Angry businessman in glasses looking at you

Top 5 Job Search Mistakes to Avoid in 2016

Angry businessman in glasses looking at youYou can choose to conduct your job search in an open format or as a covert operation. Just know that the further you stick your head out, the more opportunities will come your way. Before you jump into the job search minefield, be aware that there are many hindrances to getting from A to B in the fastest possible way.

I have spent many years as an executive career management professional, specializing at the senior executive level where the air is thin. Over that time I have watched some job seekers win quickly and others wait through a considerable and unnecessarily long period.

What was the difference between those two groups? Those who took longer to get a career win were unfamiliar with the realities of job search. Here are five specific mistakes they made, which you need to avoid:

1. Negative attitude

Put yourself in the seat of an executive recruiter or HR manager as they conduct an interview. Would you welcome and embrace negative comments about past employers or life in general? I suspect not. Such negativity can portray emotional instability and someone who will not be very pleasant to work with. Positives sell. Positive people are hired.

2. Inferior resume and cover letter

Your resume and cover letter are the foundation of your marketing communications during a job search. Hiring decision makers form their first impression within a few seconds, which can make or break your career advancement.

Is your resume up to date? Is it able to pass the rigors of the very prevalent ATS scanning applications and is it also appealing to the human eye? Does it sell you to your optimum, and does it tell a compelling and resonating story about your career, your soft skills, and your hard skills?

3. Lack of accomplishments

Everyone has a list of accomplishment stories to tell, but so few take pride in expressing how well they have performed. Instead, they whittle the facts down into bare snippets instead of using them to propel them ahead of their competition in the job search race.

This is not a time to be shy, but to clearly portray a full and comprehensive list of performance-driven STAR stories. Go out of your way to place metrics within these stories. We hire because you can deliver measurable accomplishments. A decision maker is not interested in your responsibilities except for your budget, staffing complement, and other metrics pertinent to your leadership level.

4. Being a loner

Yes, you can conduct a job search by yourself, however it’s always best to conduct a job search with a team supporting you. Harness their skills, their connections, and their ability to coach, guide and motivate you, even on the darkest days.

As you traverse the hurdles of your job search, keep these helpers involved in all your activities. You never know when their input can set you on a path to success.

5. Failure to research

Do you have a career plan? Do you have a targeted list of 20 or 30 employers where you would like to work? Not many do.

With the Internet, research has become considerably easier. By networking with current and past employees of those companies, you can uncover details about the organization’s corporate culture and the challenges they face.

From there you can craft a business plan that will capture attention from key decision makers by highlighting your unique abilities to solve those problems.

The job market today is very fluid. Don’t assume you have a job for life. As an executive career coach, my philosophy is that the day you land your new job is the day to start your next job search. Embrace this philosophy in your daily life, eliminate these mistakes, and you can move on a lot quicker than others who aren’t as well versed as you.


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