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What are some of the common mistakes that people make when looking for a job?

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"A job search mistake is a failure only if you don't learn from it." Job Seeker's Handbook. Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS)
 
Looking for a job takes hard work! Getting your resumé to the “top of the pile” is going to take a disciplined, focused approach, mixed with some enthusiasm and creativity. Are you up for the challenge?
 
Most people make mistakes when looking for a job. If you can learn from their mistakes, it will save you a lot of time and headaches. You will thank us down the road when you hear those memorable words – “You’re hired!”
12 Common Job Search Mistakes
Below are some common mistakes that people make in the job search. For each, we have written “The Solution” on how to avoid them.
 
1.  You are not organized.
 
Being disorganized will make your job search more time consuming and stressful. There are many details to keep track of. For instance, the successful job candidate may be the one who answers the phone promptly when called for an interview.
 
The Solution: Get out your calendar and prepare a step-by-step “plan of attack” for finding a job. Every day, devote a set amount of time to each task you need to get done. Not only will it make your job search easier, but it will provide you with a valuable trait you can market to employers. Nobody wants to hire someone who is disorganized.
 
2.   You do not understand the product – YOU!
 
When looking for a job you are in effect a salesperson. The only difference between you and other salespeople is that the product being sold is you! If you don’t know what you have to offer, how are you supposed to sell it?
 
The Solution: What marketable skills do you have? What sets you apart from other job seekers? Why should an employer hire you? If you can answer these questions, then you understand your product! This type of sales strategy will undoubtedly lead to success.
 
3.  You do not network effectively.
 
Networking is a technique we hear a lot about, but many of us don’t use nearly enough. It has enormous potential. In most cases, networking can be the best strategy for a successful job search.
 
The Solution: Networking is the process of establishing and maintaining relationships with people in your field. For example, you might join a professional association within your industry. Often, professional associations host events where you can mingle with other members – a perfect networking opportunity. As well, think about joining discussion forums on the Internet. Here you can network with other online participants and even learn about current “hot” topics within your field. Networking is one of the best strategies to tap into the hidden job market. Explore any opportunity to meet others in your industry. 
 
4.  You do not take advantage of all possible options.
 
There is no single best way to look for a job! If you focus on one or two methods to find employment, such as sending out a few resumés and visiting one online job board, you are limiting your success in the job search.
 
The Solution: As a job seeker, you owe it to yourself to leave no stone unturned. There are many more options that will increase your chances of finding a job. For instance, contact an employer, do research on the Internet, browse classified ads, build your network of contacts, speak to a recruiter, join an industry association, or visit your local employment centre. Be sure to incorporate all these methods into your job search!

5.  Your resumé is poorly written.

The resumé is one of the job seeker’s most important tools. It must be well-written, 100% accurate, and free of grammar and spelling errors. If it is not, your job search will be an uphill battle.
 
The Solution: Your resumé is the first contact that you will likely have with an employer – so make it a good one! If you need help preparing your resumé, visit your local employment centre, or check out some of the very useful resumé books on the market.
 
6.  You have no cover letter, or it’s an ineffective one.
 
Nothing is more frustrating to employers than receiving a resumé with no indication of its purpose, what position is being applied for, or to whom the resumé should be directed.
 
The Solution: The cover letter is an important job search tool that must always accompany your resumé. The benefit of this letter is that it provides you with an extra marketing piece to sell yourself to a company. Take the time to carefully prepare your cover letter just as you would your resumé. Do not send a form letter. Write specifically for the employer and position you are seeking.
 
7.   You do not prepare for the interview.
 
Jobs are won in the interview! If you are not prepared, you have lost your one chance to make a good first impression.
 
The Solution: If you are fortunate enough to meet face-to-face with a potential employer, don’t waste this valuable opportunity! Spend time researching the employer and their industry. Anticipate the questions they may ask and plan honest, high-impact answers. Go through mock interviews to help you get used to being effective in various interview situations. Finally, if the interview does not go well, treat it as a learning experience.
 
8.  You do not follow up.
 
Many job seekers fail to follow up with an employer after an interview. In many cases, this is a missed opportunity.
 
The Solution: After the interview, always send out a follow-up letter, even if you feel unhappy with the way you performed. This letter allows you to thank the interviewer for their time and re-emphasize a couple of your key strengths. If the interviewer has not yet decided who is to be hired, this letter could help your cause.
 
9.  You get discouraged easily.
 
The job search is a daunting process because you are asking employers to evaluate your skills and abilities. Also, there is a lot of competition for jobs. It can be very easy to get discouraged.
 
The Solution: Understand from the beginning that rejection is an inevitable factor in the job search process. In most cases, the hiring of an individual is a business decision, and nothing more. Don’t take it personally! The more firms you apply to, the better your chances of landing a position. With every rejection you are that much closer to finding employment. Be patient and persistent!
 
10.  You are not committed to the job search.
 
Only spending a couple of hours a week looking for a job is undoubtedly going to lead to disappointment. Let’s face it, you could have the greatest resumé and cover letter in the world, but if you are not willing to exert the time and effort to get them out there, you will simply be out of luck
 
The Solution: Looking for a job is a full-time job in itself! Procrastination is an enemy of your job search, so don’t put it on the back burner. Make an organized, focused plan that uses as many different tactics as possible to increase your chances of finding employment. Prepare a list of tasks that need to be completed and divide them among the days in the week. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish.
 
11.  You have unrealistic expectations.
 
Having unrealistic expectations in your job search can lead to huge disappointment. Don’t turn down employment simply because it isn’t your “ideal job.” And don’t apply for positions that you’re not qualified for.
 
The Solution: Spend a bit of time and consider the job search from an employer’s perspective. If you wanted to hire, what strengths and qualities would you look for in a candidate? What characteristics would lead you to choose one applicant over another? These are the same traits that you should market to employers. Keep an open mind and realistically assess all job opportunities.
 
12.  You do not have the proper attitude.
 
Negativity can stop your job search dead in its tracks! If you see things in a negative way, that is also how you will be perceived. The attitude of “What can you do for me?” will lead to many rejection letters from employers.
 
The Solution: Stop looking at the world as if the glass is half empty. Looking for a job is a challenge, something that can be overcome. You can change your life for the better and seize a brand new opportunity. What are you waiting for?


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