Even with the hundreds of career books published every year, not to mention the thousands of articles about how to write a perfect resume and ace job interviews, job hunters keep making the same mistakes.
Every job hunter fumbles parts of the tedious job-landing process, but the four following mistakes can seriously slow the process, adding months to an already frustrating pursuit.
Mistake 1. Not recognizing blind spots. Many job hunters refuse to take sound advice offered from professional coaches or career experts. Mistakenly, they think they know exactly what to do. Not every career coach is the last word on job hunting strategy, but there are dozens of pros out there who’ve been in the trenches and know the inside skinny of the recruiting world.
One of the deeply rooted myths in our culture shaping behaviour is that success is contingent upon individual enterprise. The myth celebrates rugged individualism as the key ingredient for becoming self-made.
However, the belief that everyone succeeds or fails based on effort and abilities isn’t true. Revering the go-it-alone frontier mentality actually holds us back from achieving our career goals.
Initially, the faster job-hunters connect with the right people – advisers, consultants and hiring managers – the faster and more focused the job search.
Mistake 2. Sending resumes to prospective employers. With at least four candidates competing for every job opening, competition for good jobs can get very heated. Standing out and getting noticed isn’t easy. Many companies are leery of advertising open positions because they have so many applicants. That means you as a job seeker must be part detective, part consultant, part salesman.
Take the hint, and do not mass-mail resumes. It can be likened to spitting in the wind. In fact, it’s a mistake to send out resumes. The reason is that “prospective employers are not interested in past responsibilities, education and experience. They’re interested in job applicants’ accomplishments, personal strengths and career objectives in order to determine if they and companies are a good fit.
Turn heads by being clear about your goals and accomplishments.
Rather than using a traditional resume, create a one-page career strategy document that can be sent to prospective employers. The document focuses on selected accomplishments and signature strengths and objectives applicable to the targeted positions.
Job hunters ought to delay sending their resumes until after the interviewing process, when the human resources department requests it because it’s part of the official hiring procedure. This often precedes a job offer.
Mistake 3. Networking prior to formulating clearly-defined career strategy. Career experts agree that the majority of the best jobs are found via networking channels. If you network before goals are clearly formulated, your contacts are likely to be put off by your lack of career direction.
Busy managers don’t have time to read resumes or hear your story. Job hunters must make a compelling case so busy managers find the time for candidates with potential. This is why it’s so critical to approach recruiters with a well-formulated career strategy.
Mistake 4. Success ultimately lies with the job hunter. Many candidates have the skills and knowledge to fill open positions. The person who will be hired is the one who has a leadership presence and reputation that reflects a combination of commonsense, business smarts and emotional intelligence.
To be the winning job candidate, your attitude must convey a passion for the employer’s business and an eagerness to participate in the corporate vision. People who demonstrate a positive attitude are typically more confident, more helpful, make decisions quickly and have a better outlook on life. These are people others enjoy being around. Hiring managers understand that leadership development precedes business development and hiring a candidate with a good attitude is best.
Dana Wilson is a freelance writer.