A job search can be a very tough slog through seemingly unending rejection – definitely not fun, particularly if you are unemployed with bills to pay. Effective job search methods have changes substantially with the Internet and other new technology, particularly in the last few years.
If you haven’t modified your approach to a job search catching up with what works today, you are probably wasting your time and staying unemployed longer than you need to be.
Unfortunately, you don’t have perfect control over the process now any more than you did in the past. But more variables can trip you up these days.
You can’t ensure that the hiring manager sees and is impressed by your resume, that a current employee isn’t interested in the job you want, or that everyone who interviews you is in a good mood and remembers you clearly when the interviewing is over. And many other aspects, often including the technology, are completely out of your control.
The Ways You May Be Wasting Your Time
You can control what you do, so if you are job hunting, this is how you may be wasting your time:
- Assuming that the Internet has made job search easy (the opposite is true).
- Believing that every job posting you find – or every email seemingly from an employer – is a real job for a real employer rather than being wary of scam jobs and job scams.
- Assuming that you don’t have the time to figure out what you should be doing in your career or what direction your career should take next.
- Thinking that employers don’t hire during the summer or the holidays at the end of the year, so not continuing to job hunt then.
- Waiting until the most competitive job markets of the year to job search – September and January.
- Looking for a job – any job! – rather than taking the time to determine the job you want and focusing on the employers where you really want to work.
- Not having a good, memorable answer to the question, “What are you looking for?” when someone is kind enough and interested enough to ask.
- Expecting strangers (and friends, too) to look at your resume or LinkedIn Profile and figure out where you would fit into an organization and what job you should do next.
- Spending all your time online clicking on the “Apply” button for every job you find, whether or not you are qualified for it.
- Having one version of your resume that you submit for every job you find.
- Posting your resume on all the job boards and waiting for the job offers to roll in.
- Exaggerating your qualifications on your resume.
- Assuming that employers are interchangeable and that it doesn’t really matter where you work or who you work for – a job’s just a job.
- Using social media for amusement. Yes, it can be amusing, but social media can be very effective if used correctly and very deadly if used inappropriately.
- Setting up a minimal LinkedIn Profile and ignoring it after that.
- Not exploring LinkedIn Groups to learn and to expand your network.
- Documenting your hobbies of drinking and driving for your Facebook (and other) friends.
- Being rude or nasty publicly online – in LinkedIn posts, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.
- Assuming that your “freedom of speech” rights trump an employer’s right to Google you and judge you by what they find. (BTW, “Freedom of Speech” is your Constitutional right not to have the Federal Government control your speech. It doesn’t mean you can be stupid, rude, or nasty online, and not have others find it appalling.)
- Defining networking as only attending events in large rooms, full of strangers.
- Assuming that networking means “using” others – all “take” and no “give.”
- Not reaching out to people you worked with in the past and to former classmates to get caught up with their lives and to see if they know of any job openings where they work that might be appropriate for you.
- Assuming that no one else has the same name that you do.
- If you know someone else does have the same name, assuming an employer will know – or discover – the difference between you and that person(s).
- Believing that spelling, grammar, and your ability to communicate well in writing are not important or relevant to an employer.
- Not bothering with good manners – no thank you notes, no courteous small talk with the receptionist or other “lesser” person at job interviews, and showing up for job interviews late.
- Not preparing for job interviews by re-reading the job description and doing research about the employer and the people interviewing you.
- Bringing food and/or drink to job interviews.
- Leaving your smart phone on during job interviews.
- Texting or answering phone calls during job interviews.
- Not having any good questions for the interviewers during the job interview.
- Asking about the salary and benefits during the first job interview.
- Assuming that a legitimate employer will hire you for a real job without interviewing you or meeting you in person.
- Supplying the names of people to serve as references without their permission first.
- Not staying in touch with your references to be sure that they know when to expect a call from an employer, what the job is, and how you are qualified for it.
While you cannot know or control what is happening on the employer’s side of this process, your job search is longer than it needs to be – if you are doing many of these things listed above.
More Bad Assumptions About Job Search:
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoach since then. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org, is a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a columnist on HuffingtonPost. and LinkedIn. Follow Susan on Twitter (@jobhuntorg) and on Google+.