5 rookie mistakes to avoid when job searching
Give your job search the best chance of success by cutting out the basic errors highlighted by career coach John Lees.
Candidates of every age tend to make the same mistakes at the beginning of a job search – throwing themselves at the market with a half-cooked message, or applying for random jobs in the hope that something will work.
Avoiding these classic errors will shorten your job search time and make it easier to get a role which fits your skills and experience.
1. Offering a vague message
Going to the marketplace too soon usually means writing a CV that is unclear. If you hope that employers and agencies are going to help you solve your career puzzle, you’ll be disappointed.
Showing you don’t know what you’re looking for puts you out of the frame for most roles. Suggesting that you’ll do anything makes you sound desperate.
Explore – by talking to people in roles and sectors before you send your CV anywhere or take agency interviews.
2. Telling a downbeat story
You may have been made redundant or had a bad experience in your last role. Resist the temptation to share that information – you‘ll get sympathy, but not job offers.
Employers are into risk avoidance, and are attracted by motivated rather than complicated people. Learn to talk about your whole career as a single coherent story and explain why the job on offer is the next, logical, fulfilling chapter.
3. Firing blanks at random targets
You might feel tempted to play a numbers game and apply for as many roles as possible. This ‘spray and pray’ approach has a hidden cost – disappointment.
You won’t hear anything further or receive feedback. Your unstated message is that you don’t care what you do next, and you’re unclear what value you can add.
Research a small range of roles and aim carefully at targets where your experience makes sense and you are likely to be short-listed.
4. Only using screens to search
Many jobs are advertised online, so you might be tempted to focus just on job boards. The internet is a fantastic research tool to find out more about career paths and work sectors, and job boards can point to target organisations and candidate-hungry agencies.
However, make sure you use the full range of job search methods – including networking, talking to people in interesting organisations, following up personal leads, and unsolicited approaches to employers.
5. Talking to people in the wrong way at the wrong time
Tell people what you’re looking for, not how you feel about job hunting. The more people who understand the key ingredients of your preferred job, the more chance your phone will ring.
Spend at least one day weekly wearing smart clothes and getting in front of people. Focus on asking smart questions rather than pitching yourself, but be prepared to talk about the work that fascinates you.
If you have high-level contacts in your address book, don’t waste their time by approaching them before you know what you have to offer – and what you’re looking for.
Boost your job search with expert advice:
Your job search in 2017: When’s the best time to apply?: Michael Page takes a look at the best months to apply for a job.
10 tips to make your CV stand out: Get your CV noticed with help from professional career coach Charlotte Billington.
How to improve your online image in 3 quick steps: Polish your online image and land an interview with advice from career expert Natalie Severt.
Power up your CV to get more interviews: Give your CV the power to secure more interviews with expert advice from careers trainer and writer Jon Gregory.
How to get a job in 2017: Get motivation for your job hunt from The Apprentice finalist Claire Young.
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