Written by Catherine Adenle
First is the economy, then comes your location, job location, industry trends and even the hiring manager’s mood during your interview can influence whether or not you get hired.
Yet, as easy as it would be to blame your lack of offers on all or one of these factors, you can’t forget that the common denominator in your job seeking activities from the CV to the interview and to the final hiring phase is YOU.
If you are not getting the kinds of interviews and job offers you feel you should be getting, perhaps one or more of these 20 common mistakes below might be the culprit.
Here are the 20 common ways you might be unknowingly sabotaging your own job search:
The first steps
1. Not keeping track of your accomplishments When you’re happy in your job, it’s easy to forget about possible future job hunts. Trust me, you never know when you’ll end up looking for new work, and if you don’t keep a running list of ‘on the job accomplishments, awards and promotions, you might not remember them when it’s time for you to update your CV.
2. Leaving your former employer on a bad note Don’t leave any employer on a bad note! As much fun as it is to fantasise about telling a bad manager to sod off, don’t actually do it. Leaving a trail of angry managers or co-workers is like throwing a boomerang. It will come back to haunt you when you need references and you never know where you might meet people in future.
3. Keeping quiet about your situation and not networking If you are silent about your job search, your friends, family and colleagues would not think of you when they hear about job opportunities. As a job seeker, you want to stand out against the sea of other job-seekers. It goes without saying that having the right contacts can get you the job of your dream. Considering that most jobs come through personal connections, building your network should be high priority during and after a job search. See Become a Superstar Networker: See These 8 Tips
4. Only using the Internet Internet online job sites, social media tools and boards are fantastic resources, but you need to do some footwork too if you want to increase your chances of finding a job. Contact companies that you would like to work for, even if there are no job listings. Not all companies advertise openings online.
5. Searching only for the perfect job Yes, your job search should be focused. After all, applying to every job posting that comes your way is a good way to waste time but not an effective way to find a job you want. However, if you approach your job hunt unwilling to accept anything less than the precise job title, pay, benefits and hours you want, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
6. Writing a generic cover letter If your cover letter looks like it could have come from a word processor template, right down to the “To Whom It May Concern”, don’t bother sending it. Hiring managers look for a candidate who wants that specific position, not someone who sends out applications en masse. Write a new cover letter for each job application and include details specific to that company. See Cover Letter
7. Typos Sending a cover letter or CV filled with grammatical mistakes and typographical errors shows hiring managers you don’t care about the quality of your work and probably not about the job, either.
8. Including your current work address and information as the best place to contact you Making sure employers can get in touch with you is important, but they should not be contacting you at work. Potential employers might question if you will search for a new job on their own time as well.
9. Focusing on yourself and not on the company in the cover letter When ‘I’ is the predominant subject and there are times when it is the only subject of all the sentences in the cover letter, it sometimes indicates that you don’t understand the organisation and its needs, and, in fact, says you don’t care to know.
10. Not targeting your CV to the position Just like the cover letter, your CV should build a case for you to be hired for a specific position. If you are applying for a financial analyst position, don’t waste space including your teenage stint as a lifeguard in the local swimming pool.
11. Not minding what you share on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube Take it or leave it, the social web has greatly changed job search for the job seeker as well as the organizations that are doing the recruiting. Social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and recently Quoraare no longer just places to reconnect with childhood friends, colleagues or former University mates. A lot of companies now use social media websites to do unofficial background checks on potential employees. They search for people information, get alerts and sometimes monitor. As convenient and valuable as the internet may be, it can also be perilous, particularly for the employed and those that are job seeking.
Readily available information on the Internet ensures that the interview starts long before the hiring manager meets the candidates on the day of the interview. Social media monitoring tools and Google offer hiring managers the ability to gain a broad picture of an individual before they meet them. Consequently, they are able to assess whether a candidate is an appropriate fit for their organization or not.
See Social Media
12. Showing up late for the interview This is a no, no. Nobody likes to be kept waiting, especially hiring managers evaluating whether or not you would make a good employee.You are the one looking for a job, you must ensure that you get yourself organised. Know where you are going, do a test run if necessary.
13. Dressing for the wrong job Your interview attire should match the dress code of the company, or be one-step up. If the office dress code is business casual, wearing faded jeans and a T-shirt won’t work in your favour. On the other hand, if you know that the dress code is casual, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you show up wearing a double-breasted three-piece suit.
14. Not asking questions When the interview ends, the hiring manager will undoubtedly ask if you have any questions for him or her. Not asking anything is the equivalent of saying, “I don’t care all that much about the job or I haven’t done enough homework.”It is important that you ask relevant questions to show your enthusiasm for the role.
15. Badmouthing a former boss When you talk to hiring managers about a previous employer, you are also talking about them. The way you talk about a previous employer is how interviewers think you will talk about them in the future, so keep your mouth shut if you haven’t got anything nice to say about a former boss. Ensure that you kep it clean and civil.
16. Not paying attention Another way to show you don’t care much about the job is to get distracted. Answering your vibrating mobile phone or leaving it on, digging through your bag tells the interviewer that your focus is anywhere except on the interview. Turn your phone off and pay full attention.
17. Not researching the position Your principal objective in an interview is convincing the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job. How can you prove your qualifications if you don’t have an idea of what skills you are expected to have and what your responsibilities will be? Read the job profile, know the skills and be able to demonstrate how you utilised the skills in the past.
18. Not researching the company Employers want to know that your motivation for work is more than a pay cheque. If you demonstrate that you know something about the company’s history, its goals, values and its culture, you prove you want to be a part of the company.
19. Forgetting common etiquette Don’t swear, chew mint, burp and yawn, take off your shoes, or do anything else that’s not appropriate in a business setting. Don’t give the interviewer a reason not to hire you.
20. Forgetting that you are being interviewed from the moment you walk in Just because you’re not sitting down at a desk across from the hiring manager, don’t think you are not being evaluated. For example, some employers will often ask their assistants or receptionists if you were nice them. Even if your interview involves lunch or dinner, you’re trying to get a job, do not show off your ability to down tequila shots or any drink.
21. Bringing up salary too soon A rule of thumb is that you should never bring up pay; let the hiring manager do it. Of course, employers are aware that you want to know about the salary, so they will bring it up when the time is right. Appearing too concerned with money at first suggests that you are not passionate about the position or the company; but that you are just more concerned about the money.
Now that you have read this article, the biggest mistake will be to keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing during your job search – even when you keep getting the same result – lack of interview invitations or job offers. Do you know of other job seeking sabotaging ways to add to the above? Let’s hear from you.
Thanks, I had my interview last week and I got the job. Your blog gave me such a confidence boost and really helped me to succeed. I have been asked to start work next week. Keep Blogging!