6 Common Job Search Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

September 15, 2018

Photo: William Iven on Unsplash  

 
It's a common misconception that a job search is as simple as browsing a job site and choosing a recruiter to submit a resume to. But as recent graduate Sara Kim discussed here on Step Up Magazine, the process involves several steps, as well as certain strategies for increasing your chances of success. It entails doing diligent research on careers, crafting a good resume and cover letter, and overall, practicing patience. With that in mind, those new to “the hunt” are bound to make mistakes. Let’s examine several of the most common ones and discover what you must do to avoid them. 

Including Unnecessary Information in Your Resume

It’s natural to think that a two-page resume will impress recruiters and hiring managers. But in reality, that’s simply not the case. Recruiters appreciate a resume that provides all the important information upfront: namely, your skills, strengths or traits, work experience, and college background. They will not bother checking other information. On The Balance’s ‘What Not to Include When You’re Writing a Resume’, it was advised not to include unnecessary information like high school credentials, physical characteristics, and any other personal details aside from contact information. You should also exclude any work experience that’s not related to the job you’re applying for.

Skipping the Cover Letter

Contrary to popular belief, cover letters are not dead. It’s true that many recruiters have admitted skipping past them. However, Career Tool Belt pointed out that at least 26% of recruiters still very much appreciate them. More importantly, hiring managers, who often have the final say in the recruiting process, are more likely to read cover letters. This is especially true for those looking at a small number of applicants. Therefore, it’s still vital to put effort into creating your own unique cover letter. It's best to keep it precise and inject a bit of personality. Also, don’t just go for a generic approach as it defeats the letter’s purpose. 

Not Knowing Enough About a Company or Posting

The last thing you want is to go to an interview unprepared. It is absolutely vital to do background research on the company as well as the position you are applying for, as this shows recruiters that you’re interested in them. Fortunately for jobseekers, Google has made things much easier. Ayima’s November 2017 digital round-up explores how Google’s new job search feature pulls up listings from various job sites. The interface displays valuable information on each listing, including the company background, salary offer, and office location. Using this feature would then make the process much more efficient than searching through different platforms with bits and pieces of the information you need one at a time.

Forgetting to Set Privacy Settings on Social Media

Have you Googled yourself lately? Chances are, your prospective employer has. Although this may not be the case for all companies, you need to make a good impression on recruiters doing background checks on you. So go ahead and look yourself up on the search engine. If there are inappropriate things appearing in the results, especially from your own social media accounts, revisit them and change your privacy settings. 

Revealing Salary Expectations Too Early 

It’s okay to have an ideal salary in mind. What’s not okay is discussing it with your interviewer even before they ask. Grilling them about what they’re offering early on in the interview will leave the impression that you’re only after the money. It’s important to project that you’re genuinely interested in the job and the opportunities the company can provide you. Wait for the recruiter or hiring manager to ask you about your salary expectations. Only then should you reveal it. 

Not Following Up

After submitting your application or going through the interview phase, you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for their call. If a week or two has gone by without any updates from the recruiter, be sure to send him or her a follow-up message. Follow-ups make you a more memorable candidate, and considering recruiters sift through many applications a day, that’s a major plus point. 

 

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