Job-hunting is like any other skill: it takes time and practice to master and we’re all going to make a few mistakes along the way. Here are eight local job search mistakes I’ve seen applicants make that we all can avoid.
1. Applying everywhere
You need clear job search goals, especially in a competitive market like Oregon. Yes, it’s easier than ever to blast out hundreds of job applications via email and online job boards, but it’s not an effective strategy or a good use of your time. Instead, know what you want to do and where, apply accordingly, and you’ll see better results.
2. Only looking for posted jobs
Many jobs are filled through word of mouth and never advertised. If you want to tap this hidden job market, you have to build and grow your network through informational interviews, networking events, and participation in professional groups.
3. Forgetting to send a thank-you note
Employers want to hire people who are enthusiastic about working with them. When you don’t follow up after an interview with an email or handwritten note you’re saying “not interested.”
4. Always using the same resume
Every job is different and your resume needs to reflect this. That doesn’t mean rewriting from scratch every time you apply for a position, but you do need to tweak your resume in order to stand out.
5. Not including a cover letter
When you submit a resume alone you are missing out on the opportunity to give an employer compelling reasons why you’re the right candidate. It’s also a way to reveal yourself personally and professionally and connect with an employer on a human level.
6. Not asking questions
Every interviewer has a problem: they have to find someone – sometimes quickly – to do a job that is going undone. Asking questions in an interview about an employer’s needs shows that you’re thinking about how you can help them. The answers you receive give you information you can use to showcase your relevant strengths and experience.
7. Ignoring your online presence
Human resource managers and interviewers routinely check out candidates online. Know what Google and your social media accounts say about you before sending out that first application.
8. Keeping your unemployment a secret
Nobody likes to talk about being out of work. I know: I’ve had two long spells of unemployment myself in my career. I’ve also found that my best leads come by word of mouth when I tell friends, colleagues, and even casual acquaintances that I’m looking for work.
What mistakes would you advise job seekers to avoid?