Top 10 Job Search Mistakes

The journey to landing your next job will look slightly different from that of your neighbor, but there is a rhyme and a reason to most of what the search entails. While we never cease to be amazed at the proficiency and creativity of some, we do sometimes find ourselves perplexed at the mistakes of others. There are multiple elements to a job search, and the higher your pay the more complex your journey will be. This Top 10 will hopefully help you avoid the mistakes of those who’ve gone before.

Exhibiting a Hostile Attitude
Cynicism is rarely an attractive accessory, and never in the job search. Many of us have been wounded by former employers and the way things ended up, but to the extent that you can leave that between you and the mirror, you will help your own cause. Stand up straight, put on a smile, and be gracious and grateful to those willing to listen to your pitch or lend you a hand.

Failing to Organize Your Search
Small and simple at the start, most searches at their conclusion represent a complex labyrinth of conversations, interactions and activities. Get yourself organized with a spreadsheet or whatever system works for you. You think you will remember but after a few interviews they all run together and you can’t remember which hiring manager belongs to which position and what you really thought.

Shooting Before You Aim
Sending resumes willy-nilly will only result in self-doubt fueled by frustration. If you find yourself saying “I’ve sent 67 resumes and heard back from none”, ask yourself who did you send them to and what did you really expect? Every search has an intended target. Find it.

Expanding Outside Your Focus
Desperation can get the best of anyone in a prolonged search, but casting a wider net to catch a minnow or a whale is not the signature of a successful fisherman. Know your worth, identify the right jobs, and stick to it. A lack of progress may stem from behaviors in the previous bullet. Not focusing from the start can lead to a frenzied expansion that leaves you questioning who you are and where you’re going.

Sending Resumes with No Follow-Up
The best searches exhibit a well-defined strategy composed of setting the stage and following up. With the screen situated squarely between you and the hiring managers, if you are making no efforts beyond hitting send or submit, you are letting opportunities to market and differentiate yourself go by. Do a bit of research, pick up the phone, and you might be surprised at what starts to unfold.

Not Preparing for the Interview Because You’re Convinced You Don’t Want This Job
We have debriefed many a candidate who nonchalantly approached a “junk” interview, only to realize half way through this would be a great job. Treat every interview with respect. If it is junk, nobody in the room needs to know but you. Human interactions have a way of coming back to haunt us, so just like you treat every stranger with respect, greet every interview as though this might be the one.

Not Expressing Interest in the Role When Interviewing
Different yet similar to the previous bullet, there are many reasons we give off an air of disinterest in an interview. It can be pride, or a simple case of under-animation. Hearing from an employer post-interview “your candidate was great but I don’t think they’re interested,” is a very difficult impression to overcome. Show interest. You got all dressed up, you might as well finish the dance.

Falling in Love Too Soon
See our Valentine’s Day post on precisely this. When you leave an interview and say to yourself, that’s the one, resist the urge to stop looking. Hopefully this will be the one, but right now you have nothing but a hunch. By continuing your search you are replacing pot-watching with activities that make you more attractive, collect more information, and ultimately position you for a well-informed decision.

Making Too Many Demands Too Soon
Asking about vacation days and HR policies in the first interview can stop the momentum in its tracks. You are still very early in the dating process so make yourself as attractive as possible. The time will come when they have fallen in love, and are very happy to grant that time off for the already-planned vacation. Timing is everything.

Not Including Your Family in Your Journey
The most insidious yet deadly mistake in a well-run job search is keeping it all to yourself. Avoid this self-sabotage by reading our 07/31/18 blog on precisely this pitfall. Your family will be your greatest fans if they only get to know what’s going on and are invited to celebrate small victories along the way.

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