Job Search is an Art. You don’t want to have to learn that intimately too many times. But you need to learn that today because people are entering transition frequently and job search changes all the time.
One mistake and you are out, or your search is lengthy and then that could cost you a lot of money. Each day that you’re unemployed, if you’re in career transition, costs you a lot of money. You don’t want six months; you’d prefer three months being in a transition. Make sure you learn job search.
Here are all my 23 ways to sabotage your job search.
- Failing to track and Document Accomplishments. We hire people because they can perform, they can make money, they can save money, they can streamline operations, they can eliminate headcount, they can introduce new technology. The list goes on and on.
The readers of your resume need to see that you are a performer. You also want to relay those accomplishments in your LinkedIn profile. List accomplishment after accomplishment after accomplishment. We’re not interested in responsibilities except for the number of headcounts you’re responsible for and your budgets. Make sure you concentrate on the performance that demonstrates how good you are and the value you brought to your past employers.
- Leaving on bad terms. Never ever burn bridges. Your termination day is a sad day. It affects you emotionally. Why me? The rage, the anger, all those natural emotions go through your mind but try to never to burn bridges and I’ll tell you the reason why. You might be employed by the same company that you were just terminated from at another time. I can tell you a story about this. One of my recent clients has been re-employed six times by the same company because she never burned a bridge. How outstanding is that? She was calm, she was collected, she took it as it was and was terminated and she took a severance. Then three months later she was re-engaged because of her skills.
- Not Networking. Networking is going to bring you the best value and I mean networking while you’re gainfully employed and not just when you’re searching for a new job or when you’re in a career transition. You need to network consistently. Yes, you can scale it back somewhat when you are gainfully employed. But when you’re in a job search you need to really ramp it up. Look up www.meetup.com, It’s a website with a plethora, hundreds and hundreds of different meetings in cities across the world. I’ve been to a few of them and they’re very interesting. You will meet people; you never know who you’re going to meet at any networking event. You could generate leads from a target company where you want to go and work. Never ever give up networking in person and just as important is networking online. You need to be on LinkedIn. You need to be on Facebook. You need to network and start connecting because you never know; those people you connect with right now to bring you value two years, three years down the road.
- Searching for the perfect job. The perfect job doesn’t exist, sadly. I wish it did because I’m sure you will or would want the perfect job, but never concentrate on the perfect job. Concentrate on a job where you can bring value, where you can be happy, and where you can share your expertise. Forget about the perfect job.
- Using only the internet. It is a fallacy that the internet brings you jobs. It’s a very small percentile. Job boards, national newspapers, and corporate websites bring just a small percentile of jobs. You need to concentrate on that networking to find those hidden jobs. I can teach you how to find those hidden jobs; that will be in a future post because finding those hidden jobs is an art in and of itself. I will show you how; I will teach you how.
- Writing a Generic Cover Letter. A cover letter takes you from today forward and a resume takes you from today backward. A cover letter is written in the personal pronoun using the words I, my, he, or she. There are five different types which I discuss in another post that is coming up about how they all look for different things. Never ever send a generic cover letter. You need to customize it to that particular application and pull out some of the buzzwords, the key was the soft skills and the hard skills they are looking for.
- Typos. Oh my gosh, I can write a book just about the typos I’ve seen. Spellcheck doesn’t point out all typos. Always have all your documentation looked at by somebody, a friend of yours, an acquaintance of yours, somebody you trust who’s got a good command of your particular language and have it proofread by two or three people because you can never have it read by too many people. Just one mistake such as a typo or a grammar mistake and you could be out of the running for that job.
Be savvy as to which country you’re in, amongst the English language countries. In each country such as the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and other countries around the world there are subtle differences in language. Make sure you have your spellcheck or your Microsoft Word set to your particular country. If you’re marketing yourself to Canada or the U S you can have two different types of resume. You can have a US resume with minor spelling, grammar and punctuation differences. You can have a Canadian resume. Make sure you have your program set to that particular country.
- Including your Current Work Email or Telephone Number. This is highly, in my professional opinion, unethical. You should have your own personal telephone numbers such as your cell phone, or your home number plus a personal email address. Never use business this time to look for your next opportunity; it’s highly unethical. Recruiters and HR professionals will think similarly.
- Not targeting Your resume to the Position. You should target your resume. The bulk of your resume, as we discussed a few minutes ago, is going to be accomplishments. Those are historic; you can’t change your accomplishments. What does change is the top third of the page where you customize that resume for that particular job. Take some of the buzzwords, the soft skills, the hard skills, and place them in the resume.
- Showing Up Late for an Interview. What is that going to say about you? You are almost at the conclusion of your job search. You’re on the final stretch and you’ve got this interview and then you go mess it up just simply because you’re late. Never ever be late for an interview. Work it out. How long is it going to take you to get there and don’t rely on public transportation schedules? The bus could be late, the train could be late so catch the earlier bus or catch the earlier train and be there at least 10 minutes early. It’ll give you time to really relax and take in the situation, the surroundings, so you’re ready for that interview.
- Dressing Inappropriately. I can’t tell you the stories I’ve heard of people who turn up for senior executive jobs and they’re dressed in jeans. Well, what does that first impression say about you? What message is that going to send to a potential employer? It’s got to send a very, very negative message, so you need to find out what the attire is at that particular company. Here’s a tip for you. Go on to LinkedIn and find other employees at that company and network with them and ask them what the attire is for their company or the specific department within that company, and then dress accordingly or maybe just dress slightly up rather than down. Just make sure your attire is appropriate.
- Answering Your Cell Phone During an Interview. Now you would think that is common sense, but actually it happens frequently. Hiring decision-makers and I network with executive recruiters and HR professionals all the time. They tell me this is not uncommon; people answer their phones during the interview. Never answer your phone. What happens is that the conversation goes dead and you are dead because you are gone out of their potential pool of candidates. I can’t stress this enough…never use your cell phone. Turn it off. Put it away so it’s nowhere near you.
- Not Asking Questions. An interview is a two-way street. It’s not a one-way street. Get some dialogue, some conversation going between you and them. If it’s a panel interview or an individual interview, they want to see that you are asking them questions. You can challenge them as well. You can ask where you will be in two years. You making that assumption gives them the message that you’re going to get that particular job. Be very positive. Ask questions about the company culture. Ask questions about all sorts of things. You can find out from the other employees when you touch base with them on LinkedIn, some good questions to ask. Research the history of the company and understand the company and then ask questions.
- Badmouthing Your Previous Employer or Your Boss. This is a no, no…a cardinal sin. Don’t do it; it is a foolish error.
- Not Paying Attention. Don’t look around and think, oh this is a nice room. No, you need to concentrate on the people who are in front of you; you need to focus on them. Pay full attention. Yes, it can be very tiring. Some of the interviews these days go up to 90 minutes, which is a very, very long time, but make sure you pay attention 100% of the time. Don’t look around, don’t cast your eyes around, look behind you, look in your purse, look in your case or briefcase. Make sure you maintain eye contact and smile at them.
- Not Researching the Company or the Position. With the advent of the internet in the last few years, there’s a whole wealth of information available for you to download about that company. Also ask those employees who you asked about the attire a little bit about the company, a little bit about the culture there, a little bit about what they talk about around the water cooler and the position if they know it. Never go unprepared. Always, always research and ask questions within the interview.
- Forgetting About Being Interviewed From the Moment you Go Into the Building. Sometimes the receptionist or the person who’s sitting right at the entrance to the building has been briefed that you are entering the building for an interview and then asked after the interview how you introduced yourself, how was your poise, your stature, and what you did when you entered the building. So act like you are on a sort of a camera when you enter that building and assume that everybody’s looking at you because they want to assess you in all facets, not just during the interview. Make sure you carry yourself with pride, with professionalism throughout the whole exercise. Stand tall, smile, and shake hands.
- Not Sending a Thank You Note. I’m a great believer in thanking my clients. Every one of my clients gets a Thank You note and not an ecard…a real handwritten note. Snail mail. You need to embrace snail mail. Snail mail is very, very important. Get some good stock Thank you cards, and handwrite them whether it be just to the interviewer or the panel. How do you find out their names? When you are leaving the interview, take their business cards, and then you will have all their names with positions and titles. And then you can send them all, if it’s a panel interview, a thank you card. A Thank you card sets you above the competition.
- Being Over Aggressive in the Follow Up. When you exit the interview, ask the interviewer or interviewers when they intend to make a decision, whether it be for the final decision or for the next round, and let that expire a few days. So it could be another week, it could be another 10 days. Don’t call them and say, well, I was expecting to hear. You need to be more patient. So if it’s a week, I would say you wait a week and a half and then start seeing if you can find out why you haven’t been called. You should never expect that you all going to be called at all because unfortunately today, not all the candidates who enter the interview are called.
- Not Learning from Mistakes. I’ve given you a whole list of mistakes that you need to not to embrace here. So you need to learn from this post. Go back through this post and have a look and see what the mistakes that I see, and others see that are so common in job searches. One mistake can count you out of a job so remember to make sure your job search, make sure you’re trained in job search because it’s a very, very important pastime. It’s a full-time job to find a full-time job.
- Stopping Job Search While You’re Waiting for a Response. This really is upsetting to me as a career coach. I see so many people thinking oh, I’ve got a job offer and it’s going to come next month, so I’m going to pull out of the job search. Well, that is the biggest Cardinal sin to sabotage your job search you can make in today’s economy when hiring is robust. If you continue your job search or even ramp it up, you could probably get yourself into multiple, yes, multiple job offers. Many of my clients don’t ever relax because that job offer they’ve been promised might never come. And what have you wasted…several weeks or definitely several days. So never waste a day simply because you’ve got, you think you’ve got, or you’ve been told you’ve got a job offer because often they don’t come. Sadly.
- Airing Frustrations. It can be very frustrating. It’s not something that people want to do. Job search, as I mentioned, is an art and it can be very frustrating. You’re going to have your ups and downs; one day is going to be up, you might have three days down, then you’re going to go up again. Make sure you conquer those frustrations. Have a good job search balance. Make sure you balance that time out but really work hard at your job search.
- No LinkedIn Profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you are gone today in career management. Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile fully complete with a photograph. Customize your LinkedIn address (I will be talking about in many further posts/videos).
I’m passionate about helping you reach your career goals. I have an offer for you. I want to clear the deck for you. I want to get you from A to B in the fastest possible way. I want to offer you a free resume critique and a LinkedIn audit. I will give you 30 minutes of my time with no obligation and no sales pitch, to go through those two platforms, your resume, and your LinkedIn profile, for free. What better offer is there than that? But I am realistic. I am tough because you only get one kick at the can and with one mistake (I’ll tell you all those mistakes) you can kybosh or sabotage your career. I will say it as it is. I will help you remove all those red flags so there are lots of green flags waving and you will march forward a lot quicker. 30 minutes of your time, 30 minutes of my time. How about that? Are you interested? If so, email your resume to me below or send it on LinkedIn, and then I will arrange a conversation with you.