming process. With so much involved, even the most savvy job seekers can make small mistakes — that may end up having huge consequences. But you can increase your chances of successfully landing your dream job by being aware of potential pitfalls in the job search process, and knowing how to avoid them as they come up.
Here are five of the most common job search mistakes, and what you can do to ensure you aren’t making them.
Sending unsolicited resumes
One common bit of advice that’s been thrown around to job seekers over the years is to apply widely, and send your resume out to as many companies as possible — even if they’re not hiring. Some have recommended using this strategy to get into your dream company. But the high volume of resumes that are sent to any given company, hiring or not, combined with widespread use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) practically guarantees that unsolicited resumes are a waste of your time and efforts.
Instead of sending out resumes blindly, your time would be better spent identifying a handful of ideal job opportunities, and customizing your resume and cover letter to match each individual job’s requirements, company information, and job description.
Relying on job boards and online listings
Generally speaking, online job boards are not the best sources for leads. Even worse are online “classifieds” or “want ads,” which are often riddled with increasingly clever scams posing as opportunities. But even legitimate online job postings will often end up wasting your time — simply because of the high volume of applicants these listings receive.
While it’s okay to dedicate a small portion of your time applying through online job boards, the majority of your efforts should be spent on more productive and effective strategies for finding opportunities. Networking is absolutely the most effective, since a majority of today’s new hires are referral-based. The Jobvite 2014 Social Recruiting Survey reports that 60 percent of hiring managers and recruiters said their best hires were through referrals.
Working directly with a recruiter is another highly effective way to find great opportunities. Recruiters have access to job openings that aren’t posted to the public, which means you’ll apply with a referral from the recruiter and compete against a smaller pool of candidates for the position.
While many job seekers understand the importance of networking, at least in theory, most aren’t using this powerful tool effectively. Networking is best when it’s made the focus of your job search, and when it’s approached in a structured and professional way that allows you to measure the results of your efforts.
For example, “being on LinkedIn” is not an effective networking strategy. Simply joining the social network doesn’t bring a flood of recruiters and potential employers to your virtual doorstep. You need to optimize your LinkedIn presence with a detailed, relevant profile that lets people know you’re in the job market, connect with industry professionals, influencers, and potential employers, and interact through groups and discussions in order to attract attention and grow your network.
Flying solo on your job search
This refers not only to networking, but also using career experts in general. Of course, when you’re actively looking a job, you should let family, friends, and colleagues know that you’re in the market to keep your network open — you never know where the next opportunity might come from.
In addition to asking for help from people you know, you can substantially increase your chances of getting hired by working with a professional. Career coaches, resume experts, staffing agencies, and recruiters have extensive resources for job seekers that can help you every step of the way, from identifying opportunities to making it through the interview.
Not asking for the job
It’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating to trip at the finish line — but that’s what can, and often does happen when you forget to ask for the job. You might make it all the way through the application process and a round of interviews, but if you don’t express your genuine interest in the position, you may be passed over anyway.
The very last step of every interview should be to thank hiring managers for their time, and state clearly that you want the job, in plain language. This makes your final impression as someone who’s both qualified and enthusiastic, which exponentially increases your chance at getting hired.
Need more assistance in your job search, or have questions about any of the job search blunders above? Call The Armada Group today and talk to one of our career guidance experts!